National Symbols - This area is password protected

South Africa
Country of My People
Basic Facts for Gr 4 – Gr 6 learners
Nkosazana Roxi Kleinhaus
Learning about our National Identity
• We are all familiar with our National
Symbols - the National Coat of Arms,
the National Anthem, and the
National Flag. We see them all around
us every day.
• But how much do we really know about
their history, their symbolism, and the
important values they promote and
that we all share as South Africans?
Proudly South African
A person’s national identity comes from
their sense of belonging to a country,
being proud of its history, cultures, languages,
landscapes and traditions.
This is Who We Are…
The Republic of South Africa,
as the name already indicates,
is located in the very south of
the African continent.
It is bordered by
the Indian Ocean
in the east and the
Atlantic Ocean in the
The capital is Pretoria, which is in the north of the country.
Around 50 million people live in South Africa.
South Africa is not only known for its diversity of cultures, it is also home to
hundreds of different types of mammals, birds and reptiles, such as zebras,
elephants, crocodiles and even penguins.
We are especially known for the Big Five.
National Bird - Blue Crane
Blue Crane – Fun Facts
• There are lots of fun facts about Blue Cranes. Did
you know that?
• The Blue Crane, Anthropoides paradiseus, is a tall,
ground-dwelling bird that gets its name from its
blue-gray feathers. It is a member of the Gruidae
family and one of fifteen crane species.
• Blue Crane, Stanley Crane and Paradise Crane are
three names for the same bird. The Xhosa word for
Blue Crane is indwe. The Zulu word is iNdwa.
• Blue Cranes are easily identified by their blue-gray
color and white, feathered head. They have a short
bill and two black legs. Blue Cranes have a large
head, long, thin neck and long, downward curving
tail feathers.
• The Blue Crane is one of the smallest species of
crane. It stands just 4 feet (117 cm) tall and
weighs only 5.1 kg.
• Blue Cranes are gregarious omnivores meaning
they are social birds that eat different kinds of
food. They feed on insects and seeds and even
eat small vertebrates. Blue Cranes live and feed
in flocks of up to 40 birds.
• The Blue Crane inhabits grasslands and uplands. It
is found in just two places in the world, South
Africa and Namibia.
• Blue Cranes, like all other cranes, call together
with their mate and dance when they court.
• The Blue Crane is the national bird of South Africa.
National Land Animal - Springbok
A herd of springbok bounds across Sperrgebiet National Park, 5.4 million
newly protected acres on Namibia'ssouthwest coast. Superbly adapted
for the harsh desert environment, springbok have increased their
number to some 160,000 since the 1980s—one of several species
recovering from historic lows.
The springbok is the national and sporting
emblem of South Africa.
• Springboks get their name from their
jumping abilities. They can leap up to 5m
and bounce up again when they hit the
• During the 1800s, Springboks made up
some of the largest herds on earth. Some
herds had as many as 10 million animals
and were over 150km long.
• These antelope are not as numerous as
they were then. They have, however, been
introduced into Game Parks
• Continent: Africa
• Springboks are strikingly marked antelopes
that roam the plains of southern Africa and
have many adaptations which enable a
successful existence in this harsh environment.
• During hot, rainy summers springbok graze on
grasses and turn to browsing on shrubs in
colder winters, and when water is scarce they
seek out moisture-rich roots.
• Habitat: This animal inhabits the open, treeless
plains and semi-arid regions of Southern
• Range: South Africa, Botswana's Kalahari,
Namibia, and Southwestern Angola
• Reproduction: Female springboks give birth to
one young during the rainy season when
resources are plentiful.
• Life Span: Up to 10 years
• Color: The medium brown of its back is
separated from its white underside by a
dark reddish brown horizontal band that
runs from its foreleg to its hip.
• Springboks have a fold of skin along their
backside. When they become alarmed or
excited, the fold will turn outward to show a
crest of white hair.
• It is extremely fast and can reach speeds
of 60 mph.
• Springboks are renowned for ‘pronking’, which
comprises several consecutive stiff-legged
jumps, up to two meters high. This is a
common response to predators, but can also
be clever way of taking in their surroundings.
• the springbok is alarmed or excited it pronks
(incredibly fast stiff-legged leap), leaping up in
height and repeating the action 5 or 6 times in
succession. (Almost like a horse bucking).
• They are light footed and can reach a speed
of just below 90km/h (56 mph). Despite their
remarkable speed, they remain vulnerable to
cheetahs or leopards.
National Marine Animal - Galjoen
• The name of this fish, ‘Galjoen,’ comes from the
Dutch word for a 16th century warship called a
• Our National Fish got its name from these
magnificent ships because it is famous for its strong,
healthy, fighting spirit.
• The Galjoen is found only along the South African
• It feeds near the shore in shallow water on red bait,
mussels and barnacles.
• It is often found in rough surf* and sometimes right
next to the shore, and is well known to all fishermen.
• Near rocks the colour of the Galjoen is almost
completely black, while in sandy areas its colour is
• Galjoen makes for good eating if you have the
patience and skill to catch it.
More background facts for teachers
Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)
Springbok feed on grass and leaves
and are found in the dry parts of
the Free State, Karoo and the North
West, where they can survive for
long periods without water. Our
ancestors respected these animals
as they provided them with meat to
eat and skins to make clothes and
Springbok are well known for their
graceful leaps into the air – as if
have springs under their hooves.
They are symbolic of agility*,
and endurance*, which is why our
national rugby team chose to be
called the Springboks.
Blue Crane (Anthropoides paradisea)
There are cranes all over the world, BUT THE "LUE #Rane is found only in Southern
Africa. This tall, dignified*bird loves open, dry grassland where it feeds mainly on
insects and seeds. Unfortunately, THE "LUE #Rane also loves to eat wheat and
maize, so farmers have seen them as pests*and have often killed them. And as
towns and cities grow, they take up more and more land, reducing the amount of
grassland available for these magnificent* birds. As a result THE "LUE #Rane is an
endangered* species*
THE "LUE #Rane has long been a symbol of bravery. WHEN A "LUE #Rane is
threatened, it puffs up its head, performs an aggressive war dance, and hisses like
a deadly cobra.THE "LUE #Rane is a favourite in
stories of bravery told by the Xhosaspeaking
people of the Eastern Cape, and it was a tradition to award "LUE #Rane (Indwe)
feathers to outstanding warriors. These warriors were then called Izithwalandwe,
and regarded as reliable*, outstanding and brave servants of the nation.
The African National Congress adopted this tradition by awarding the
Isithwalandwe to its outstanding
leaders, such as Chief Albert Luthuli and Dr Yusuf Dadoo National Living Heritage
In South Africa we are privileged* to have so many protected* areas* where we
can admire Mother Nature’s awesome* beauty as it has been for thousands of
years. To celebrate and to remind us of this natural wealth, that belongs to us all,
South Africa has chosen these National Living Heritage Symbols.
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