The Order of Ikhamanga
The beautiful and unique Ikhamanga flower (more commonly known as the strelitzia, crane or bird of paradise flower) has become one of the world’s most well-known flowers. Perhaps less known is the fact that it is indigenous to South Africa where it grows wild in the Eastern Cape. The Ikhamanga is the central motif of the Order of Ikhamanga and symbolises the unique beauty of the achievements of South Africans in the creative fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.
At the centre of this design is depicted one of the Lydenburg Heads – ancient terracotta masks found near the town of Lydenburg. Masks are traditional symbols of theatre and denote the visual, creative and performing arts.
Below the mask is an illustration of the drum, which is also a universal representation of the arts, here symbolising excellence in communication and cultural expression.
Above the mask is the stylised crest revealing the rays of the sun. The crest exemplifies a feathered headdress worn by performers, royalty and respected people, while the rays of the sun denote power, glory, illumination and vitality. Both interpretations symbolise the achievements of performers in the arts.
The central image is partially circumscribed by concentric circles signifying veneration of sporting achievement, and symbolising the acknowledgement of exceptional achievement in various sporting and cultural activities.
To the sides of the drum at the base of the central image are two roads disappearing into the horizon, suggesting that all roads lead to and from Africa, the Cradle of Humanity. They symbolise the long, hard road to achievement, excellence and success.
An award of the Order of Ikhamanga comprises three elements:
- a neck badge (a gold, silver or bronze medallion on a neck band);
- a miniature (a miniature gold, silver or bronze medallion for wearing as a brooch or on the breast pocket);
- and a lapel rosette (also in gold, silver or bronze)
Awardees of this Order are entitled to indicate that they have received the award in the relevant category through the use of the following post-nominal letters:
- OIG for recipients of the Order of Ikhamanga (gold)
- OIS for recipients of the Order of Ikhamanga (silver)
- OIB for recipients of the Order of Ikhamanga (bronze)
The Order of Ikhamanga is awarded to South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism or sport.
This award is made in three categories.
For exceptional achievement, the Order is awarded in gold.
It is awarded in silver for excellent achievement, and in bronze for outstanding achievement.