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Coat of Arms

University coat of arms design as registered at the South African Bureau of Heraldry

Heraldic Description

Azure, two bars wavy Argent; on chief Or, a cogwheel Sable surmounted by an open book Argent leathered Gules
A Kudu s head affront?roper
Wreath and Mantling:
Argent and Azure
Scientia et Labore

The present day coat of arms was re-designed by Professor G.E Pearse and re-drawn by Professor W.D Howie to correct certain heraldic inaccuracies before the design was accepted by the State Herald in 1972.

The design portrays the Witwatersrand gold fields in the upper part of the shield as a gold background with an open book representing learning or knowledge superimposed on a cogwheel representing industry. The wavy bars in silver in the lower part represent the Vaal and Limpopo rivers between which the Witwatersrand gold fields occur.

Above the shield is the head of a Kudu, one of South Africa's most powerful and typical antelopes.


The design of the University's Coat of Arms has evolved from the badge of the South African School of Mines, in Kimberley. This showed a diamond with a superimposed shield. On the shield appears a prospector's pick and a sledge hammer overlaid by broken ore with a 5-stamp stamp mill in the centre. The motto was the same as today namely, Scientia et Labore, which may be interpreted as "Through Knowledge and Work" or "Through Knowledge and Industry". 

Badge of SA School of Mines, Kimberley

The School transferred to Johannesburg and became the Transvaal Technical Institute and subsequently the Transvaal University College. There does not appear to have been a distinctive badge during this period.

In 1908 the functions of the Transvaal University College were split between Pretoria and Johannesburg, and in 1910 the Johannesburg branch became the South African School of Mines and Technology. For its coat of arms the symbols of an open book representing a seat of learning, and a cog-wheel representing industry replaced the diamond and the stamp mill and a Kudu's head was added as a crest. When the School became the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, the pick and hammer disappeared and the present design was introduced.

Badge of S A School of Mines and Technology
Badge of SA School of Mines and Technology