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National Orders of South Africa

The new South African national orders,
for extraordinary things done by ordinary South Africans

The South African national orders was one of the areas that needed change with the birth of the new democratic South Africa.

They are the highest awards that the President of South Africa can bestow on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals.

In this the President is assisted by the director-general in the Presidency, who is the chancellor of national orders.



South Africa's new national orders, first awarded by President Thabo Mbeki in 2002, reflect the inclusiveness and diversity of a democratic South Africa, our people and our place in the African continent and in essence, the spirit of the new South Africa.

The new national orders of South Africa that have been introduced, are the following;

The Order of Mapungubwe
The “Order of Mapungubwe”…
is awarded for excellence and exceptional achievement and represents ingenuity and excellence. It is awarded to South African citizens in three classes: platinum, gold and bronze.
The Order of the Baobab
The “Order of the Baobab”...
is awarded to South African citizens for distinguished service in business and the economy; science, medicine, technological innovation; and community service, representing exceptional contribution. It is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.
The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo
The “Order of the Companions of OR Tambo”…
is awarded to heads of state and other dignitaries for promoting peace, cooperation and friendship towards South Africa. The Order is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.
The Order of Luthuli
The “Order of Luthuli”…
is awarded to South Africans who have made a meaningful contribution to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice and peace, and conflict resolution. The Order is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.
The Order of Ikhamanga
The “Order of Ikhamanga”…
is awarded to South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. The Order is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.
The Order of the Mendi Decoration for Bravery
The “Order of the Mendi Decoration for Bravery”…
is awarded to South African citizens who have performed an extraordinary act of bravery that placed their lives in great danger. The Order is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.
The Order of Mapungubwe
The “Order of Mapungubwe”…
is awarded for excellence and exceptional achievement and represents ingenuity and excellence. It is awarded to South African citizens in three classes: platinum, gold and bronze.


The Order of the Baobab
The “Order of the Baobab”...
is awarded to South African citizens for distinguished service in business and the economy; science, medicine, technological innovation; and community service, representing exceptional contribution. It is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.


The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo
The “Order of the Companions of OR Tambo”…
is awarded to heads of state and other dignitaries for promoting peace, cooperation and friendship towards South Africa. The Order is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.


The Order of Luthuli
The “Order of Luthuli”…
is awarded to South Africans who have made a meaningful contribution to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice and peace, and conflict resolution. The Order is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.


The Order of Ikhamanga
The “Order of Ikhamanga”…
is awarded to South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. The Order is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.


The Order of the Mendi Decoration for Bravery
The “Order of the Mendi Decoration for Bravery”…
is awarded to South African citizens who have performed an extraordinary act of bravery that placed their lives in great danger. The Order is awarded in three classes: gold, silver and bronze.







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National Orders of South Africa
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