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Star of South Africa, Gold
Medals at SAAF Museum, Ysterplaat.jpg
Miniature at left
Awarded by the State President and, from 1994, the President
Country South Africa  South Africa
Type Military decoration for merit
Eligibility General and flag officers
Awarded for Meritorious military service which promoted SADF efficiency and preparedness and made a valuable contribution to national security
Status Discontinued in 2002
Post-nominals SSA
Statistics
Established 1975
Precedence
Next (higher)
SADF precedence:[1]
SANDF precedence:[2]
Equivalent Star of South Africa, Grand Cross
Next (lower)
Ribbon - Star of South Africa, Gold.gif
Ribbon bar

The Star of South Africa, Gold, post-nominal letters SSA, is the senior decoration of two military and five non-military classes of the Order of the Star of South Africa, a South African Order that was instituted by the Republic of South Africa on 1 July 1975. It was awarded to general and flag officers of the South African Defence Force for meritorious military service which promoted SADF efficiency and preparedness and made a valuable contribution to national security. The Order of the Star of South Africa was discontinued in 2002.[3][4]

The South African military[edit | edit source]

The Union Defence Forces (UDF) were established in 1912 and renamed the South African Defence Force (SADF) in 1958. On 27 April 1994 it was integrated with six other independent forces into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).[5]

Orders, decorations and medals[edit | edit source]

In April 1952 a series of military decorations and medals was instituted, consisting of substitutes for many of the British and Commonwealth awards which had earlier been used. More decorations and medals, as well as an emblem for being mentioned in dispatches, were added between 1953 and 1970. In July 1975 the military decorations and medals of the Republic were revised. Some decorations and medals were carried over from the earlier series of 1952-1975 and new orders, decorations and medals were instituted, followed by more between 1987 and 1991. Finally, all but one of these earlier awards were discontinued in respect of services performed on or after 27 April 2003, when a new set of awards was instituted to replace them.[4][5][6][7][8]

Fount of Honour[edit | edit source]

Until 1958 the top three awards were reserved for conferment by the Queen while the rest were awarded by the Governor-General, but in 1958 the Governor-General was authorised to also award the top three. In 1961 the State President became the Fount of Honour, and in 1994 the President.[5]

Award criteria for the Star of South Africa, Gold[edit | edit source]

The Star of South Africa, Gold, post-nominal letters SSA, replaced the Star of South Africa of 1952 and was awarded to general and flag officers for meritorious military service which promoted SADF efficiency and preparedness and made a valuable contribution to national security. It was introduced on 1 July 1975 as the senior decoration of two military classes of the Order of the Star of South Africa. The order was named after the first large diamond to be found in South Africa, the Star of South Africa that was found on the banks of the Orange River in 1869 and that sparked the New Rush, leading to the establishment of Kimberley.[4]

The Order of the Star of South Africa was expanded on 17 October 1978, when a non-military division with decorations in five classes was instituted for conferment on civilians and, from 1988, on senior police, prisons service and intelligence service officers as well as foreign military attachés. The senior of these five non-military decorations, the Star of South Africa, Grand Cross, ranks on par with the Star of South Africa, Gold.[2][3]

Order of precedence[edit | edit source]

The position of the Star of South Africa, Gold in the official order of precedence was revised three times after 1975 to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, first with the integration into the South African National Defence Force on 27 April 1994, again in April 1996 when decorations and medals were belatedly instituted for the two former non-statutory forces, the Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe, and finally with the institution of a new set of awards on 27 April 2003.[1][2]

South African Defence Force until 26 April 1994
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Order of the Southern Cross, Gold (OSG) of the Republic of South Africa.
    • Succeeded by the Order of the Leopard, Special Class Grand Cross of the Republic of Bophuthatswana.[2]
South African National Defence Force from April 1996
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Order of the Southern Cross, Gold (OSG) of the Republic of South Africa.
    • Succeeded by the Order of the Leopard, Special Class Grand Cross of the Republic of Bophuthatswana.[2]
South African National Defence Force from 27 April 2003
  • Official national order of precedence:
    • Preceded by the Order of the Southern Cross, Gold (OSG) of the Republic of South Africa.
    • Succeeded by the Order of the Leopard, Special Class Grand Cross of the Republic of Bophuthatswana.[2]

Description[edit | edit source]

Obverse

The Star of South Africa, Gold is a silver-gilt Maltese cross with the arms in dark blue enamel, with protea flowers between the arms of the cross and two four-pointed stars superimposed on one another and, together, on the cross.[4]

Reverse

The reverse has the pre-1994 South African Coat of Arms.

Ribbon and chain

The decoration is worn around the neck on a dark blue ribbon, 35 millimetres wide. Until 1988 the Star of South Africa, Gold also had a gold neck chain for ceremonial occasions.[4]

Breast star

Recipients also wear a gold breast star with eight multi-rayed points and that displays the obverse of the decoration in its centre.[4]

Discontinuation[edit | edit source]

The conferment of the Star of South Africa, Gold was discontinued on 6 December 2002 when a new set of national orders was instituted.[4]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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