O R Tambo

The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo

This Order is awarded to foreign nationals (Heads of State and Government) and other foreign dignitaries. It is awarded for friendship shown to South Africa. It is therefore an order of peace, co-operation and active expression of solidarity and support. The Order constitutes an essential pillar of international and multilateral relations.

Organisation

This Order can be awarded in three classes:

  • Class 1 = Supreme Companion of OR Tambo (Gold)
  • Class 2 = Grand Companion of OR Tambo (Silver)
  • Class 3 = Companion of OR Tambo (Bronze).

All the awards include four elements: a walking stick, a neck badge, a miniature and a lapel rosette. The last Order consists of three elements: a neck badge, a miniature and a lapel rosette.

Symbolism/design elements

Central motif/symbolism

OR Tambo: OR Tambo played a major role in the growth and development of the international movement of solidarity against racism and Apartheid. Among others, he established the first Missions of the liberation movement in Egypt, Morocco, Ghana and London. This was a modest start to bring the friends of South Africa together throughout the world in a continuous and sustained mobilisation of the international community in support of a free and democratic South Africa and against the evils of racism, oppression and Apartheid.

Majola (mole snake): The snake that visits babies when they are born. It never harms the baby or members of the family and the only friendly way to drive it away is for the mother to squirt it with her own breast milk. It visits the baby to prepare it for a successful and safe adult life. It comes as a friend and protector. The friendship it expresses is not anchored in a benign demonstration of goodwill but rather an active expression of solidarity and striving to support and encourage long-term success of the young and growing members of the human race. The snake lives on in African mythology because of a classical narrative called The wrath of the ancestors by AC Jordan. This narrative subverts the conventional notion of a snake as merely venomous and introduces a broader African interpretation that understands the serpent as a friend and a member of a dynamic ecology.

Elements

1. Walking stick - carved out of dark, indigenous wood it is a symbol of appreciation for the support and solidarity shown, and similarly a commitment to support and stand by the recipient in return.


Walking stick

1. Majola - the watchful eye with hooks at both the top and bottom symbolises recognition for the active expression of solidarity and support for South Africa.

2. A tomoye of four sections - is inspired by the universal ying and yang that speak of a meeting point for diverse spiritual energies.


Neck badge


Miniature


Lapel rosette

                   Updated June 2008