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Royal Order of the Drum of Rwanda

Royal Order of the Drum of Rwanda

 

The power of the Mwami (King) was symbolized by a large drum called the kalinga, which translates as “token of hope”. The kalinga was housed in a palace and protected at all times by a guard. It was thought that if the kalinga was ever lost or destroyed, the Rwandan nation would end. Only the nobles and royals of the Kingdom of Rwanda were allowed to touch the drum. Therefore, when His Majesty King Mutara III envisioned this Order in 1959, the drum was the most logical choice to represent the highest Order in the de jure Kingdom.  H.M. King Kigeli V created the Order in 1959 and re-affirmed his right to grant this Order on the 3rd of January in 1998.

 

There are two ranks in the Royal Order of the Drum (Kalinga in the native Kinyawrwandan). The higher rank is split into two parts, Grand Collar and Grand Cross, and the lower rank is Commander. A recipient of the Grand Collar is treated as an honorary member of the Royal House of Rwanda, while recipients of the Grand Cross and Commander are not. The Order may be granted as a hereditary award or as a non- hereditary honour. Nobility is conferred upon the grantee.

The Grand Collar of the Drum of Rwanda

Order of the Drum breast star and insignia

Order of the Drum sash with insignia

 

Article 49

Style of the Chevalier/Dame

 

A recipient at the rank of Grand Collar or Grand Cross is entitled to the style of “Son Excellence”. A recipient at the rank of Commander is entitled to the style of “L’honorable”.

 

Article 50

 Title and Address

 

The title and honour of Chevalier is granted to all male members of the Order whether Grand Collar, Grand Cross, or Commander. Similarly, the title and honour of Dame is granted to all female members of the Order whether Grand Collar, Grand Cross, or Commander. This Order confers nobility upon the member. The post-nominal for a Grand Collar or Grand Cross recipient of the Order is “GCDR”. This stands for [G]rand [C]ollar of the [D]rum of [R]wanda or [G]rand [C]ross of the [D]rum of [R]wanda. The post-nominal for a Commander recipient of the Order is “CDR”. This stands for [C]ommander of the [D]rum of [R]wanda. Therefore, the full name, title, and style of a male holder of the Grand Collar or Grand Cross rank is “Son Excellence Chevalier First Name Middle Name Second Middle Name [if any] Surname, GCDR”. The full name, title, and style of a male holder of the Commander rank is “L’honorable Chevalier First Name Middle Name Second Middle Name [if any] Surname, CDR”. Similarly, the full  name, title, and style of a female holder of the Grand Collar or Grand Cross rank is “Son Excellence Dame First Name Middle Name Second Middle Name [if any] Surname, GCDR”. The full name, title, and style of a female holder of the Commander rank is “L’honorable Dame First Name Middle Name Second Middle Name [if any] Surname, CDR”. If the Letters Patent for a particular recipient contains a different style, title, and address than the above, the Letters Patent will triumph only for that particular recipient.

 

Article 51

 Regalia of Order

 

Recipients at the rank of Grand Collar are entitled to a collar of gold (Or) chain linking alternating gold (Or) Crowns of Rwanda with the stylized initial “K” (for Kigeli). The collar holds the insignia of the Order, which is a royal blue (Azure) enameled Maltese cross of eight points trimmed in gold (Or). In the center of the cross is a royal blue (Azure) roundel bearing a gold (Or) kalinga drum. The outer edge of this roundel is also trimmed in gold (Or).  In the northwest corner of the Maltese cross is a gold (Or) lion facing right (Dexter). In the northeast corner of the Maltese cross is a gold (Or) crested crane facing left (Sinister). In the southwest corner of the Maltese cross is a gold (Or) crested crane facing right (Dexter) inverted. In the southeast corner of the Maltese cross is a gold (Or) lion facing left (Sinister) inverted. The whole is surmounted by a gold (Or) Crown of Rwanda.  The insignia is approximately 65 millimeters wide from left to right.

