Origin of the scarf and woggle
The Scouting scarf origins lie in the Second Matabele War in 1896 where B-P worked with Frederick Russell Burnham, whose practical style of dress impressed Baden-Powell so much that he made the scarf a part of the Scout uniform.
In the beginning, the Scout scarves were tied with a variety of knots (like the Friendship knot or rings made from bone, rope or wood). However, when the “woggle” was invented from leather by British Scout Bill Shankley. When Shankley emigrated to Tasmania, Australia, the original woggle was donated to the Tasmanian Scout Heritage Centre.
Practical use of a Scout scarf
What initially impressed Baden-Powell was the scarf's ability to prevent sunburn on the back of the neck but it can be used in many other ways. These include:
- a first-aid triangular band aid
- a flag or pennant
- a smoke mask
- a sweat band
- a blindfold for playing games
- a blindfold for rescuing horses from fire.
Scarves at jamborees
In a Group, scarves must be of one pattern and worn with an approved woggle. All members of a Group are entitled to wear the Group scarf.
The colour and design of Group scarves are proposed by the Group Committee to the District Commissioner, who needs to confirm that no other Group in the District has scarves of the same colour and design, and that it is not similar to the Regional or National scarf. The Regional Commissioner must grant final approval for the design. If a unit of the Group, such as the Rover Crew, wants to modify the Group scarf, the modifications must be approved through the same process.
Where a single unit does not operate as part of a Group, all members should wear a plain scarf in the colour of the branch: orange for Meerkats, yellow for Cubs, green for Scouts, and red for Rovers.
In no- or low-fee paying units who do not wear the traditional uniform shirt, advancement and interest badges may be worn on the branch scarf.
District, Regional and National scarves
A District scarf may be worn by:
- any members of a contingent while representing their District at a Regional event
- the District Commissioner, or any Scouter warranted to serve all Groups in the District.
A Regional scarf may be worn by:
- any members of a contingent while representing their Region at a national event
- any members of the Regional Team, including the Regional Commissioner.
A National scarf may be worn by:
- all members who are part of a national contingent, while representing SSA at an international Scouting event. The International Policy has further details.
- all warranted and appointed members of Manco, and the National coordinators who manage National teams.
The National Scarf is green with gold edge with an embroidered South African flag on the apex.
Training and Wood Badge scarves
Approved training scarves must be worn by all Scouts or Scouters for the duration of the training course they are attending (e.g. PLTU). On completing such training, the adult and youth members may wear the approved scarf for up to six months at Group and District meetings, as well as at any training reunions.
- The adult training scarf is a solid grey scarf, which may have Regional insignia on the apex.
- A youth training scarf is in the colour prescribed by the Region for the course.
The Gilwell scarf may be worn by any Scouter who has completed the relevant training and has been awarded their Wood Badge. The Gilwell scarf is only to be worn at training activities and Gilwell reunions by warranted National Training Team members or Wood Badge holders.
- The Gilwell scarf is coloured dove grey on the outside and warm red on the inside. On the apex of the Gilwell scarf is a small piece of Maclaren tartan.
For special Regional or National events (such as Cederberg Adventure or SANJAMB), the Chief Commissioner may grant permission for a special event scarf to be worn by participants. Such a special scarf may only be worn at the event itself, for one month after that event, and at event reunions.