A-Z Blog Challenge Z: Zebra

Coat_of_arms_of_Botswana.svgBotswana Coat of Arms

So many black stripes against the white background – or is it the other way round – with evidence of tinges of brown. Botswana’s coat of arms* with the two zebra on either side look identical, mirror images, but in real life this is not so.

Nevertheless the zebra symbolises equality and unity between all races. A zebra is upholding an elephant tusk on the one side representing wildlife and tourism; the other zebra holding an ear of sorghum, corn, represents Botswana’s main local crop.

(This brings to mind the myth of Demeter and Persephone and Demeter’s search for her virgin daughter abducted by Hades to the underworld. In her grief she cursed the land which became sterile. Zeus asked Hermes to step in – and in brief, Persephone was allowed to visit her mother in springtime at which season Demeter permitted corn to be laid and grown. I wonder if the Botswana government is aware of this ancient Greek myth and its corn connection to the Eleusinian Mysteries).

We saw many zebra on our Botswana trip, often with giraffe in close proximity. The first photo is when we were on The Island, the 2nd in Moremi. Seeing animals at peace in their natural zone often gave me moments of zen –



One of many fables as to how the zebra got its stripes is from the San Bushmen of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. In brief, long ago, when there were few animals and it was hot, dry and dusty, a zebra and his son came to a water hole. The baboon, who thought he was lord of it all, challenged the zebra to a fight if the zebra wanted to have his fill. They fought. The zebra gave the baboon a huge kick and sent the baboon flying into the rocks high above them. (Which ‘explains’ how the baboon came to have a bare patch on his bottom, for his hair was scratched right off on landing on the rocks). The zebra was so amazed at this, that he staggered backwards into the baboon’s fire, leaving burn marks on his white skin. This shock sent the zebra galloping away into the savannah plains where he has lived ever since.

And so, with this fairy tale, we come to the end of the A-Z! Thank you for coming along for the ride! I have so appreciated your comments, always broadening my own outlook on life.  Time to take a deep breath for the moment before attending to posts of yours I have so much enjoyed!

* Pula is the local currency and also means rain. The wavy blue represents rain. The head of the buffalo recognises the importance of cattle herding, and the cogs represent industry – diamonds and mining. It’s a rich country. Education is key in the life of Botswana, though many remain mired in poverty.

48 Comments on A-Z Blog Challenge Z for Zebra

  1. I enjoyed reading about the zebras on the coat of arms and also the reason zebras have stripes (although I’m not completely convinced about the absolute scientific accuracy of the explanation). 🙂

  2. It’s a treat to see your wildlife photos and get the smallest glimpse of all you saw. I can imagine the inner serenity that comes from seeing them in the wild. With love and thanks for your 26 days of dedication, despite so much else going on. Thank you for zebras to end the challenge. And now on to my own challenge to write a blog for this week.

    • Thank you so much Elaine for your ongoing support – it was a delight to share the photos of the wild – and yes it did resonate innerly for us all …
      Looking forward to your upcoming post, always so beautifully and profoundly written …

  3. Lovely susan, enjoyed the ride and the beautiful fairy tales. congratulations for completing the challenge, and posting such meaningful posts; and the pictures of the zebra captures so well. It was a great connecting with you for this whole month, hope to stay in touch. Thanks for being my inspiration !

    • Thank you so much Genevive and for all your support during this mammoth month of A-Z 🙂 Your posts were an inspiration to me with their gentle words of wisdom about your life in India and what is important to you.. Thank you

  4. The zebra really do represent freedom dont they? I had heard the wonderful fable years ago but had forgotten it – thanks for including it.
    So grand to meet you via the A to Z challenge and look forward to more beauty from your corner of the world.

    • Thanks L. Moon! Glad you heard that fable again! It’s been grand to meet you on the A-Z and I look forward to more beauty from your part of the world too …

  5. Susan, I simply applaud you! That was amazing, and quite incredible A-Z challenge. I’m so pleased that you initially ‘changed your mind’ and focussed your theme on the deeply healing powers of ‘Change!’ For every days’ post was a delight to read, full of wondrous beauty, insight and wisdom.

    Much gratitude for your presence and who you are. Your power to rekindle inspiration, motivate and encourage others through your written words touch me deeply each time. We may be oceans apart, but you have the ability to reach inside. I’m eternally grateful for you. Love and blessings, Deborah.

    • Deborah, that is so kind thank you! If you were inspired in any small way, this is more than I could have wished for! Your words are very very kind and gracious.

      Thank you always for your unfailing support, and for you being you. Love from a cool, yet sunny autumnal day here in South Africa, Susan.

  6. I loved your series this year, Susan. So much depth, so much food for thought. You, and your blog, are enlightenment 🙂

    Congratulations on finishing the Challenge! And thank you so, so much for all your visits at Life In Dogs, and all the insight you shared.

    • That’s very kind Guilie thank you! All congratulations to you for your wonderful series of Life in Dogs – it was an extraordinary accomplishment addressing all the issues and concerns about rescuing dogs and being there for them and in the manner in which you did this series, from your loving heart. Thank you Guilie – it deserves to be made into a handbook or some such – and translated into a zillion languages 🙂

  7. What a wonderful Z ending! (And I’ve just now thought of this, do you say “zee” or “zed” in S. Africa?) 🙂

    I love the Coat of Arms–especially those upright zebras! Thank you for explaining all the symbolism. You mention the Greek myth of Demeter, and I wonder if there is similar story from the San or other African groups. Or something like the various versions of the Corn Mother of Native American tribes?

    In any case–wonderful A-Z tour!

