Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo

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Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo
Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo.jpg
Awarded by President of South Africa
Type National Order
Status Currently constituted
Grades (w/ post-nominals)
  • Supreme Companion
  • Grand Companion
  • Companion
Order of the Companions of Oliver Tambo ribbon.jpg
Ribbon section

The Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo is a South African honour. [1] It was instituted on 6 December 2002, and is granted by the President of South Africa, to foreign citizens who have promoted South African interests and aspirations through co-operation. solidarity, and support. The order has three classes:

  • Supreme Companion of O. R. Tambo (Gold), for heads of state and, in special cases, heads of government,
  • Grand Companion of O. R. Tambo (Silver), for heads of government, ministers of state, supreme court judges, presidents of legislatures, secretaries of state, ambassadors, commanders-in-chief et al.,
  • Companion of O. R. Tambo (Bronze), for legislators, envoys, senior military officers et al.

The order is named after the late Oliver Tambo, who was the African National Congress's president-in-exile for many years.

Walking stick awarded with Order


The badge of the order is oval, and depicts a symbol similar to that of the Taijitu between two arrowheads, framed by two mole snakes.[2] The symbol represents the meeting of diverse spiritual energies, and the snakes represent solidarity and support. The South African coat of arms is displayed on the reverse.

The ribbon is white, with recurring grey symbols down the centre. All three classes are worn around the neck.

Recipients are also presented with a carved wooden walking stick, which has a serpent wound around the shaft and a spoon-shaped head displaying the badge of the order and the national arms. The walking stick symbolises support and solidarity, and a commitment to stand by the recipient in return.













On 28 January 2008, New Zealand anti-apartheid activist John Minto created a furore over his letter to former South African President Thabo Mbeki after being nominated for the award, saying that he would refuse, on principle, to accept any award from the ANC.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo". The Presidency (Republic of South Africa). Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Orders, Decorations and Medals - Medals by Country - Medals of South Africa". Jeanpaulleblanc.com. Retrieved 2015-05-16. 
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ "Government Gazette" (PDF). info.gov.za. 11 June 2004. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  6. ^ [3][dead link]
  7. ^ [4][dead link]
  8. ^ [5][dead link]
  9. ^ [6][dead link]
  10. ^ [7][dead link]
  11. ^ [8][dead link]
  12. ^ [9][dead link]
  13. ^ [10][dead link]
  14. ^ [11][dead link]
  15. ^ [12][dead link]
  16. ^ [13][dead link]
  17. ^ "Open letter to the President of South Africa". John Minto. 2008-01-28. 

External links[edit]