Coat of arms of Zimbabwe

Coat of arms of Zimbabwe
Armiger Republic of Zimbabwe
Adopted 1981
Crest A mullet gules surmounted by a Zimbabwe Bird Or
Escutcheon Vert, a representation of Great Zimbabwe argent; upon a chief argent seven pallets wavy azure
Supporters Two Kudus proper
Compartment An earthly mound composed of stalks of wheat, a pile of cotton, and a head of maize
Motto Unity, Freedom, Work
Other elements Behind the shield a hoe and an automatic rifle saltireways

The current coat of arms of Zimbabwe was adopted on September 21, 1981, one year and five months after the national flag was adopted. Previously the coat of arms of Zimbabwe was identical to the former Coat of arms of Rhodesia.


The coat of arms depicts two Kudus on the left and right, each standing on top of an earthly mound composed of stalks of wheat, a pile of cotton, and a head of maize. At their feet there is also a banner emblazoned with the Zimbabwean national motto (Unity, Freedom, Work). The shield itself is green, featuring 14 waves of alternating white and blue waved lines at top (chief argent), and also at the centre of the shield a representation of the ancient Kingdom of Great Zimbabwe is shown. Placed behind the shield are an agricultural hoe (to the left) and an AK-47 assault rifle (to the right).[1] The wreath is gold and green and the crest features the Zimbabwe Bird on a Red Star background.[1]


The meanings of the Zimbabwean coat of arms are as follows:


Coat of arms of Rhodesia (1924–1981)

Coat of arms of Rhodesia
Adopted 11 August 1924
Crest Zimbabwe Bird
Escutcheon Vert, a pickaxe paleways Or; upon a chief argent a lion passant gules, armed and langued azure, between two thistles proper
Supporters Two Sable Antelopes
Motto Sit Nomine Digna (Latin)
"May she be worthy of the name"

The coat of arms of Rhodesia was used from 1924–1981, for the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923-1964 and 1979-1980, known simply as Rhodesia from 1964-1979, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in 1979, and Zimbabwe from 1980.

Official authorisation by Royal Warrant for the coat of arms was granted on 11 August 1924.[2]

The shield features a red lion passant and two thistles, taken from the family arms of Cecil Rhodes,[2] after whom the colony was named, and the Latin motto Sit Nomine Digna (May It Be Worthy of the Name) is a reference to Rhodes. The pick, in gold on a green field, represents mining, the economic mainstay of the colony.[2] Also featured above the shield is the soapstone statuette of the Zimbabwe Bird found in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe.[2]

The shield of the arms was used on the flag of the colony by being placed in the fly of a British Blue Ensign, in the tradition of most other British colonies. This design changed in 1964 when the field of the flag was changed to light blue. In November 1968, the full coat of arms was placed in the centre of a new Rhodesian flag which was a green, white, green triband. After Rhodesia was declared a republic in 1970, the arms also featured on the President's flag.

The arms remained unchanged following the renaming of the country as Zimbabwe Rhodesia in 1979, and were initially used by the government of Zimbabwe from April 18, 1980 to September 21, 1981, following which the present coat of arms of Zimbabwe were introduced.

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Mutapa (1569–1760)

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Mutapa

In 1569, Sebastian of Portugal made a grant of arms to the Mwenemutapa. These were blazoned: Gules between two arrows Argent an African hoe barwise bladed Or handled Argent - The shield surmounted by a Crown Oriental. This was probably the first grant of arms to a native of southern Africa; however it is unlikely that these arms were ever actually used by the Mwenemutapa.[3]


  1. 1 2 Slater, Stephen (2013). The Illustrated Book of Heraldry: An International History of Heraldry and Its Contemporary Uses. Wigston, Leicestershire: Lorenz Books. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-7548-2659-0.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Briggs, Geoffrey (1974). National Heraldry of the World. New York: Viking Press. ISBN 9780670504527.
  3. Slater, Stephen (1999). "Africa". The Complete Book of Heraldry. London: Anness Publishing. p. 228.

See also

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