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The Order of the Baobab is a South African civilian national honour, awarded to those for service in business and the economy; science, medicine, and for technological innovation; and community service. It was instituted on 6 December 2002, and is awarded annually by the President of South Africa. The order is named after the baobab tree, which was chosen as a symbol because of its endurance and tolerance, its vitality, its importance in agro-forestry systems, and its use as a meeting place in traditional African societies.[1]

The Order of the Baobab
Order of the Baobab.jpg
Awarded by

President of South Africa
TypeNational Order
EligibilitySouth African citizens
Awarded forService
StatusCurrently constituted
  • Supreme Counsellor (SCOB)
  • Grand Counsellor (GCOB)
  • Counsellor (COB)
First induction10 December 2002
Total inductees100
Order of the Boabab ribbon.jpg
Ribbon section

Until the Order of Luthuli and the Order of Ikhamanga were established in 2004, the Order of the Baobab also covered service in the fields now covered by those orders.


Current classesEdit

The three classes of appointment to the Order are, in descending order of precedence:

  • Supreme Counsellor of the Baobab is gold, for exceptional service (SCOB)
  • Grand Counsellor of the Baobab is silver, for distinguished service (GCOB)
  • Counsellor of the Baobab is bronze, for dedicated service (COB)


The central motif is a baobab tree, one of the oldest trees in Africa, with roots symbolising longevity. The badge is bordered by a nonagon shape, a nine-sided polygon, with each side representing one of the nine South African provinces. It represents the many different areas of possible contribution and service, in building a prosperous nation. The roughly rectangular shaped plaque, is textured to represent the baobab tree bark that is commonly used to make mats and hats. [2]

The ribbon is gold, with recurring cream-coloured baobab silhouettes down the centre. All three classes are worn around the neck. The South African coat of arms is displayed on the reverse of the badge.


These are all the recipients, in order of most recent:[1]

Name Grade Date awarded
Prof. Emeritus James David Lewis-Williams SCOB 18 December 2015
Frank Dutton SCOB 2012
Otto Stehlik GCOB 18 December 2015
Dr. Andrew Ross GCOB 18 December 2015
Dr. Mary Susan Makobatjatji Malahlela GCOB 17 December 2015
Douglas John Anderson GCOB 17 December 2015
J. Yvonne Mokgoro COB 17 December 2015
Dr. Sayed Mohamed Ridwan Mia GCOB 29 May 2014
Herbert William Garnet De La Hunt GCOB 29 April 2014
Colin Wells Eglin GCOB 29 April 2014
David Jacobus Bosch GCOB 29 April 2014
Yusuf Abramjee GCOB 29 April 2014
Suraya Khan COB 29 April 2014
Nontsikelelo Qwelane COB 29 April 2014
The Revd Phambani Jeremiah Mzimba SCOB 27 April 2011
The Rt Revd David Patrick Russell GCOB 27 April 2011
William Sinclair Winship GCOB 27 April 2011
Nowongile Cynthia Molo COB 27 April 2011
Reginald Dudley Forde COB 27 April 2011
Imtiaz Sooliman GCOB 27 April 2010
James Mata Dwane SCOB 27 April 2010
Lord Joel Joffe GCOB 27 April 2010
Malebone Susan Luthuli GCOB 27 April 2010
Malefu Mphathane GCOB 27 April 2010
Vincent Naidoo GCOB 27 April 2010
Joyce Piliso-Seroke SCOB 2008
Richard Maponya GCOB 2007
The Revd Dr Barney Pityana GCOB[3] 20 April 2006
William Smith GCOB 25 April 2019
Braam Jordaan GCOB 25 April 2019

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "The Order of the Baobab". The Presidency South Africa. Archived from the original on 8 June 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  2. ^ "The Order of the Baobab". SA History. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Barney Pityana (1945–)". The Presidency, The Republic of South Africa. Retrieved 2016-01-29.

External linksEdit