Singular and exceptional achievement
This medal is awarded to citizens who have displayed singular and exceptional achievement in South Africa. It is awarded to very few individuals, more often to outstanding scientists or internationally renowned individuals including Nobel Prize winners. Individuals who have been awarded this medal include Chris Barnard who performed the first heart transplant in South Africa. Recent recipients include the gold medal posthumously to Oliver R Tambo and Chief A Luthuli for singular contribution to the liberation struggle. The silver medal has been awarded to Ms N Gordimer and Professor E Mphahlele for exceptional achievement in the field of literature and to Professor P Tobias in the field of palaeontology.