As South Africa's Republic Day - May 31 - draws near, Pretoria, where the first State President, Mr.
As South Africa's Republic Day - May 31 - draws near, Pretoria, where the first State President, Mr. C. R. Swart, will be invested, is undergoing a face change. Public buildings have been repainted; stands are almost completed along the route of the Presidential procession; new stamps have been printed; and the Presidential residence is almost ready for occupation.
Government House, vice-regal home of nine former Governors-General, has been entirely renovated before the first President of the South African Republic and Mrs. Swart move in. In keeping with the break with the Commonwealth and Queen Elizabeth as titular head of the State, Royal symbols and coats of arms in the 40-roomed mansion have either been boarded up or chipped away. Portraits of British monarchy have been removed from the walls to a store-room. Portraits of the nine former Governors-General will not be removed from the stately main corridor.
Thirteen new stamps have been printed in readiness for May 31 issue. Already, letters have been pouring in from collectors all over the world requesting "day-of-issue" sets. The stamps range in value from a half-cent to one-Rand - South Africa recently changed to the decimal coinage system. Designs on the stamps include birds, flowers, animals, trees and places including Groot Constantia, the crimson-breasted shrike; the baobab tree; the entrance to Cape Town Castle; maize; the protea; and the Afrikander bull.
The swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Swart will take place in the Groote Kerke (Great Church). After the service, 'Saracen' armoured cars will escort him to the Palace of Justice where he will make his first public speech as President from the balcony looking on to Church Square. This is opposite the Raadsaal balcony where President Kruger used to appear.