Gallantry Decorations - Decorations which are awarded to individuals (and nowadays also to military units collectively) for risking or sacrificing their lives in the course of military or police action, or in order to save the lives of others, or to protect property. Many have been awarded posthumously. They enjoy high ranking in the table of precedence, and most carry the privilege of using post-nominal letters.
Following British practice, decorations for gallantry recognise four levels of bravery, which are defined by the degree of risk and, in the case of military decorations, the individual's level of training and experience. The fourth class, which exists only in the military honours system, consists of an emblem. South African decorations for gallantry have been:
SA Defence Force: (1) Castle of Good Hope Decoration, Louw Wepener Decoration, Honoris Crux Diamond, Honoris Crux Gold; (2) Van Riebeeck Decoration, Van Riebeeck Medal, Louw Wepener Medal, Honoris Crux Silver; (3) Honoris Crux - 1st Type, Honoris Crux - 2nd Type; (4) Mention in Despatches.
Civil: (1) Queen's Medal for Bravery in Gold, Woltemade Decoration in Gold, Woltemade Cross in Gold, Order of Mendi in Gold; (2) Queen's Medal for Bravery in Silver, Woltemade Decoration in Silver, Woltemade Cross in Silver, Order of Mendi in Silver; (3) Civil Protection Medal for Bravery, Order of Mendi in Bronze.
SA Police: (1) SAP Cross for Bravery - 1st Type, SAP Silver Cross for Gallantry, SAP Cross for Bravery Gold; (2) SAP Star for Distinguished Service -1st Type, SAP Star for Outstanding Service, SAP Cross for Bravery Silver; (3) SAP Star for Merit, SAP Cross for Bravery - 2nd Type.
SA Railways Police: (1) SARP Cross for Valour; (2) Decoration for Outstanding Service in the SARPF; (3) SARP Star for Merit.
Dept of Correctional Services: (1) Nil; (2) Decoration for Valour in the SAPS, DCS Cross for Valour Diamond; (3) DCS Cross for Valour Ruby.
National Intelligence Service: (1) Nil; (2) NIS Cross for Valour Gold; (3) NIS Cross for Valour Silver.
Azanian People's Liberation Army: (1) Nil; (2) Gold Star for Bravery; (3) Bravery Star in Silver.
Umkhonto weSizwe: (1) Nil; (2) Star for Bravery in Gold; (3) Star for Bravery in Silver.
SA National Defence Force: (1) Nkwe ya Gauta; (2) Nkwe ya Selefera; (3) Nkwe ya Boronse; (4) Okhankanyiweyo.
SA Police Service: (1) Nil; (2) SAPS Gold Cross for Bravery; (3) SAPS Silver Cross for Bravery.
Intelligence Services: (1) Nil; (2) IS Medal for Valour; (3) Nil.
Gazankulu - One of the former African homelands inside South Africa. It was self-governing from 1972 to 1994. Gazankulu had its own police force, and its own series of police decorations and medals, which became obsolete when the homeland was reincorporated into South Africa in 1994.
GDM - Post-nominal letters for the APLA Gold Decoration for Merit.
Geldenhuys, Gen Michiel SED SOO SD SOE - First recipient of the SAP Star for Distinguished Leadership and the SAP Star for Outstanding Leadership, in 1979. He was Commissioner of the SA Police at the time.
General Service Medal - A military medal instituted in 1989, for service in the SADF inside South Africa from 1983 onwards. It was primarily an award for service during the 1985-90 State of Emergency.
General Service Medal - see Thsumelo Ikatelaho.
Gladstone, Viscount - Governor-general 1910-14. He instituted the Distinguished Conduct Medal and long service medals for the Union Defence Forces (1913-14).
Godfrey, Gnr E.J.J. LWM - First recipient of the Louw Wepener Medal. He was decorated in 1969 for saving a man from drowning in the sea.
Gold Decoration for Merit (GDM) - A 1st-level decoration, instituted in 1996 for outstanding service in the Azanian People's Liberation Army between 1961 and 1994.
Golden Leopard - see Nkwe ya Gauta.
Golden Protea - see iPhrothiya yeGolide.
Good Hope, Order of - see Order of Good Hope.
Good Service - A term introduced by the Prisons Department in 1922 for their long service medal. It was later taken up by the SA Police (1923), the SA Railways Police (1960), and the SA Defence Force (1961), and was superseded by the term "loyal service" in 2003.
Government Gazette - The official gazette of the South African government since 1910, and of its pre-1910 colonial predecessors. Most of the warrants and regulations for South African orders, decorations and medals have been published in the Gazette. So are the names of recipients of civil honours and, until 1959, of military decorations and medals.
Governor-General - From 1910 to 1961, governors-general represented the British monarch as South African head of state. They were authorised to award most of the decorations and medals, to issue regulations, and to institute new awards.
Grand Magazine Explosion (1945) - The defence force's Grand Magazine in Pretoria blew up in 1945, killing dozens of people and causing widespread damage. Seventeen King's Medals for Bravery were awarded to military and civilian personnel for rescuing casualties and removing munitions from the burning buildings.
Grand Master - Under the original statutes of the Order of Good Hope (1973-88), the state president was grand master of the order, and a member of the highest class of the order during his presidency. The title was changed to "patron" in 1988.
Gratuity - Until 1920, recipients of the Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field, the Medal for Long Service & Good Conduct, and the Medal for Meritorious Service, were paid cash gratuities on the award of those medals. The sums ranged from £5 to £50, Natal being more generous than the Cape.
GSB - Post-nominal letters for the APLA Gold Star for Bravery.
Hanekom, Const A.J. SOE - First recipient of the SA Police Star for Outstanding Service for bravery, in 1980. He was decorated for attempting to rescue children from a burning shack.
