SA Defence Force - The Union Defence Forces were established in 1912 to supersede the Cape Colonial Forces, the Natal Colonial Forces, and the Transvaal Volunteers, and they took over most of the colonial units. The UDF consisted of a full-time Permanent Force and a part-time Citizen Force, both of which were originally land forces.
The UDF served in World War I (1914-18), after which the PF diversified by forming the SA Air Force in 1920 and the SA Naval Service in 1922. The UDF served again in World War II, during which the SANS was reorganised as the Seaward Defence Force (in 1939), and then renamed the SA Naval Forces after taking over the personnel of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1942. Small army and air force contingents served in the Korean War.
In 1951, the UDF were reorganised into the SA Army, SA Air Force, SA Navy, and the short-lived SA Corps of Marines, each comprising PF and CF units. The organisation was renamed SA Defence Force in 1958. The three services' medical branches were centralised in 1968, and in 1979 the SA Medical Service was upgraded to rank equally with the other three.
The SADF - predominantly the army and air force - served in the 1966-89 Border War, campaigned in Angola in 1975-76 and 1987-88, and supported police internal security operations during the State of Emergency. In 1994, it was embodied in the new SA National Defence Force.
Dozens of decorations and medals were instituted for the defence force over the years:
1913-39: Distinguished Conduct Medal, Victory Medal, Medal for Long Service & Good Conduct, Medal for Meritorious Service, Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration, and Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal.
1939-52: Africa Service Medal, Medal for Long Service & Good Conduct (Military), Efficiency Decoration, Efficiency Medal, and Air Efficiency Award.
1952-75: Castle of Good Hope Decoration, Louw Wepener Decoration, Star of SA, Van Riebeeck Decoration, Honoris Crux (1st Type), Van Riebeeck Medal, Louw Wepener Medal, Southern Cross Medal (1st Type), Pro Merito Medal (1st Type), Danie Theron Medal, Jack Hindon Medal, Korea Medal, PF Good Service Medal, John Chard Decoration, De Wet Decoration, John Chard Medal, Cadet Corps Medal, Commandant-General's Medal, Mention in Despatches, and Commendation by the CSADF.
1975-2003: Castle of Good Hope Decoration, Honoris Crux Diamond, Honoris Crux Gold, Honoris Crux Silver, Honoris Crux (2nd Type), Pro Virtute Decoration, Southern Cross Decoration, Pro Merito Decoration, Pro Virtute Medal, Ad Astra Decoration, Army Cross, Air Force Cross, Navy Cross, SA Medical Service Cross, Southern Cross Medal 92nd Type), Pro Merito Medal (2nd Type), Danie Theron Medal, Military Merit Medal, Pro Patria Medal, Southern Africa Medal, General Service Medal, Medal for Distinguished Conduct & Loyal Service, Good Service Medal, John Chard Decoration, De Wet Decoration, John Chard Medal, De Wet Medal, SADF Champion Shot Medal, and Mention in Despatches.
SA Medal for War Services - Instituted in 1945, for unpaid civilian volunteers who had served in the Red Cross, the Governor-General's War Fund, the Civilian Protective Services, and other organisations which supported the government war effort during World War II.
SA Medical Service Cross (CA) - Instituted in 1991, this was awarded to military medical service personnel for exceptional courage, leadership, skill or ingenuity in dangerous or critical situations. It was discontinued in 2003.
SA National Defence Force - Established in 1994 by integrating the Azanian People's Liberation Army, Umkhonto weSizwe, and the four homeland defence forces with the SA Defence Force. The SANDF is divided into the SA Army, SA Air Force, SA Navy, and SA Military Health Service, each comprising Regular Force (formerly Permanent Force) and Reserve Force (formerly Citizen Force and Commando) units and personnel.
The SANDF took over the SADF decorations and medals and used them until 2003, when an entirely new series of awards was established for the organisation: Nkwe ya Gauta, Nkwe ya Selefera, Nkwe ya Boronse, iPhrothiya yeGolide, iPhrothiya yeSiliva, iPhrothiya yeBhronzi, Tshumelo Ikatelaho, Medalje vir Troue Diens, Emblem for Reserve Force Service, and Okhankanyiweyo.
