On 16 November 2017 the Swedish Ambassador to South Africa, H.E. Ambassador Cecilia Julin, at the decision of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, will bestow the Order of the Polar Star on ACCORD Trustee H.E. Ambassador Billy Modise.
The Order of the Polar Star was until 1975 intended as a reward for Swedish and foreign “civic merits, for devotion to duty, for science, literary, learned and useful works and for new and beneficial institutions”. After the reorganization of the orders in 1975 the order is only awarded to foreigners and members of the royal family. It is often awarded to foreign office holders (such as prime and senior ministers) during Swedish state visits. It is also awarded to junior members of royal families who would not qualify for the more prestigious Royal Order of the Seraphim.
Its motto is, as seen on the blue enameled centre of the badge, Nescit Occasum, a Latin phrase meaning “It knows no decline”. This is to represent that Sweden is as constant as a never setting star. The Order’s colour is black. This was chosen so that when wearing the black sash, the white, blue and golden cross would stand out and shine as the light of enlightenment from the black surface. The choice of black for the Order’s ribbon may also have been inspired by the black ribbon of the French Order of St. Michael, which at the time the Order of the Polar Star was instituted was also awarded to meritorious civil servants. At present, the ribbon of the Order is blue with yellow stripes near the edges (i.e., the national colors, but the reverse of the Order of the Sword’s yellow ribbon with blue stripes near the edges). Women and clergy men are not called knight or commander but simply as Member (Ledamot).
H.E. Ambassador Billy Modise joined ACCORD’s Board of Trustees in 2007 and is the former South African Chief of State Protocol, and the former South African High Commissioner to Canada. In 2008 Ambassador Modise received the Order of Luthuli – Silver Class from former President Thabo Mbeki for excellent contribution in the achievement of a South Africa free of racial oppression and contributing to the building of a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa. He also received the Premier’s Excellence Award from the Premier of the Free State for his contribution towards the liberation struggle and South Africa in general.