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Be free to speak says South African Mint's new R2 circulation coin

The South African Mint, a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) released into circulation, the final R2 coin of the series celebrating 25 years of South Africa’s constitutional democracy. Embodying the theme “Freedom of Religion, Beliefs and Opinion” guaranteed by the constitution, the coin is part of the five coin family of R2’s that the SA Mint announced earlier this year.

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

The R2 circulation coins that came before showcased Children’s Rights, Right to Education, Environmental Rights and Freedom of Movement & Residence. A circulation coin with a face value of R5 will be launched later this month.

Designer Peter Mammes says he wanted to depict people, ethnicity, and religion without being specific.

“The idea of using hands came to me whilst looking at images of religious ceremonies. The hands on their own do not convey gender, colour, age or any information that might exclude any group amongst the population of South Africa whilst at the same time conveying a sense of unity, freedom, and virtue-like swearing an oath in court or praying. Hands speak universally to everyone across every creed and religion, even those without religion can relate,” Mammes adds.

The reverse (tails) features raised hands representing the individual person, also a sign many make to express an opinion and wish to be heard. 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.

All the SA25 commemorative circulations coins issued by the SARB and the SA 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 2003/4 as a unique wayfinding system font for the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He is credited for the layout of the R5 coins using the typeface.

While race-based discrimination was the most obvious during Apartheid, religion was a further invidious form of discrimination. Christianity was the dominant religion and was often used by the government to justify its oppressive laws.

At the unveiling, Tumi Tsehlo, SA Mint Managing Director said, “The coins are a great way to honour our constitution which works tirelessly to safeguard and advance our rights. So, every time we get them as part of the change, they need to remind us of our responsibilities.”

South Africans will soon find these coins in their change and can start collecting them in a specially designed collectors’ sleeve. The empty sleeve has place for all the coins in the SA25 range being introduced in a phased manner including the new R5 that will be launched in August.

The commemorative coins will be available at the South African Mint’s retail store in Centurion or at the various mall activations the SA Mint will host throughout the country, details of which will be available on Facebook. You can also follow us on Twitter.

SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago announced the SA25 range of commemorative circulation coins in June as part of commemorating 25 years of SA’s constitutional democracy, together with a series of collectable coins. 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.

“It has been a hugely exciting and rewarding endeavour to work with young minds in developing these themes. Their understanding of democracy speaks to the progressiveness of our constitution hailed as one of the best in the world,” says Tsehlo in conclusion.

The 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 SA Mint’s retail store in Centurion.

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