New coins mark 25 years of democracy

The new R2 coin.

The South African Mint, a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), released a new R2 commemorative circulation coin themed “Freedom of Movement and Residence” and a series of collectable coins as part of its new coin programme commemorating 25 years of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

The SA25 themed “Celebrating South Africa” coin series features five commemorative R2 circulation coins, a commemorative R5 coin and three collectable coins in gold, silver and bronze alloy.

Freedom of movement and residence was heavily restricted by the apartheid government in its pursuit of racist policies.

Designed by artist Rasty Knayles, the right is symbolised by a plane, a bird holding a key, and a minibus taxi on the reverse (tails) of the coin. The obverse (heads) features the national coat of arms together with the date of issue, 2019, and the words “South Africa” written in English and “Afrika-Dzonga” in Xitsonga.

Mr Knayles likens freedom to a bird, a complete embodiment of being free to move around and reside anywhere in the country. The weaver bird is a reflection of an average South African; hardworking, cheerful and respectful to fellow beings. The key symbolises a passport, a prized document which guarantees any person holding it, free and through access across borders and return home, and above all, serves as an infallible South African identity.

The minibus taxi is used by millions of South Africans and the passenger plane highlights economic activity as well as movement.

All the SA25 commemorative circulation coins issued by the SARB and the South African Mint, including the collectable range, use a common typeface created by Garth Walker for the Constitutional Court. The typography as reflected on the commemorative coinage was created in 2003/04 as a unique wayfinding system font for the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Mr Walker is credited for the layout of the R5 coins using the typeface.

At the unveiling, Tumi Tsehlo, the South African Mint managing director, said: “Our struggle for democracy has hardly any parallel, and I can say the same about our Constitution. It is regarded as one of the most progressive in the world guaranteeing rights to all residents. The theme serves to remind all South Africans that we have come a long way.

“In issuing circulation coins in honour of our constitutional democracy, the South African Mint is helping to preserve the memory of all South Africans who collectively fought for freedom for all, even at great personal cost.”

The commemorative coins are introduced in a phased manner and the SARB said the new commemorative circulation coins, like all other circulation coins, are normal circulation coins that are only worth their face value – R2.

The South African Mint also launched special edition collector’s sets which include all the circulation coins, the
R50 silver and the R50 bronze alloy collectable coins. The sets and collectable coins can also be purchased as individual coins from the South African Mint’s retail outlets, listed on the SA25 website,