    • Thanks for coming by Merril! We say zed … we also spell some words differently as in honour, colour – we use the use the u sometimes where you don’t –

      I just had a quick peek at our SA coat of arms, quite different to our national flag. Our is quite detailed, and symbolic of much – eg the shield for spiritual strength. There is also a picture of wheat in our coat of arms, symbolising (we use an s and not a z) agriculture and growth. I suspect it is a universal symbol and, as you say the Corn Mother of Native American tribes. I wonder if she had to go to the underworld initially –

      Thank you for coming along on the ride during this A-Z Merril! I know you were also contending with a poem everyday in that particular other challenge (inter alia), and it was always a delight to come across some rather extraordinary, powerful and beautiful ones – so your time was precious and for that reason also I so appreciate your coming by!

  8. What an inspiring series, Susan. Well done! Thanks for taking us along on your Botswana adventure, the zebra pics, history and folk tales. Utterly fascinating and how it dovetails with your thinking and being.

    Congratulations making it through the A-Zs, through your journey in the bush simultaneously!

    • Thanks so much Samantha! And all congratulations to you for completing the A-Z in your lovely way. It was special to see you unfolding – in your posts on the US, some of its history, time spent with your family in the wilderness, and the wondrous photos of Nature in all her glory.

  9. What a fascinating Coat of Arms! Thanks for all the history and meaning in the various elements.
    Loved the pics of the zebras.
    I loved reading about your time in Botswana. Are you familiar with Botswana Agate? It’s one of my favorite agates.
    I also enjoyed hearing about the fairly tale.
    Congrats on a strong finish and completing the A-Z!
    Looking forward to many more visits at your blog!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    • Thanks Michele for coming by – no, I did not know about Botswana Agate. I’ve just looked it up on google – so pretty! It seems it has healing powers also. No doubt had we spent time in town (Maun) I would have seen them.

      Congrats to you too on finishing the A-Z; I much enjoyed yours!

  10. That has to be the best coat of arms I have ever seen 🙂 Well done in the A to Z Susan!! As always it was very enlightening. Enjoy the break and this summer. Sharon

    • Thanks Sharon! You may be experiencing Spring, but right now the coolth is upon us here in South Africa. Snow in some parts of the country! Congratulations to you for your fabulous series on women pioneers in aviation! Bet you’re pleased it’s all over bar the shouting … 🙂 Is this an expression used in the US? Maybe not. But now the fat lady can sing …(it’s not over until the fat lady sings)..

  11. So interesting, Susan. And beautiful.
    Education is key, yet many don’t get it — sad.
    Congratulation on completing the Challenge. It’s been a joy visiting and reading your posts. Now, a break, before we resume regular blogging. Cheers.

  12. What an interesting coat of arms, and fascinating creation tales about Zebra and Baboon. It’s certainly been a wonderful A-to-Z journey you’ve led us on Susan – thank you!

  13. The zebra seems to represent a wealth of imagery. The coat of arms and the fairy tale were fun to hear. You live in an intriguing land.

    You did a lovely job with the Challenge, and your pictures are beautiful. Congratulations! Great job!!

    • Thanks Gwynn – feeling a bit zonked out after it all. You were one amazing person completing it all amidst all that was happening in your life – congratulations to YOU!

  14. Your pictures and narration dazzle my senses and my mind! Let all of us touch glasses with wine to celebrate our experiences and your accomplishments in our “Garden of Eden” this most recent challenge.


    • Joe, thank you so much and for your support throughout! I’m raising a metaphorical glass of sweet Pesach wine to you and family as you celebrate the last night! No doubt feasting away …

    • Thanks Marian! And for your support throughout this series! The zebra fable is one of many … but I would put you, and me, and others, to sleep and zzzz’s if I told any more. Or if there were 30 letters in the alphabet …

  15. Majestic! Beautiful images and a wonderful message. Thank you for this inspiring series. It was a lot to reflect on. I’m glad you changed the theme to change – so juicy!

    • Juicy! Lovely word Gulara thank you! I can’t even remember what I was initially going to write about. Well done to you for completing the A-Z with your love letters. It was such a wonderful way to learn more about you and family in Azerbaijan when you lived there … and your life now in the UK. Thank you!

  16. A great way to end the Challenge. I was thinking about the Zebra and my childhood. When I first saw them on television, I asked myself how did they get the stripes?

    Truly enjoyed reading your posts. They sometimes challenged me to think and re-assess my own beliefs.

    You have done a wonderful job.

    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

    • Thanks Pat – this is one of many folk tales about the zebra and its stripes! I appreciate your support throughout this A-Z so much and have enjoyed your beautiful fable too … am looking for the Z post but I don’t think it’s up yet?
      Shalom to you, Susan

  17. How appropriate to have seen the zebra–the end of the alphabet. Thank you for all the insights shared…

  18. Susan, As usual, it’s been a pleasure to read and comment on your posts. I appreciate your support also.

    • Thanks Beth so much! So appreciate your support! And always a pleasure to read yours with wise ways to bring into our lives …

  19. Hi Susan – love the Botswanan history here … and each item of the Coat of Arms – fascinating .. I hadn’t known that … Pula I knew … and I do hope they do what’s right and help their peoples …

    Love the folk stories re the zebra, and the baboon – makes a good story …

    Enjoy relaxing for a recovery break and some Zen time … with thoughts – and I’ve loved these .. cheers Hilary

    • Thanks Hilary and for all your support in this challenge! I missed (like many others) having you around this time round, but I KNOW you’ll be back next year and throughout the year. And if you ever want to come back to SA there’s a bed awaiting, and a car, and country travels – oh, and me as chaffeur and companion. All best, Susan

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