The South African Mint has released a new R2 commemorative circulation coin, themed ‘Freedom of Movement and Residence’, into circulation as part of its coin programme commemorating 25 years of South Africa’s democracy.
The SA25 coin series, themed ‘Celebrating South Africa’, 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 government during the Apartheid era in its pursuit of racist policies.
When thousands of people gathered in Sharpeville on 21 March 1960 to protest the detested pass laws of the apartheid regime that forced all black South Africans to carry a pass book, the dreaded dompass used as an oppressive tool to control their movement, police shot and killed 69 protesters and many others in different parts of the country. The following week, Nelson Mandela burned his pass in protest of the atrocities at Sharpeville.
Designed by artist Rasty Knayles who is regarded as a pioneer of the local graffiti movement, the right is symbolised by a plane, a bird holding a key, and a minibus taxi on the reverse (tails) side of the coin. The obverse (heads) side features the national coat of arms together with the date of issue, ‘2019’, and the words ‘South Africa’ written in English along with ‘Afrika-Dzonga’ in Xitsonga.
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 access across borders and freedom to return home, and above all, which serves as an infallible South African identity.
The minibus taxi is a form of transport used by millions of South Africans and the passenger plane highlights economic activity in the country as well as movement.
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From getting up in your streets to getting up in your pockets. 25 years ago my folks took my sister and I to Soweto to stand in line with them to vote in South Africa’s first democratic election. It was at the site of the 1976 Soweto student uprising, now a national monument, where, in this cold winter month of June, the black youth took matters into their own hands, giving their lives, to demand the freedom and country that was rightfully theirs. As a white 12 year old boy I could not fathom the atrocities and injustices committed during Apartheid South Africa but the momentousness of that day was very clear to me. I am grateful for this experience and will always remember it. 5 years later I started writing graffiti and fast forward another 20 years I was invited by the South African Mint to submit a design for a new series of R2 & R5 circulation coins to commemorate 25 years of a democratic South Africa. The basic premise of the SA25 coin series was a set of coins based on our Constitution designed by young South African artists. We were assigned various rights highlighted through focus groups held with the youth. I was given Section 21, Freedom of Movement and Residence. I am more than proud to finally announce that my R2 design was chosen and will be going in to production. The series was launched last week and the coins will be released into circulation over the next few months with mine being introduced in July. To have my design on a coin that people will be passing from hand to hand across the country is mind blowing for me personally and a real privilege for any artist. I could never have imagined that writing my name in the streets as a teenager would eventually lead me to having an impression on my country like this. I am beyond happy and grateful for this honour. A massive thank you to the SA Mint for the unforgettable challenge and opportunity, I feel truly blessed to be a part of this awesome project. Also congratulations to my fellow artists whose designs were also selected. I think the set looks great. To see the other coins and for more information on the #SA25 project check out @southafricanmint and the website www.sa25.co.za. #Rasty
All the SA25 commemorative circulations coins issued by the South African Reserve Bank (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. Garth Walker is credited for the layout of the R5 coins using his typeface.
At the unveiling of the SA25 series coins, 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.”
Tsehlo adds, “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 costs.”
The commemorative coins are introduced in phases, with the coin themed ‘Freedom of Movement and Residence’ being the fourth in the series – this will be followed by the final R2 which goes by the theme ‘Freedom of Religion, Beliefs and Opinion’ in August, together with the new R5 coin.
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The 8-piece box set includes the entire Commemorating 25 Years of Constitutional Democracy proof-quality circulation coin collection, as well as the R50 bronze alloy: We The People coin and the R50 Sterling-Silver: 25 Years Of Constitutional Democracy coin. Order yours today from the link in our bio. #SA25 #25YearsOfDemocracy #SouthAfrica #Coins #SAMint
A special collector’s folder has been created for coin enthusiasts and can be collected at no cost from the South African Mint’s retail store in Centurion, as well as the various other outlets mentioned on the SA25 website.
South Africans have been encouraged to find, collect and keep these special SA25 circulation coins released over the past few months.
The SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago announced the SA25 range of commemorative circulation coins last month as part of the celebrations to mark 25 years of SA’s constitutional democracy. The SARB would like to reiterate that the new commemorative circulation coins, like all other circulation coins, are ‘normal’ circulation coins that are only worth their face value – R2. The SARB issues commemorative circulation coins as part of its currency production function.
The South African Mint also launched special edition collector’s sets which include all the circulations 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: www.sa25.co.za.
Picture: SA Mint/Instagram