THE ENIGMATIC ORDER; THE ORDER OF THE STAR OF SOUTH AFRICA ITS ORIGINS, DEVELOPMENT, CHARACTER AND PROBLEMS!

  • S Monick South African National Museum of Military History
Keywords: Order of the Star of South Africa, Honoris Crux Decoration - Gold (HCG), Silver (HCS) and Decoration (HC), Southern Cross Medal, Pro Merito Medal, Southern Cross Decoration (SD), Pro Merito Decoration (PMD)

Abstract

The Order of the Star of South Africa is the Republic's premier order. It superseded the Star of South Africa (instituted in 1952), which was formally classed as a decoration (and awarded in one class only). For students of the South African award structure it is pivotal, in two major respects. First, it has exhibited an undeniable restlessness and instability since its inception in 1975; having experienced two major phases of reorganization and restructuring, its final form, to date, appearing in 1988. In this respect, it is clearly symptomatic of the unstable and continually fluctuating character of the South African award structure, a theme that has been explored in several published sources, written by the author of the present article.2 Most importantly, the source of this instability is encapsulated in the Order: viz the departure from sound and firmly anchored precedents, established over several centuries. Second, the Order points to the manner in which a medal pantheon forms an index of political-social-cultural development in a nation's history. For the development of the Order of the Star of South Africa has coincided with a period in which the SADF has occupied an extremely high and aggressive profile in the collective consciousness of the South African public.3 Thus, the institution of the Order of the Star of South Africa in 1975 was the fountainhead, so to speak, of a veritable plethora of either new or reconstituted awards. The year 1975 also witnessed the institution of the: Honoris Crux Decoration - Gold (HCG), Silver (HCS) and Decoration (HC); Southern Cross Medal; Pro Merito Medal; Southern Cross Decoration (SD), Pro Merito Decoration (PM D): South African Defence Force Good Service Medal (Gold, Silver, Bronze - for 30, 20 and 10 years meritorious service in the Permanent Force/Citizen Force/Commandos respectively); and SADF Champion Shot Medal.
Published
2012-02-15
Section
Articles