 

Recipients at the rank of Grand Cross are entitled to a breast star approximately 90 millimeters wide that is an eight-pointed faceted star of gold (Or) radiating from a center enameled roundel of royal blue (Azure) bearing a gold (Or) kalinga drum. Encircling the center roundel is a band of white enamel (Argent) inscribed “ORDRE ROYAL DU TAMBOUR” in gold (Or). This band’s outer edge is trimmed in gold (Or). The Grand Cross recipient also is entitled to a sash of royal blue (Azure) trimmed in white (Argent). The sash is 100 millimeters wide for males, while females have an option of the 100 millimeter wide sash or else a 50 millimeter wide version. The sash is worn over the right shoulder and it rests on the left hip. The insignia of the Order for the sash is a royal blue (Azure) enameled Maltese cross of eight points trimmed in gold (Or). In the center of the cross is a royal blue (Azure) roundel bearing a gold (Or) kalinga drum. The outer edge of this roundel is also trimmed in gold (Or). In the northwest corner of the Maltese cross is a gold (Or) lion facing right (Dexter). In the northeast corner of the Maltese cross is a gold (Or) crested crane facing left (Sinister). In the southwest corner of the Maltese cross is a gold (Or) crested crane facing right (Dexter) inverted. In the southeast corner of the Maltese cross is a gold (Or) lion facing left (Sinister) inverted. The whole is surmounted by a gold (Or) Crown of Rwanda. The insignia is approximately 65 millimeters wide from left to right.

 

Recipients at the rank of Commander are entitled to a breast star 90 millimeters wide that is an eight-pointed faceted star of silver (Argent) radiating from a center enameled roundel of royal blue (Azure) bearing a silver (Argent) kalinga drum. Encircling the center roundel is a band of white enamel (Argent) inscribed “ORDRE ROYAL DU TAMBOUR” in silver (Argent). This band’s outer edge is trimmed in silver (Argent).


 

Article 52

 Courtesy Spousal Title and Courtesy Titles for Children

 

There is no courtesy title for the lawful spouse or children of a member of the Order. However, the lawful spouse of a member of the Order is noble for as long as the spouse is married to the member or is the widow/widower of the same. Yet, the children of the member are not noble.

  

Article 53

 Passage of Title and Honour

 

The titles and honours of the de jure Kingdom of Rwanda may only pass to another person in strict accordance with this document. They cannot be sold, transferred, or otherwise altered. If a grant of the Order is hereditary, the Letters Patent and it alone will state it. Unless the Letters Patent for a particular grantee specifically stipulates another method of transmission, the default method of transmission is bloodline absolute primogeniture springing solely from the original grantee. That is, the honour and title of Chevalier or Dame will only pass from a current substantive title-holder to the eldest child of the title-holder (or the next in line to the title and honour if there are no living descendants of the current title-holder but there are living collateral descendants elsewhere who spring from the original grantee of the noble title and honour) upon the death of the current title-holder, unless the current title-holder renounces the honour in accordance with Article 54. There may only be one inheritor of the title and honour at any time. The rank within the Order will be retained by transmission. Said another way, a member of the rank of Grand Cross who passes the title and honour to an heir will have the heir also be at the rank of Grand Cross. Likewise, a member of the rank of Commander who passes the title and honour to an heir will have the heir also be at the rank of Commander.

 

Written notice of each transfer of the title and honour should be made to the current Head of the Rwandan Royal House so that good record-keeping is maintained and registration occurs of the new holder of the title and honour. A small registration fee might be necessary to record this transfer. However, title passage will occur without the need for official blessing by a future Head of the Rwandan Royal House. For example, if a title holder dies, his heir according to either the individualized Letters Patent or this document immediately becomes the next holder of the title and honour. This ensures the smooth and immediate transmission of the title and honour. But notification to the Royal House is required after transmission so that proper record keeping can be maintained. If more than 100 years passes after a legitimate transfer of a title and honour and the Royal Rwandan House has not received notification and recorded the transmission, the title and honour becomes extinct and reverts back to the Royal Rwandan House. Only if the Head of the Royal Rwandan House then regrants the title and honour can it be restored after 100 years of lack of registration after it legitimately transfers.