SA Police - The SA Police was established in 1913, to take the place of the former colonial police forces. It had a secondary military role, which came to the fore in World Wars I and II, and again in 1966 when it was made responsible for counter-insurgency operations against the People's Liberation Army of Namibia and later for operations in Rhodesia too. The SAP was amalgamated with the homeland police forces to form the SA Police Service in 1994.
The SAP were eligible for the (British) King's Police Medal which was awarded throughout the British Empire on an annual quota basis, and they introduced their own Police Good Service Medal in 1923. A South African issue of the King's Police Medal followed (1937), but it was not until 1963 that the first entirely original series of decorations and medals was established. It was enlarged in 1974, 1978, 1985, 1988, and 1989, and was taken over by the SAPS in 1994. The decorations and medals were discontinued in 2004.
1923-63: Queen's Police Medal, Africa Service Medal (shared with the UDF), and Police Good Service Medal.
1963-89: SAP Cross for Bravery (1st Type), Silver Cross for Gallantry, Star for Distinguished Leadership, Star for Distinguished Service, Star for Outstanding Leadership, 75th Anniversary Commemoration Medal, Star for Merit, Star for Faithful Service, Medal for Faithful Service, and Medal for Combating Terrorism.
1989-2004: SAP Cross for Bravery (Gold), Cross for Bravery (Silver), Cross for Bravery (2nd Type), Star for Outstanding Leadership, Medal for Combating Terrorism, Star for Merit, Star for Faithful Service, and Medal for Faithful Service.
SA Police Service - Established in 1994 by amalgamating the SA Police and the homeland police forces. It continued to use the old SAP decorations and medals until 2004, when it adopted an entirely new series of awards: SAPS Gold Cross for Bravery, Silver Cross for Bravery, Gold Medal for Outstanding Service, Silver Medal for Outstanding Service, Commendation Medal, Ten Year Commemoration Medal, Forty Year Loyal Service Medal, Thirty Year Loyal Service Medal, Twenty Year Loyal Service Medal, Ten Year Loyal Service Medal, and Canine & Equine Star for Bravery.
SA Prisons Service - see Department of Correctional Services.
SA Railways Police Force - The SA Railways & Harbours Police were established in 1916, and were renamed the SA Railways Police Force in 1955. The force was incorporated into the SA Police in 1986. It followed the SAP model for its medals. The first was established in 1934. It was replaced by a series of four new decorations and medals in 1966 and that, in turn, was superseded by a new series in 1980. They became obsolete in 1986. The awards were:
1934-66: Railways Police Good Service Medal.
1966-80: SARP Cross for Valour, Decoration for Distinguished Service, Star for Merit, and Medal for Faithful Service.
1980-86: SARP Cross for Valour, Star for Distinguished Leadership, Star for Distinguished Devotion, Decoration for Outstanding Service, Medal for Combating Terrorism, Star for Merit, Star for Faithful Service, and Medal for Faithful Service.
SA Red Cross Society - This society has its own range of medals for proficiency and long service. Presidential approval is required to wear them with official state awards.
SA Sports Merit Award - Instituted in 1971 to complement the State President's Sports Award, this decoration was conferred annually on the top performers in the various organised sports. It was awarded in two classes - silver and bronze - according to the stature of the sport and the number of regional associations it had. The award was superseded by the Presidential Sports Award in 1994.
SADF - SA Defence Force.
SADF Champion Shot Medal - Instituted in 1965 as the Commandant-General's Medal, this filled the gap left by the cessation of the Queen's Medal for Champion Shots in 1961. It was awarded annually to the overall winner of the SA Defence Force shooting championships. The medal was renamed in 1975, and from 1976 it was awarded to the winners in the categories of fullbore, smallbore, pistol and service shooting, instead of to the overall winner. It was discontinued in 2003.
