The Order of Mapungubwe

This Order is awarded to South African citizens for excellence and exceptional achievement.


This Order can be awarded in three Classes:

  • Class 1 = The Platinum Order of Mapungubwe (Platinum)
  • Class 2 = The Gold Order of Mapungubwe (Gold)
  • Class 3 = The Bronze Order of Mapungubwe (Bronze).

Symbolism / Design Elements

Central Motif / Symbolism

Mapungubwe: The Mapungubwe Kingdom existed in the northern corner of our country a millennium ago. The Kingdom had a sophisticated state system and developed agriculture. It also developed a mining and metallurgy industry. The Kingdom traded with countries as far as China. During its time, it represented excellence of human thought and ingenuity.


Neck badge

Lapel rosette
  1. Four corners of the globe - symbolise the achievements of South Africans all over the world.
  2. Rising sun - the new dawn emerging from Africa.
  3. Mapungubwe Hill - forms the background, a sandstone hill on mudstone deposit in an arid subtropical area with erratic summer rains. Excavations showed that excellence grew out of the most difficult natural circumstances.
  4. Mapungubwe rhino - the now most well-known artefact found in a grave at the excavation site, a gold-plated figurine formed around a soft core, probably sculpted wood, testimony to the excellence of human resourcefulness present in the Kingdom.
  5. Mapungubwe scepter - emerging from the gold melting pot on either side; another of the artefacts found in a grave at the excavation site.
  6. Decorated gold melting pot - the basic symmetric forms on the overflowing gold melting pot symbolise the abundance of excellence, science and creativity, testimony to the earliest achievements in metallurgy.
  7. Furnace - the purifying and life-sustaining properties of fire, employed since the Iron Age, to advance development and excellence in societies and communities.