 

In the event that the descendant lines of the original grantee of the noble title and honour all fail – that is, that each line eventually has no bloodline heirs left – the title will become extinct, as all possible heirs have died out. Similarly, the title becomes dormant if no person has claimed the title or no claim has been satisfactorily proven. A period of 100 years of dormancy results in the dissolution of the title with no restoration possible except for an explicit new grant from the Head of the Rwandan Royal House. In the event of a dispute regarding who is the true inheritor of the title and honour, the current Head of the Rwandan Royal House has ultimate jurisdiction as to the rightful holder of the title. Note, for purposes of this document, the word bloodline heir means all issue (descendants), not just the immediate children of the original Chevalier or Dame.

 

In the event that an inheritor of the title and honour resides in a domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence that prohibits the use of titles and honours at the time of receiving the title, or a current Chevalier or Dame moves into such a domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence, the title becomes honorary solely to allow the grantee to not violate the law in the place of residence. However, this honorary state exists and accords the Chevalier or Dame all rights accorded a non-honorary substantive title and honour. Put another way, the honorary title and honour are honorary in name only, but the title and honour still are substantive in the de jure Kingdom of Rwanda. This state of the noble title and honour being honorary will exist until the current Chevalier or Dame moves into another domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence that recognizes titles and honours, the domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence changes its stance on titles and honours, or a new inheritor, residing in another domicile/jurisdiction/state/country of residence has a claim to the title through the previous title-holder dying or renouncing the honour. Under no circumstances is the title and honour of a hereditary Chevalier or Dame considered extinct until all possible heirs to it have died out. A foreign government cannot extinguish this title and honour as the title falls under the legal jurisdiction and protection of the de jure Kingdom of Rwanda.

 

Article 54

 Renunciation of Title

 

The title and honour may be renounced by the current Chevalier or Dame at any time and for any cause. The renunciation must be in writing and witnessed by two individuals not related to the current Chevalier or Dame. Both witnesses should sign and date the renunciation along with the renouncing Chevalier or Dame, and the document should be delivered to the current Head of the Royal House of Rwanda. Upon signing, the title and honour of Chevalier or Dame will pass by the rules of Article 53 as if the renouncing Chevalier or Dame died. Thus, a renunciation of the title and honour does not dissolve it; the title and honour merely passes to the next lawful recipient under Article 53 or the Letters Patent of the original grantee. Per Article 53, only an extinction of the title and honour by the death or renunciation of all bloodline descendants springing from the original grantee, or all eligible recipients outlined in a specific Letters Patent if the specific Letters Patent outlines a different mode of title transmission, can effectively end its existence.

 

Article 55

 Armorial Achievement

 

Heraldry is not a significant part of the historic cultural tradition of Rwanda, but there are some precedents. For example, His Majesty King Kigeli V has a heraldic achievement with a Bantu-style shield. The  coronet  for  a  Chevalier  or  Dame  will  be  an  Or coronet surmounted by eight balls of pearl. The band of the coronet will display white and blue beading similar to the Crown of Rwanda. The heraldic representation for the Chevalier or Dame coronet will be:


 

Grantees and inheritors of the noble title and honour may display their heraldry with a Bantu-style shield or else a heater-style shield, the above coronet, a helm, a torse, mantling or a manteau, and supporters or a combination of these. Recipients of the Order at any rank may, but are not required to, also display the kalinga drum on his or her escutcheon, but the design may not directly mimic the heraldry of His Majesty King Kigeli V or other future Heads of the Royal House. This prevention of mimicking the design of the Head of the Royal House ensures that the armiger is not accidentally mistaken for His Majesty the Mwami. In accordance with the original vision of H.M. King Mutara III, leopard skin may be used as a manteau. Grantees and inheritors also had the right, beginning with H.M. King Mutara III, to decorate their battle shields, and this is akin to a heraldic system.

 

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