Commission on National Symbols

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    (CODESA, 1993) South Africa. Negotiating Council of the Multi-Party Negotiating Process. Commission on National Symbols.
    The Commission on National Symbols was appointed by the Negotiating Council on 7th September 1993. It was impressed upon members of the Commission that they would be addressing an extremely emotional issue that would have to be dealt with with the utmost sensitivity. Proposals for a national flag, a coat of arms, a seal and an anthem for the transitional period were to be requested from all interested parties. Letters were sent to universities, technicons and 24, 000 schools, with the aim of achieving maximum participation. The Commission was given only six weeks to achieve its goals. Artists had barely a month to prepare submissions. Despite this, 81 designs for a national coat of arms and seal were received, and there were 7 000 submissions for the national flag. There were 120 submissions on the national anthem. The Commission recommended that the anthem should express and promote national unity. It was therefore proposed that the music of Nkosi Sikelel’I Africa and Die Stem van Suid Afrika be considered as dual anthems for the transitional period. The Commission submitted its report to the Negotiating Council on 19th October, 1993. The Negotiating Council decided not to make a decision regarding the flag, due to the sensitivity of the matter. The Council recommended that the Heraldry Council should be consulted regarding this issue. It was decided that the existing coat of arms should remain for the transitional period. The issue of the national anthem, being a highly emotive one, was to be referred to bilateral meetings.