SADF Good Service Medal - see Good Service Medal.
SANDF - SA National Defence Force.
SAP - SA Police.
SAP Cross for Bravery (PCF) (1st Type) - Instituted in 1963, this 1st-level decoration was awarded to SA Police members for conspicuous and exceptional gallantry in the line of duty or in saving or protecting life or property. Several awards were made for gallantry in action during the Border War. The decoration was superseded by a new version, in three classes, in 1989.
SAP Cross for Bravery (PCF) (2nd Type) - The third class of the new Honoris Crux-style decoration instituted in 1989 to rationalise SA Police gallantry awards. It was awarded for bravery in dangerous circumstances, and was discontinued in 2004.
SAP Cross for Bravery: Gold (PCFG) - The new 1st-level police decoration, instituted in 1989 and awarded for outstanding bravery in extremely dangerous circumstances. It was superseded by the SAPS Gold Cross for Bravery in 2004.
SAP Cross for Bravery: Silver (PCFS) - This 2nd-level decoration, instituted in 1989, was awarded for exceptional bravery in great danger. It was superseded by the SAPS Silver Cross for Bravery in 2004.
SAP Medal for Combating Terrorism - The first (and only) campaign medal exclusive to the SA Police. It was instituted in 1974, for service in anti-terrorist operations since the beginning of the Border War in 1966. It covered the Border War, operations in Rhodesia, and internal security operations inside South Africa, and presumably lapsed in the early 1990s.
SAP Medal for Faithful Service - Instituted in 1963, and awarded to SA Police personnel (all ranks) after 18 years exemplary service. The qualifying period was reduced to 10 years in 1979. The medal was superseded by the SAPS Ten Years Loyal Service Medal in 2004.
SAP Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Commemorative Medal - Issued in 1988 to commemorate the SA Police's 75th anniversary.
SAP Silver Cross for Gallantry (SCG) - This short-lived decoration was instituted in 1985, to recognise conspicuous and exceptional gallantry while combating terrorism. It was awarded during the first few years of the State of Emergency, until it was superseded by the new 3-class SAP Cross for Bravery in 1988.
SAP Star for Distinguished Leadership (SED) - Instituted in 1979, this "order" was awarded to SA Police generals (in practice, only national commissioners) for distinguished leadership and meritorious service to state security. It was discontinued when the Order of the Star of South Africa (Non-Military) was made available to the police in 1986.
SAP Star for Distinguished Service (SOO) (1st Type) - This decoration, instituted in 1963, filled the gap left by the lapsing of the Queen's Police Medal in 1961, and was awarded in two categories: (i) for particular gallantry, and (ii) for distinguished service. In the latter category it was awarded annually to general officers. The decoration was superseded in 1979 by a new decoration of the same name, and by the SAP Star for Outstanding Service.
SAP Star for Distinguished Service (SOO) (2nd Type) - In its second incarnation, instituted in 1979, this decoration was awarded only to general officers, for meritorious service promoting SAP efficiency and contributing to state security. It was discontinued when the Order of the Star of South Africa (Non-Military) was extended to police officers in 1986.
SAP Star for Faithful Service - Instituted in 1979, and awarded to SA Police personnel after 20 years exemplary service. It was replaced by the SAPS Twenty Years Loyal Service Medal in 2004.
SAP Star for Merit - Instituted in 1963, this dual-purpose SA Police medal was awarded for (i) particularly exemplary and meritorious service (which could include acts of bravery), or (ii) 30 years service. As most awards were granted for long service, it was eventually given precedence as a long service medal. The star was superseded by the SAPS Commendation Medal and SAPS Thirty Years Loyal Service Medal in 2004.
SAP Star for Outstanding Service (SOE) - This decoration was instituted in 1979 to take the place of the SAP Star for Distinguished Service (1st Type), and was originally awarded in two categories: (i) for particular gallantry, or (ii) for outstanding service. The bravery category was discontinued when the new 3-class SAP Cross for Bravery was introduced in 1989. As a decoration for outstanding service, the star was often awarded to senior SA Defence Force officers and to politicians and civilians connected with the SAP. It was superseded by the SAPS Gold Medal for Outstanding Service in 2004.
