oa South African Journal of Cultural History - South African heraldic writers of the 20th century: enthusiastic amateurs

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3053



This article attempts to establish the extent of the contributions of the various 20th century heraldic writers to the mythology surrounding the perception of heraldry. The term 'heraldist' is used to describe these heraldry hobbyists. The majority of the local heraldists were enthusiastic amateurs who dabbled in heraldry and used coats of arms to illustrate works that were predominantly genealogical in nature. It will be shown that there is a process of gradual accretion that occurs over time as heraldists build on the work of their predecessors. The article will attempt to identify the 'source' material used by the various heraldists so as to assess the validity of the inferences they have made. There seems a strong possibility that the false and generally misleading statements that characterise the literature of heraldry in South Africa stems from a lack of formal training on the part of the heraldists.

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