"In 1880 it was decided that this 1853 medal should be awarded to all personnel—Colonial volunteers and native levies as well as British regular forces—who had served in any of the campaigns in South Africa between September 1877 and December 1879, namely the Gaika–Galeka War, the Northern Border War, the 1st and 2nd Sekukuni Wars, the Moirosi's Mountain campaign in Basutoland, and the Anglo-Zulu War. A medal bar or clasp was to be attached to the suspender of the medal bearing the date or dates of the year or years in which the recipient had actually served in any of those campaigns. Any members of the military who had been mobilized in Natal but who had not crossed the Tugela River into Zululand, were to receive the medal without a bar. This included Naval shore parties.
Army Order No 103 of August 1880, which instituted the new South Africa Medal, made no mention of any change in design of the 1853 medal. However, the date '1853' was replaced in the medal's reverse exergue by a military trophy consisting of a Zulu ox-hide shield and four crossed assegais.
Participants in the Anglo-Zulu War received this medal without a bar if they remained on the Natal side of the Tugela River, or with the bar '1879' if they actually saw service in Zululand. Particularly sought after are medals awarded to members of the 24th Regiment of Foot involved in action at Rorke's Drift or Isandlhwana in January 1879"