National Heritage Day

History of South African National Orders and Awards

The Order of the Baobab

This Order is to be awarded to South African citizens for distinguished service. The service awarded is well above and beyond the ordinary call of duty. It is an award for exceptional and distinguished contributions in the following categories.

  • The struggle for democracy
  • Building democracy and human rights
  • Nation-building
  • Peace and security
  • Journalism, literature, arts, culture, sport and music
  • Business and the economy
  • Science, medicine and technological innovation
  • Community service

Organisation

This Order can be awarded in three Classes:

Class 1 = Supreme Counsellor of the Order of the Baobab (Gold)

Class 2 = Grand Counsellor of the Order of the Baobab (Silver)

Class 3 = Counsellor of the Order of the Baobab (Bronze)

Symbolism / Design Elements

Central Motif / Symbolism

This Order finds its inspiration from the Baobab which is a tropical African tree. The origins of the name Baobab is part of the many rich legends and mysteries of Africa. It has probably been more often described than any other tree in Africa for among other things its vitality, and magical and symbolic value to indigenous people. The endurance and tolerance shown by the tree in growing old is reflective of the sustained and exceptional service to South Africa that is awarded by this Order. Similarly the service rendered, still ensures the enduring and growing status of South Africa.

The Baobab is an important element in many African agro forestry systems. It provides bark for cloth and rope, fruits for food and fuel, and many other useful products. The familiar, broad and strong protruding root system supports a massive tree commonly known as a place for many important meetings and protection in traditional African societies.

Elements

Neck badge

  1. Baobab (Baobab or Adonsonia Digitata) - known for its roots and longevity. Provides not only shade and a place for meetings, but is also central in supporting the communities it is found in.
  2. Nonagon shape - a nine-sided polygon background symbolising the many different areas of possible contribution and service to building a prosperous and advancing nation. The icon is also symbolic of the nine provinces of our country.
  3. Exterior organic holding shape - Baobab bark texture finish; the bark iscommonly used for the making of mats and hats.