Hattingh, Erasmus WDS - First recipient of the Woltemade Cross for Bravery (Silver), in 1988.
HC - Post-nominal letters for the Honoris Crux (both types).
HCD - Post-nominal letters for the Honoris Crux Diamond.
HCG - Post-nominal letters for the Honoris Crux Gold.
HCS - Post-nominal letters for the Honoris Crux Silver.
Heenstra, Maj L.R. AAD (SAAF) - First recipient of the Ad Astra Decoration, in 1995.
Hindon, John - Irish-born Transvaal military hero of the Anglo-Boer War. The Jack Hindon Medal (1970) was named after him.
Holtzhausen, Maj Louis HC - First recipient of the Honoris Crux (2nd Type). He won the decoration in Angola in 1975, for distinguished leadership under enemy fire.
Homelands - During the 1960s and '70s, the nationalist government developed the ten African "homelands" inside South Africa into self-governing territories. They were: Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Gazankulu, KaNgwane, KwaNdebele, KwaZulu, Lebowa, QwaQwa, Transkei, and Venda. Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, and Ciskei were later declared "independent", though their status was not recognised by the rest of the world. The homelands had their own honours systems, all of which became obsolete when the territories were reincorporated into the Republic in 1994.
Honoris Crux (HC) (1st Type) - A 3rd-level military decoration for gallantry in action, instituted in 1952 as a substitute for the (British) Military Cross, Military Medal and equivalent awards. The insignia were derived from those designed in 1894 for the abortive Order of the Golden Eagle. The decoration was superseded in 1975 by a new version which formed part of the 4-class Honoris Crux Decoration.
Honoris Crux (HC) (2nd Type) - Instituted in 1975, this was awarded to SA Defence Force members fo bravery in dangerous circumstances. It was awarded for both operational and non-operational deeds until 1993, when it was restricted to military operations. The decoration was superseded by the Nkwe ya Boronse in 2003.
Honoris Crux Decoration - Collective name for the Honoris Crux Diamond, Honoris Crux Gold, Honoris Crux Silver, and Honoris Crux (2nd Type). Although they were instituted as classes of a single decoration, they were in practice treated as separate awards.
Honoris Crux Diamond (HCD) - A 1st-level military decoration for "death-defying heroic deeds of outstanding valour". It was instituted in 1975 and discontinued in 1993 without ever being awarded.
Honoris Crux Gold (HCG) - Another 1st-level decoration, for outstanding bravery in extreme danger (operational or non-operational). It was instituted in 1975 and discontinued in 1993.
Honoris Crux Silver (HCS) - A 2nd-level decoration, for exceptional bravery in great danger. Instituted in 1975, it was awarded for operational and non-operational deeds until 1993, when it was restricted to military operations. It was superseded by the Nkwe ya Selefera in 2003.
Honours for Bravery in the SANDF - Collective name for the Nkwe ya Gauta, Nkwe ya Selefera, and Nkwe ya Boronse.
Honours for Meritorious Conduct in the SANDF - Collective name for iPhrothiya yeGolide, iPhrothiya yeSiliva, and iPhrothiya yeBhronzi.
IF - Post-nominal letters for the SARP Cross for Valour ("Insigne Fortitudine").
Ikhamanga - The strelitzia flower. One of the national orders was named after it in 2003.
Ikhamanga, Order of - see Order of Ikhamanga.
Intelligence Services - The National Intelligence Agency and the SA Secret Service, collectively referred to as the "civilian intelligence services", were established in 1995. Decorations and medals were instituted for their members in 2005: the Intelligence Services Medal for Valour, Outstanding Leadership Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, and Loyal Service Medal.
Intelligence Services Distinguished Service Medal (Bronze) (DSB) - A 3rd-level decoration, instituted in 2005 and awarded to intelligence services members for noteworthy and special service.
Intelligence Services Distinguished Service Medal (Gold) (DSG) - A 1st-level decoration, instituted in 2005 and awarded to intelligence services members for outstanding service.
Intelligence Services Distinguished Service Medal (Silver) (DSS) - A 2nd-level decoration, instituted in 2005 and awarded to intelligence services members for remarkable and meritorious service.
Intelligence Services Legislation - The Bureau for State Security Act 1978 authorised the state president to institute decorations and medals for the Bureau, which was renamed the National Intelligence Service in 1980. The NIS decorations and medals authorised in 1981, 1987 and 1990 were instituted under the Act.
It was superseded by the Intelligence Services Act 1994, which authorised the deputy president to institute decorations and medals for the new National Intelligence Agency and the SA Secret Service. The current legislation, the Intelligence Services Act 2002, authorises the Minister of National Intelligence to institute decorations and medals for the two services. The current Intelligence Services decorations (2005- ) were instituted under the latter Act, but by the President rather than the Minister.
Intelligence Services Medal for Valour (MV) - The highest decoration for the civilian intelligence services. It was instituted in 2005, for valorous conduct while in great danger.
Intelligence Services Outstanding Leadership Medal (OLM) - Instituted in 2005, top recognise outstanding leadership by senior intelligence services officials.
iPhrothiya yeBhronzi (PB) - The "Bronze Protea" is the current 3rd-level military medal for merit. It was instituted in 2003 for leadership, meritorious service or devotion to duty by SA National Defence Force members.
iPhrothiya yeGolide (PG) - The 1st-level "Golden Protea" was instituted in 2003 for exceptional leadership or exceptionally meritorious service and utmost devotion to duty by SA National Defence Force members.
iPhrothiya yeSiliva (PS) - The 2nd-level military merit award, the "Silver Protea", was instituted in 2003 for outstanding leadership or outstanding meritorious service and particular devotion to duty by SA National Defence Force members.