Sandile Medal

Sandile Medal
Awarded by the President
Country Ciskei
Type Military decoration for merit
Eligibility All Ranks
Awarded for Meritorious service
Status Discontinued in 1994
Post-nominals SM
Established 1988
CDF pre-1994 & SANDF post-2002 orders of wear
Next (higher)
CDF precedence:
  • Cross for Bravery
SANDF precedence:
Next (lower)
CDF succession:
  • Pro Merito Decoration
SANDF succession:

Ribbon bar

The Sandile Medal was instituted by the President of the Republic of Ciskei in 1988, for award to all ranks for meritorious service.[1][2][3]

The Ciskei Defence Force

The Ciskei Defence Force (CDF) was established upon that country's independence on 4 December 1981. The Republic of Ciskei ceased to exist on 27 April 1994 and the Ciskei Defence Force was amalgamated with six other military forces into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).[4][5][6]


The Sandile Medal, post-nominal letters SM, was instituted by the President of Ciskei in 1988. It is the middle award of a set of three decorations for merit, along with the Sandile Decoration and the Chief C.D.F. Commendation Medal.[1][3][7]

Ciskei's military decorations and medals were modelled on those of the Republic of South Africa and these three decorations are the approximate equivalents of, respectively, the Southern Cross Decoration and Pro Merito Decoration, the Southern Cross Medal (1975) and Pro Merito Medal (1975), and the Military Merit Medal.[1]

The medal was named after Chief Mgolombane Sandile, who had been declared as deposed and a fugitive by Major General Sir Henry George Wakelyn Smith Bt GCB, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Cape of Good Hope, after he refused to attend a meeting with Smith outside Fort Cox in December 1850. Sandile subsequently besieged the fort and the 8th Cape Frontier War broke out, the longest and bloodiest of the frontier wars.[8][9]

Award criteria

The medal could be awarded to all ranks for meritorious service.[1]

Order of wear

Since the Sandile Medal was authorised for wear by one of the statutory forces which came to be part of the South African National Defence Force on 27 April 1994, it was accorded a position in the official South African order of precedence on that date.[1]

Ciskei Defence Force until 26 April 1994

South African National Defence Force from 27 April 1994

The position of the Sandile Medal in the official order of precedence was revised twice after 1994, to accommodate the inclusion or institution of new decorations and medals, first in April 1996 when decorations and medals were belatedly instituted for the two former non-statutory forces, the Azanian People's Liberation Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe, and again upon the institution of a new set of honours on 27 April 2003. On both occasions, it remained unchanged, as it was on 27 April 1994.[1]



The Sandile Medal is a medallion struck in silver, 38 millimetres in diameter and without a raised rim, displaying the eagle emblem of the Ciskei Defence Force in a laurel wreath.[3][10]


The reverse, also without a raised rim, displays the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Ciskei, with the silver hallmark impressed beneath.


The ribbon is 32 millimetres wide, with a 5 millimetres wide red band and a 9 millimetres wide white band, repeated in reverse order and separated by a 4 millimetres wide green band in the centre.[10]


Conferment of the Sandile Medal was discontinued when the Republic of Ciskei ceased to exist on 27 April 1994.[6]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Republic of South Africa Government Gazette Vol. 477, no. 27376, Pretoria, 11 March 2005, OCLC 72827981
  2. Republic of Ciskei Constitution Act, no. 20 of 1981
  3. 1 2 3 South African Medals Website - Ciskei Defence Force (Accessed 30 April 2015)
  4. South Africa Homeland Militaries, May 1996 (Accessed 1 May 2015)
  5. Peled, Alon (1998), A Question of Loyalty: Military Manpower Policy in Multiethnic States, Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 50f, ISBN 0-8014-3239-1
  6. 1 2 Warrant of the President of the Republic of South Africa for the Institution of the "UNITAS MEDAL-UNITAS-MEDALJE", Gazette no. 16087 dated 25 November 1994.
  7. South African Medals Website - Post-nominal Letters (Accessed 1 May 2015)
  8. The South African Military History Society - Military History Journal Vol 3 No 1, June 1974 - Sir Harry Smith, By Andrew L. Harington (Access date 27 April 2015)
  9. The South African Military History Society - Military History Journal Vol 15 No 4, December 2011 - Harry Smith, Henry Somerset and the Siege of Fort Cox, By David Saks (Access date 27 April 2015)
  10. 1 2 Uniform: SA Army: Former Forces Medals - Ciskei Defence Force (CDF)
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