SAPS - (i) SA Prisons Service (1959-90), or (ii) SA Police Service (1994- ). See also Department of Correctional Services.
SAPS Amalgamation Medal - Issued to commemorate the amalgamation of the SA Police and the homeland police forces to form the SA Police Service in 1994.
SAPS Canine & Equine Star for Bravery - The first official award to be created for animals. Instituted in 2004, it may be awarded to police dogs and horses for bravery in dangerous circumstances.
SAPS Commendation Medal - The 3rd-level police merit award, instituted in 2004 for (i) particularly meritorious or exemplary service, or (ii) bravery in protecting or saving life or property.
SAPS Forty Years Loyal Service Medal - Instituted in 2004, to be awarded to SA Police Service personnel after 40 years exemplary service.
SAPS Gold Cross for Bravery (PCFG) - The highest SA Police Service decoration, instituted in 2004, to be awarded for outstanding bravery in extremely dangerous circumstances in the line of duty or in saving life or property.
SAPS Gold Medal for Outstanding Service (SOEG) - The current 1st-level police merit award, instituted in 2004 for particularly meritorious service by top-ranking officers (assistant commissioner and higher).
SAPS Silver Cross for Bravery (PCFS) - Instituted in 2004, to be awarded for exceptional bravery in very dangerous circumstances, in the line of duty or in saving life or property.
SAPS Silver Medal for Outstanding Service (SOES) - The 2nd-level police merit award, instituted in 2004 for particularly meritorious service by SA Police members below the rank of assistant commissioner.
SAPS Ten Year Commemoration Medal - Instituted in 2004, to commemorate the SAPS's tenth anniversary.
SAPS Ten Years Loyal Service Medal - Instituted in 2004, to be awarded to SA Police Service personnel after 10 years exemplary service.
SAPS Thirty Years Loyal Service Medal - Instituted in 2004, to be awarded to SA Police Service personnel after 30 years exemplary service.
SAPS Twenty Years Loyal Service Medal - Instituted in 2004, to be awarded to SA Police Service personnel after 20 years exemplary service.
SARP - SA Railways Police.
SARP Decoration for Distinguished Service - see Decoration for Outstanding Service in the SARPF.
SARP Decoration for Outstanding Service - see Decoration for Outstanding Service in the SARPF.
SARP Medal for Combating Terrorism - Instituted in 1980, this campaign medal was awarded to SA Railways Police members who took part in anti-terrorist operations or carried out anti-terrorist duties. It was awarded, among others, for serving in South West Africa during the Border War. The medal became obsolete in 1986.
SARP Medal for Faithful Service - see Medal for Faithful Service in the SARPF.
SARP Star for Distinguished Devotion (SDE) - This was instituted in 1980, for generals who rendered meritorious service and contributed to state security. It lapsed in 1986.
SARP Star for Distinguished Leadership (SEE) - Instituted in 1980, this was the highest SARPF decoration, awarded only to generals for distinguished leadership and meritorious contribution to state security. It became obsolete in 1986.
SARP Star for Faithful Service - This medal was instituted in 1980 and was awarded for 20 years exemplary service. It lapsed in 1986.
SARP Star for Merit - see Star for Merit in the SARPF.
Sash - The ribbons of the first class of the Order of Good Hope and the Order of the Star of South Africa were originally designed as sashes, to be worn over the right shoulder. The second class of the Order of the Star of South Africa also originally had a sash. They were replaced by neck ribbons in the late 1980s.
SBG - Post-nominal letters for the MK Star for Bravery in Gold.
SBS - Post-nominal letters for the MK Star for Bravery in Silver.
SCG - Post-nominal letters for the SAP Silver Cross for Gallantry.
SCL - Post-nominal letters for the APLA Star for Conspicuous Leadership.
SD - Post-nominal letters for the Southern Cross Decoration.
