Chief Albert Luthuli was a legendary liberation struggle leader and first African recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960. Although he grew up in tribal surroundings, Chief Luthuli believed in and fought for full political, economic and social opportunities for the oppressed people of South Africa. Because of his conviction and desire to see all people participate and enjoy the fruits of a prosperous South Africa, he sacrificed all prospects of personal gain and comforts and dedicated his life to the cause and service of his compatriots. He served as president of the African National Congress from 1952 until his death in 1967.
The central motif of the design of this Order is the triangular flintstone, which represents a basic survival tool used by our ancestors to skin animals, construct shelters and cut strips of skin to make clothes. It symbolises Chief Luthuli’s vision for all people to be empowered to participate fully in society.
Within the domain of the flintstone, the rising sun at its top edge represents the dawn of a new era on Africa.
Immediately below is Isandlwana Hill, depicted in its pristine outline to represent peace and tranquillity after the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879.
Below Isandlwana Hill is an abstract representation of the South African National Flag, representing sovereignty, freedom and democracy.
The nadir of the flintstone is composed of the partial image of a decorative African pot embellished with beads, symbolising the beauty of Africa. Two horns of an African bull flank the central image and signify the empowerment and prosperity of African people. The leopard skin-patterned rings at the base of both horns represent the trademark headgear of Chief Luthuli.
There are three elements to an award of the Order of Luthuli:
- a neck badge (a gold, silver or bronze medallion on a neck band);
- a miniature (a miniature gold, silver or bronze medallion for wearing as a brooch or on the breast pocket);
- and a lapel rosette (also in gold, silver or bronze).
Recipients of this Order are entitled to indicate that they have been invested with the relevant category of the Order by the use of the following post-nominal letters:
- OLG for recipients of the Order of Luthuli (gold)
- OLS for recipients of the Order of Luthuli (silver)
- OLB for recipients of the Order of Luthuli (bronze)
The Order of Luthuli is awarded to South Africans who have served the interests of South Africa by making a meaningful contribution in any of the following areas: the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice, peace and conflict resolution.
The Order of Luthuli in gold is awarded for exceptional contribution in a relevant field.
The Order of Luthuli in silver is awarded for excellent contribution, while the Order of Luthuli in bronze is awarded for outstanding contribution.