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PICS: Coat of arms mural at a Durban butchery sends a message of unity

Artist Iain Ewok Robinson paints the coat of arms on the walls of a butchery in Argyle Road, Durban. | Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Artist Iain Ewok Robinson paints the coat of arms on the walls of a butchery in Argyle Road, Durban. | Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 29, 2022

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DURBAN - South Africa’s coat of arms has been painted on the exterior walls of Mr Mozzies Butchery on Argyle Road in Durban, in an attempt to spruce up the busy traffic intersection there.

The man behind the artwork is Iain Ewok Robinson, who is applying the finishing touches after more than a week of transforming the walls into an art space.

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Robinson said the building was an iconic heritage building and the butchery owner, Warwick Rebeck, wanted to use the walls to send out a message, and the artwork to uplift and beautify the area. They discussed a few ideas and came up with a plan to paint the coat of arms.

Artist Iain Ewok Robinson paints the coat of arms on the walls of a butchery in Argyle Road, Durban. | Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Robinson has painted the secretary bird – with an eagle-like head and crane-like legs – in the coat of arms.

The bird is represented at the centre of the coat of arms, with its wide wings outstretched towards the rising sun. The legs are depicted as a spear and a knobkierie, which symbolise the protection of the nation from its enemies.

Also painted on the wall is South Africa’s motto – ! ke e: /xarra //ke, written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, literally meaning diverse people unite.

Artist Iain Ewok Robinson paints the coat of arms on the walls of a butchery in Argyle Road, Durban. | Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

The elephant tusks in the coat of arms symbolise wisdom, strength, moderation and eternity, and the ears of wheat – in an oval shape inside the tusks – symbolise fertility, growth and the development of potential, the nourishment of people and the agricultural aspects of Earth.

The gold shield in the coat of arms is drum-like and is a display of identity and of spiritual defence.

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The human figures in it are derived from images on the Linton Stone, a world-famous example of South African rock art, now housed and displayed in the SA Museum in Cape Town.

Artist Iain Ewok Robinson paints the coat of arms on the walls of a butchery in Argyle Road, Durban. | Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

The Khoisan figures are depicted facing one another in greeting and in unity. The Khoisan, the oldest known inhabitants of our land, testify to our common humanity and heritage.

The protea in the coat of arms is an emblem of the beauty of our land and the flowering of our potential as a nation in pursuit of the African Renaissance.

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Artist Iain Ewok Robinson paints the coat of arms on the walls of a butchery in Argyle Road, Durban. | Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Robinson said there is a beautiful story behind the national symbols. This is contributing to nation-building.

“There are so many things that link us. We don’t have to be the same. SA is always under construction.”

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