Security Officer Board - This statutory body has (or had?) its own 3-class medal for bravery. Presidential approval is required to wear it with official state awards.
SDE - Post-nominal letters for the SARP Star for Distinguished Devotion ("Stella Diligentia Egregiae").
SED - Post-nominal letters for the SAP Star for Distinguished Leadership ("Stella Excellentis Ductus").
SEE Post-nominal letters for the SARP Star for Distinguished Leadership ("Stella Eximii Emperii").
Selebi, Cmmr Jackie SOEG - First recipient of the SAPS Gold Medal for Outstanding Service, in 2005. He was the national commissioner of the SAPS at the time.
Selvan, F Sgt Vinesh NS - First recipient of the Nkwe ya Selefera decoration for bravery.
Serial Number - Post-1952 defence force decorations and medals, and post-2004 police decorations and medals bear serial numbers instead of recipients' names. Numbers are matched with names in the registers of the authorities which confer the awards.
Service Award - Authorised in 1978, this silver lapel badge was awarded to members of the Public Service after 30 years service. It lapsed in 1984.
Service Ribbon - Also known as a "ribbon bar" and an "undress ribbon": a short (1cm) length of ribbon worn on a military or police or other uniform to indicate that the wearer has been awarded the decoration or medal concerned. It is usually worn above the left breast pocket.
If more than four ribbons are worn, they are divided into rows (maximum four per row). The ends of the rows to the wearer's left with the bottom row the longest. In the 1970s and '80s, the SA Police wore plastic covers over their service ribbons, presumably to protect them from the elements.
Shooting Medals - From 1924 to 2003 (except during World War II), the defence force's champion shots - as determined by the annual championships - were awarded medals: the King's/Queen's Medal (1924-61), the Commandant-General's Medal (1962-75), and the SADF Champion Shot Medal (1976-2003). A medal for school cadet shooting champions was added in 1987.
Silver Leopard - see Nkwe ya Selefera.
Silver Medal for Merit (SMM) - Instituted in 1996, as a 2nd-level decoration for exceptionally meritorious service in the Azanian People's Liberation Army between 1961 and 1994.
Silver Protea - see iPhrothiya yeSiliva.
Sir Harry Smith's Medal for Gallantry - A military medal created by Cape Colony governor Sir Harry Smith in 1851, for presentation to members of his forces during the 8th Frontier War against the Xhosa. Sir Harry had no authority to institute any medals (that was Queen Victoria's exclusive royal prerogative), but he later persuaded the British government to pay for it, which gave it official recognition if not actual status - a situation not unlike the New Zealand Cross.
SM - Post-nominal letters for the Southern Cross Medal (both types).
Smart, Garth - Designer of the 2003 Orders of Luthuli, of Ikhamanga, and of Mendi.
Smit, Tpr H.B. CM - He and Cpl D.H. Maritz were the first recipients of the Army Cross, in 1992. They were decorated for helping to recover a disabled tank during the Battle of Tumpo in Angola in 1988.
Smith, Lt Gen Sir Harry KCB - Governor of the Cape Colony 1847-52. In 1851, he established a semi-official Medal for Gallantry, which is now regarded as having been South Africa's first medal.
SMM - Post-nominal letters for the APLA Silver Medal for Merit.
SMO - Post-nominal letters for the Decoration for Outstanding Service in the SARPF ("Stella Muneris Optimi").
Smuts, FM Jan OM CH DTD ED - Soldier and statesman, defence minister 1910-20 and 1939-48, prime minister 1919-24 and 1939-48. He received no less than 30 honours and awards: 6 South African, 12 British, and 12 foreign.
SOE - Post-nominal letters for the SAP Star for Outstanding Service ("Stella Officii Egregii").
SOEG - Post-nominal letters for the SAPS Gold Medal for Outstanding Service ("Stella Officii Egregii Gold").
SOES - Post-nominal letters for the SAPS Silver Medal for Outstanding Service ("Stella Officii Egregii Silver").
