Just short of three years after the first Mandela medal parade, the decoration has been awarded to more than eight thousand five hundred people, the majority being SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members.
The medal is to honour both SANDF members and others who took care of democratic South Africa’s first president, Nelson Mandela, before he died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95. The medal would also be presented to soldiers of whatever rank who assisting in the planning and execution of the State funeral accorded to the first Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF.
The first Mandela medal parade was held at AFB Waterkloof in Centurion a day short of a year after Mandela’s death in December 2014. It was presided over by President Jacob Zuma, current commander-in-chief of South Africa’s military forces.
According to SANDF Corporate Communications to date a total of 8 529 Mandela medals have been awarded in gold, silver and bronze. A further 119 Mandela medallions have also been presented; 92 in gold, 26 in silver and a single bronze.
Following the Waterkloof parade a number of parades were held nationally where Mandela medals were bestowed with a final eight people still to be honoured for their contribution.
Ninety-size Mandela gold medals have been awarded along with 182 in silver and 8 281 in bronze.
An SANDF statement issued ahead of the first Mandela medal paraded had it that” SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke’s intention is these medals should be awarded to deserving SANDF members over the period December 2014/ June 2015″.
That deadline came and went with Mandela medals being presented at two subsequent Armed Forces Day parades as well as other medal parades across the country. There was no indication of when and where the remaining medals will be presented.