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Mutare (Zimbabwe)

Last modified: 2022-10-22 by bruce berry
Keywords: mutare | umtali |
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[Mutare city flag] image by Arnaud Leroy, 02 Dec 2000 See also:

Mutare city flag (1985 - )

Umtali, along with several other towns and cities in Zimbabwe, was renamed Mutare in April 1982.  Subsequently the municipal arms were amended slightly.  The shield and supporters have been retained from the earlier arms but the Crest has changed to “On a wreath of the colours, A mountain range proper, on this is perched a cock sable facing Dexter”, with new motto, Justice and Freedom.  The new arms appear as Trade Marks Book reference Number 458 dated 19 April 1985.

Although the shield from the original Arms has been retained, a new civic flag has been adopted which places the new municipal Arms in the centre of a white field.
Bruce Berry, 19 Sep 2002

Umtali (now renamed Mutare) flag (c1955-1985)

[Umtali city flag] image by Martin Grieve, 19 Sep 2002

Zimbabwe’s fourth largest city, originally called Umtali, is located in the east of the country on the border with Mozambique.  The city was established as a fort in 1890 but was abandoned a year later when the settlement moved 14km to its present site. A municipality was proclaimed in 1914 and in 1971 it (along with Gwelo) was granted city status.  Immediately after becoming a municipality the town council initiated a competition for the design of a coat of arms and seal. There were only two entries with the winning entry by a Mr. Fox being used by the council for the next 41 years.  The shield was quartered containing firstly a fruit tree, secondly a stamp mill, thirdly three stalks of maize and fourthly a bull’s head.  These changes represented the main activities of the area, namely citrus farming, mining, agriculture and cattle ranching.  Overall in the centre was an inescutcheon charged with an open gate to illustrate the town as the eastern gateway to the country.  The crest was identical to that of the British South Africa Company (BSAC) – namely, a lion passant guardant Or supporting an elephant’s tusk with the Dexter forepaw. 

scan by  Bruce Berry, 19 Nov 2006

In 1954, Mr James Frere, then Bluemantle Pursuivant from the College of Arms while holidaying in Rhodesia pointed out to the Umtali council the errors in the municipal arms and the fact that they had never been legally granted.  After further consideration new arms were granted as Trade Marks Register Number 229 dated 27 September 1955.  The heraldic description is as follows:

ARMS: Azure issuant from Water Barry wavy in base proper and in front of a Rising Sun Or a Gateway two towers the Portcullis raised also proper.
CREST: On a Chapeau Vert turned up Argent a lion passant Or Collared and Chained also Vert supporting the in the dexter paw an Elephant’s Tusk also Argent.
SUPPORTERS: On the Dexter side a Kudu and on the sinister side a Sable Antelope both proper.
MOTTO: “Be Just and Fear Not”

scan by Bruce Berry, 19 Nov 2006

The municipal flag used at that time was a heraldic banner based on the shield in the Arms.  The symbolism reflects the site of the town adjacent to a water supply with the rising sun reflecting the city’s location as being the eastern-most in the country.  The Portcullis between the towers is indicative of the city being an important border crossing with Mozambique and the eastern gateway into the country.  The flag was also unusual in that it was in the proportion of 1:1.  This flag was used until Umtali was renamed Mutare and new municipal symbols were adopted in 1985 (see above).
Bruce Berry, 19 Sep 2002