SOO Post-nominal letters for the SAP Star for Distinguished Service ("Stella Officii Optimi").
South Africa - In 1910, the self-governing British colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange Free State, and Transvaal, united to form a dominion, the Union of South Africa. In 1926, after demonstrating its loyalty in World War I, the Union became a founder member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and its constitutional independence was confirmed in 1931 and 1934. In 1961, the Union became a republic and left the Commonwealth. The nationalist government's apartheid system isolated the country during the 1960s, '70s and '80s but eventually in 1994, after years of armed conflict with African liberation movements, the Republic was reconstituted as a democratic state and was re-admitted to the Commonwealth.
The Union followed the standard divided honours system which obtained in the British Empire and Commonwealth: most honours and awards were provided by the British government, and the Union government granted long service medals and a few other awards. In 1952, in preparation for the republic, the government established its own honours system, comprising a new series of military medals, and the existing civil, police, railways police and prisons carried over from the old honours system. This was enlarged in the 1960s with new police (1963), railways police (1966), civil (1967) and prisons medals (1968), and the country's first order (1973).
The honours system was extensively revised and enlarged in the 1970s and '80s, by creating new series of awards for the defence force (1975), civil defence (1976), the police (1979), the prisons service (1980), the railways police (1980), and the intelligence service (1981). A new system of national orders was introduced in 1986.
Further changes were made after the country was reconstituted in 1994, and decorations were created for the former liberation armies (1996). The existing military, civil and police honours were retained for a few years, before being replaced by new national orders (2002), new defence force decorations (2003), and new police medals (2004). New intelligence service awards were added in 2005.
South Africa Service Medal - A campaign medal instituted in 2000(?) for Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto weSizwe veterans who had served in military operations against the South African government forces inside South Africa between 1961 and 1994. It corresponds to the SADF's General Service Medal.
South African Republic - The Boer republic established in the Transvaal in 1857. Its relations with Great Britain - the dominant power in the region - were seldom smooth and in 1899 the two countries went to war. The SAR lost and became a British colony in 1902. The SAR had no official honours system (though the government tried to institute an "Order of the Golden Eagle" and other decorations in 1894-95), but its Anglo-Boer war veterans were eventually provided for in 1920 with the institution of the Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst, the Zuidafrikaansche Republiek en Oranje Vrijstaat Oorlogsmedalje, and the Lint voor Verwonding.
South African Republic and Orange Free State War Medal - English name of the Zuidafrikaanse Republiek en Oranje Vrijstaat Oorlogsmedalje.
South West Africa - This territory was a German protectorate until World War I, when it was occupied by the Union Defence Forces as part of the British Empire's war strategy. South Africa retained the territory after the war under a League of Nations mandate, and continued to govern it after World War II, despite United Nations efforts to end the administration. The People's Liberation Army of Namibia began military operations against the South African administration in 1966, beginning a 23-year-long conflict (the Border War) which eventually ended with South African handing over the territory to the United Nations in 1989. It became the Republic of Namibia in 1990.
During the final years of South African control, the territory was self-governing, with its own police force and prisons service. It had its own police and prisons decorations and medals, which became obsolete when those forces were disbanded following the territory's change of status.
Southern Africa Medal - A campaign medal instituted in 1989 for service in SA Defence Force military operations outside South Africa and South West Africa between 1976 and 1989. They included Operations 'Reindeer' (1978), 'Rekstok' and 'Safraan' (1979), 'Sceptic' (1980), 'Protea' (1981), 'Askari' (1983-84), and the 1987-88 Angola campaign (Operations 'Moduler', 'Hooper', 'Packer' and 'Displace').
Southern Cross - A distinctive constellation of stars, after which three military decorations and an order of merit were named.
Southern Cross Decoration (SD) - This 1st-level decoration was instituted in 1975 for SA Defence Force officers who rendered outstanding service. Most recipients had already received the Southern Cross Medal. The decoration was superseded by iPhrothiya yeGolide in 2003.
