I always remember when I was appointed bishop and Vicar Apostolic of Ingwavuma in 2008. I was asked to prepare my coat-of-arms. I honestly thought there was no need. A bishop friend of mine in another country told me he had never done it.
I was living in Rome at that time and the vicar general of the Vicariate of Ingwavuma asked me to send him my coat-of-arms. I told him I was not planning to have it but he insisted I should. Thank God I did it because, much later I must say, I realised he was right.
I started wondering how to do it. If I was going to have it, it must be something I would identify with. Someone I do not know wrote an email offering to help me.
In the meantime I contacted a bishop I knew in South Africa and asked him who had done his (I liked his). He told me it was done by a lay friend in Europe. That triggered the idea... I could ask the lay people I was working with in Italy. We could do it together.
Thank to the emails, different drafts were produced. I used to print them and put them on the way so that every missionary passing in my office would also make comments. Once it was ready, I checked it with the Vicariate of Ingwavuma and got their approval.
In the last four and a half years, the coat-of-arms became part of the uniforms of some of the groups in the Vicariate. It became part of their identity.
Having been appointed bishop of the diocese of Manzini, I suddenly felt the coat-of-arms would had to be modified. The motto had been written in Zulu while Siswati is the language spoken in Swaziland. The coat-of-arms had to reflect the new diocese (It is also true that, as far as I know, these things are hardly ever modified).
Back then to the artist in Rome: Mauro Monti, who had designed the previous one. He was more than happy to work on it again.
The basic symbols remained: the raising sun, the treasure chest, the sandals, the cross and the star... The shape has been slightly changed and colours and elements of the Swazi flag have been incorporated.
Once we felt it was done, I loaded it on "WhatsApp" to present it to a group of Catholics in the diocese of Manzini. They all gave their approval. We then knew there was no need to make any more changes!
(Swaziland's flag, below)