To celebrate twenty-five years of constitutional democracy, the South African Mint unveiled a new series of collectable coins. SA25 – Celebrating South Africa, introduces into circulation five new R2 coins and a new R5 coin that commemorate the rights and freedoms enshrined in the South African Constitution
The artists with the coins they designed at the media launch of the SA25 – Celebrating South Africa (left – right), Lady Skollie, Maaike Bakker, Neo Mahlangu, Peter Mammes, Shaun Gaylard. All images courtesy of the South African Mint.
Tumi Tsehlo, the Managing Director of the South African Mint, declared that the coins in the series are the most democratic thematically, saying, “The design ideas come from those born in a free South Africa in response to what freedom meant to them. We worked with many young and talented artists to bring to life their vivid imagery of a constitutional democracy.”
The artists he refers to are – Johannesburg-based fine artist, Neo Mahlangu, artist-activist, Lady Skollie, Pretoria-based artist, Maaike Bakker, local graffiti pioneer, Rasty Knayles, painter, Peter Mammes, architect, Shaun Gaylard, who did not create a circulation coin but the R500 pure-gold mint that honours the Constitutional Court, as well as, Garth Walker, who created the typeface used.
The obverse, or heads, of each coin, is engraved with the national coat of arms along with the date of issue – ‘2019’ – and the words ‘South Africa’ written in English and Afrika-Dzonga in Xitsonga. The reverse (tails) of the R2 coins depict five different rights in the Bill of Rights, while the R5 coin pays homage to our first democratic election in 1994.
Neo Mahlangu contributed two R2 coins – Children’s Rights and Right to Education – to the series. For the children’s currency, the artist sought a design that could capture the innocence of childhood, while evoking memories that serve to remind us to protect and nurture the future of the country, saying, “Nothing says children more than their unbridled joy of things, and in designing the theme for Children’s Rights, I wanted to capture that innocence and wonder. I see the coin as a celebration of all things children.”
The R5 coin, Let us Live and Strive for Freedom – embellished with a ballot box and a long winding line of people waiting to vote – is inspired by the serpentine qualities of the 1994 Election Day queue that stretched into the distance. The designer, Lady Skollie, who also created the R50 sterling-silver collectable mint, modelled the coin on indigenous rock paintings and the concept of waiting for a better tomorrow.
Maaike Bakker’s creation – Environmental Rights – symbolises a well-balanced, protected environment that is not harmful to the wellbeing of those inhabiting it. The R2 coin represents the environment with illustrations of water and fish, land with plants and the sky with clouds and the sun.
Right to Movement and Residence depicts a bird holding a key, a plane and a minibus taxi. Rasty Knayles, the creator of the R2 coin, likens freedom to a bird, a complete embodiment of being free to move around and reside anywhere one chooses in the country. The weaver bird represents the average South African – hardworking, cheerful and respectful – while the taxi, used by millions of citizens, and the plane highlight economic activity and movement.
Peter Mammes created the final R2 circulation coin – Freedom of Religion, Belief and Opinion – as well as the R50 bronze alloy coin. The theme of the bronze alloy coin is ‘We the people of South Africa’ – these words, which are the preamble of the Constitution of South Africa are represented by two joined hands that symbolise people, ethnicity, religion and togetherness.
The South African Mint introduced the coins in a phased manner – releasing two coins per month starting with the Children’s Rights and Right to Education R2 coins. South Africans are encouraged to find, collect and keep these unique SA25 circulation coins in a specially designed collectors’ folder produced to hold all six coins. This folder can be obtained, free, from the Mint’s retail store in Centurion as well as the various other outlets mentioned on the SA25 website.
Single Gold Coin’ SA25 commemorative coin sets. Limited Edition of 125 sets. Includes: 1 x R500 24ct Gold Proof Coin. ‘9-Coin set’ SA25 commemorative coin set. Limited Edition of 225 sets. Includes: 1 x R500 24ct Gold Proof Coin, 1 x R50 Sterling-Silver Proof Coin, 1 x R50 Bronze Alloy Proof Coin, 1 x R5 Circulation Proof-Quality Coin, 5 x R2 Circulation Proof-quality Coin. ‘8-Coin set’ SA25 commemorative coin sets. Limited Edition of 2250 sets. Includes: 1 x R50 Sterling-Silver Proof Coin, 1 x R50 Bronze Alloy Proof Coin, 1 x R5 Circulation Proof-Quality Coin, 5 x R2 Circulation Proof-quality Coin.