Southern Cross Medal (SM) (1st Type) - A 2nd-level military merit award, instituted in 1952 for outstanding devotion to duty by SA Defence Force members. It was reserved for officers from 1967, and in 1975 it was replaced by a new medal of the same name.
Southern Cross Medal (SM) (2nd Type) - Instituted in 1975, this was awarded to SA Defence Force officers for exceptionally meritorious service and particular devotion to duty. Most recipients had already received the Military Merit Medal. The medal was superseded by iPhrothiya yeSiliva in 2003.
Southern Cross, Order of - see Order of the Southern Cross.
SPE - Post-nominal letters for the DCS Star for Excellence ("Stella Pro Excellentis").
SPM - Post-nominal letters for the DCS Star for Merit ("Stella Pro Merito").
SPO - Post-nominal letters for the DCS Star for Distinction ("Stella Pro Optimo").
Sports Awards - Since 1967, the South African government has presented annual awards to top sportsmen and -women and others connected with organised sport. There were originally two awards - the State President's Sports Award (1967) and the SA Sports Merit Award (1971) - but they were replaced by a single Presidential Sports Award in 1994.
SSA - Post-nominal letters for (i) the Star of South Africa decoration, (ii) the first classes of the Orders of the Star of South Africa (Military) and (Non-Military).
SSAS - Post-nominal letters for the second classes of the Orders of the Star of South Africa (Military), and (Non-Military).
Star for Bravery in Gold (SBG) - The highest-ranking of the decorations instituted in 1996 for veterans who had served in Umkhonto weSizwe between 1961 and 1994. It was for exceptional bravery while in great danger.
Star for Bravery in Silver (SBS) - Also instituted in 1996 for veterans who had served in Umkhonto weSizwe between 1961 and 1994. It was for bravery while in danger.
Star for Conspicuous Leadership (SCL) - Instituted in 1996, for distinguished conduct and exceptional combat leadership in the Azanian People's Liberation Army between 1961 and 1994.
Star of South Africa - The first large diamond to be found in South Africa, in 1869. Its name was given to a military decoration in 1952, and to a military order in 1975.
Star of South Africa (SSA) - A military decoration for meritorious service, instituted in 1952. It was reserved for officers and, in practice, was granted only to general- and flag-rank officers. It was replaced by the Order of the Star of South Africa in 1975.
State of Emergency - From 1985 to 1990, South Africa was under a succession of states of emergency proclaimed to deal with the armed liberation struggle waged by Umkhonto weSizwe and the Azanian People's Liberation Army against the nationalist government and the apartheid system. The SA Police were deployed as the first line of defence, with the SA Defence Force in support. The SAP Medal for Combating Terrorism and the SADF's General Service Medal were issued for this period.
State President - From 1961 to 1994, South Africa's head of state - and fount of honour - was the state president, successor to both the queen and the governor-general. From 1984, the state president was also head of government.
State President's Sports Award - Instituted in 1967, this was awarded annually to sportsmen and teams for sports achievements of the highest international standard, e.g. breaking world records (not that South Africans were allowed to compete in many international events in the 1960s, '70s or '80s). The decoration was superseded by the Presidential Sports Award in 1994.
Statutory Bodies - Some statutory bodies such as the National Parks Board and the SA Security Officers Board, have their own medals. They rank after official, British and foreign government awards, and presidential approval is required to wear them with official awards.
Stokoe, E. - Designer of the 1920 awards for Boer war veterans.
Sudan - Since 2004, SA National Defence Force contingents have been serving in the African Union mission (AMIS) in Sudan.
Swales, Capt Edwin VC DFC - The most highly decorated South African serviceman of World War II. Seconded to the Royal Air Force from 1943, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for a successful attack on Cologne, under heavy enemy fire, in 1943, and a posthumous Victoria Cross for his leadership during a bomber raid on Pforzheim in 1945. He was killed during the raid.
Swart, Charles DMS - Governor-general 1959-60 and state president 1961-67. He instituted the new SA Police decorations (1963), the SARP decorations (1966), the State President's Sports Award (1967), and several military medals.
