Cape Town school redesigns 'colonial' crest, principal tells radio station

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Pinelands High School has redesigned its crest and motto to remove colonial symbols.
Pinelands High School has redesigned its crest and motto to remove colonial symbols.
PHOTO: Pinelands High School/YouTube
  • A Cape Town school has redesigned its crest to remove offensive symbols.
  • The former crest of Pinelands High School featured three gold circles based on Jan van Riebeeck's family coat of arms.
  • The new crest, created with the input of staff and pupils, features non-political symbols.


A Cape Town school has redesigned its crest and motto to remove colonial symbols.

Pinelands High School introduced the new school crest and motto after three years of consultations about a reimagined design, principal Dave Campbell told radio station CapeTalk on Tuesday.

The original crest had been created almost 70 years ago when the school was first established.

Created around the 300-year anniversary of Jan van Riebeeck's landing in Cape Town, the previous coat of arms incorporated three gold circles based on Van Riebeeck's family coat of arms. This link to colonialism was considered offensive, Campbell said.

Along with the three gold circles, the former coat of arms also included a red chevron. As this symbol often denotes military rank, it was considered inappropriate for a school setting, the principal said.

Engagement on a new crest started in 2017, after staff and pupils approached the school management. The school undertook a comprehensive consultation process through a review committee and governing body participation, before requesting submissions for new designs.

'Not trying to erase history'

The top three were selected and the school community was given an opportunity to give feedback before the design was finalised with the help of a design agency.

While the design process was under way, pupils were permitted to cover up the areas of the crest they felt were offensive.

The new crest is made up of politically neutral symbols which capture the values and spirit of the school, Campbell reportedly said. It now features a book, a protea, Table Mountain and a sunburst.

Campbell added:

We all have a responsibility to do what we can to recognise history. We're not trying to erase history. We need to recognise that there is a certain pain in the past and we need to be sensitive to that.

In 2019, the school formerly known as Hoërskool HF Verwoerd was officially unveiled as the renamed Rietondale Secondary School.

Several weeks after unveiling the school name, it was vandalised.



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