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Nkwe ya Gauta (Golden Leopard)
File:Nkwe ya gauta ng.jpg
Awarded by South African National Defence Force
Country  South Africa
Type Medal
Eligibility Officers and other ranks of the SANDF
Awarded for Awarded for exceptional bravery during military operations.
Post-nominals NG
Established 27 April 2003
Next (lower) (2) Nkwe ya Selefera
(3) Nkwe ya Boronse

The Nkwe ya Gauta (English: Golden Leopard) is a South African military decoration issued for bravery. It is South Africa's highest of the three classes of the so-called "Nkwe Decoration" (officially the "Honours for Bravery in the SANDF") (see also Nkwe ya Selefera and Nkwe ya Boronse decorations).


It was instituted with effect from 27 April 2003, and may be awarded to members of the South African National Defence Force (or any other armed forces serving with the SANDF) for exceptional bravery during military operations.[1] The Nkwe ya Gauta (Golden Leopard) Decoration replaced the Honoris Crux Gold Decoration (Awarded for outstanding bravery in extreme danger). Language of origin: Sesotho

A bar may be awarded to a recipient who earns the decoration again. A recipient is entitled to use the post-nominal letters NG.


The honours for bravery may be awarded to officers and other ranks of the SANDF who have distinguished themselves by performing acts of exceptional bravery during military operations.[2]


  • Deliberate but daring and courageous actions on a single occasion or over a period of time.
  • Single act of valour; or most conspicuous bravery of daring or pre-eminent act of self-sacrifice; or
  • extreme devotion to duty in the presence of an enemy.
  • Real threat for loss of own life.
  • Places a high premium on the prevention of the loss of lives.
  • Actions vital to attain success.
  • Perseverance under extremely difficult situations.



The decoration is a gold 5-armed convex cross with rays separating the arms. In the centre is a light blue roundel displaying a leopard's head.


The South African coat of arms appears on the reverse.


The ribbon is Sky blue (20mm) with gold edges (6mm). Sky blue represents the feathers of the blue crane bird, which Xhosa kings used to present to brave warriors. An arm-of-service emblem is worn on the ribbon to indicate whether the recipient was serving in the army, air force, navy, or military health service at the time of earning the decoration.

The arm-of-service-emblems are:

  • Army uniform: Crossed swords
  • Air Force uniform: Eagle
  • Naval uniform: Anchor
  • Military Health Service uniform: Rod of Aesculapius.


  • Medal number 00? - None Awarded.

See also


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