Tambo, Oliver OSG - Leader of the African National Congress in exile 1961-90. The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo (2003) was named after him.
Theron, Capt Daniel DTD - Transvaal military hero of the Anglo-Boer War. The Danie Theron Medal (1970) was named after him.
Transkei - One of the former African homelands inside South Africa. It was self-governing from 1963 to 1976 and "independent" from 1976 to 1994. Transkei had its own honours system, comprising the Order of the Aloe, the Order of Transkei, and military decorations. They became obsolete when the homeland was reincorporated into South Africa in 1994.
Transvaal - The region between the Vaal and Limpopo Rivers, occupied by several African kingdoms and chiefdoms. A Boer state, the South African Republic, was established there in 1857, and it became a British colony - as the Transvaal - in 1902. The colony became a province of the Union of South Africa in 1910.
Transvaal Volunteers - A part-time military force organised in the Transvaal after the former Boer republic became a British colony in 1902. Its units were embodied in the Union Defence Forces in 1913. The TV qualified for British honours and awards, and it had its own issues of the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Colonial Auxiliary Forces long service awards.
Tshumelo Ikatelaho - The current military general service medal, instituted in 2003 for service in operations which do not justify individual campaign medals. It was first issued in 2004.
Umkhonto weSizwe - The military wing formed by the African National Congress in 1961 to fight for majority rule. After a brief sabotage campaign which was squashed by the SA Police, MK went into exile. An attempt to re-infiltrate South Africa through Rhodesia in 1967-68 was also repulsed by the SAP, and it was not until 1979 that MK resumed operations in earnest. During the 1980s, it conducted an armed struggle inside South Africa which eventually persuaded the nationalist government to begin negotiations in 1990. MK was absorbed into the new SA National Defence Force in 1994.
Decorations and medals for service between 1961 and 1994 were instituted in 1996: Star for Bravery in Gold, Star for Bravery in Silver, Conspicuous Leadership Star, Decoration for Merit in Gold, Merit Medal in Silver, Merit Medal in Bronze, Southern Africa Service Medal, Service Medal.
Undress Ribbon - Another name for the service ribbon.
Union Defence Forces - see SA Defence Force.
Union Medal - see Permanent Force Good Service Medal.
Union of South Africa - see South Africa.
Union of South Africa Commemoration Medal - Instituted in 1910 to commemorate the unification of the Cape Colony, Natal, Orange Free State, and Transvaal to form the Union of South Africa. It was the first such commemoration medal in the British Empire, and the ribbon colours pre-dated the adoption of an orange, white and blue national flag by 18 years.
Unit Awards - Unlike the United States of America and Australia, South Africa does not have collective awards for military units. However, in 2003 the Order of Mendi for Bravery was awarded collectively to two military units, for sea rescue and flood relief operations respectively, so a precedent has been set for future use.
Unitas Medal - The first medal of the "new" South Africa, instituted in 1994 to commemorate the amalgamation of the SADF, APLA, MK and the four homeland defence forces to form the SA National Defence Force.
United Nations Medals - South Africa was a founder member of the United Nations, though membership was suspended in the 1980s because of the then government's apartheid policies and its military operations in South West Africa.
The defence forces have served in a few UN operations: the Korean War (1950-53) and peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (1999- ), Ethiopia and Eritrea (2000- ), Burundi (2001- ), and Liberia (2003- ). The Korean War contingents received the UN Service Medal and, presumably, members of the current missions are receiving the UN Medal with the appropriate ribbons. UN medals rank as foreign awards as far as precedence is concerned.
University of Fort Hare SCOB - The first institution (as distinct from an individual) to receive a national honour. It was awarded the Order of the Baobab in 2005 for its "exceptional contribution to Black academic training and leadership development on the African continent".
UNMEE - see Ethiopia, and Operation 'Espresso'.
UNMIL - see Liberia, and Operation 'Montego'.
UNOB - see Burundi, and Operation 'Fibre'.