Five Rand (R5)

The Black Wildebeest or Gnu, is portrayed on the reverse of the R5 coin. They are found in the northern grassveld regions of the Cape Province, throughout the Orange Free State to KwaZulu-Natal and the southern regions of Gauteng. Wildebeest hides were at one stage an important commodity in Kwa-Zulu-Natal.Although South Africa's first decimal coin series was released in 1961, no R5 coins were minted until 1994. In that year, two R5 coins were issued: the reverse of the first commemorated the Presidential Inauguration and that of the second depicted the Gnu (Black Wildebeest). Since 1996, South Africa's 11 official languages have been acknowledged annually, in rotation, through the representation of the word "South Africa" in one of the official languages on the obverse of the R5 coin. For the coin collector, the year 2000 is an interesting one, because the R5 coin appeared with three different obverses. At the outset of the year, the "old" coat of arms was depicted and later in the same year the new coat of arms was introduced. During the same year, a special R5 coin was minted, depicting outgoing President, Nelson Mandela. The reverse of these three R5 coins depicted the Black Wildebeest. However, a very limited edition of mint-marked R5 coins, depicting the old coat of arms, was struck on "Oom Paul", one of the world's oldest working coin presses, which is situated in the South African Mint's retail outlet, Coin World. Upon instruction from the South African Reserve Bank, a unique R5 was designed to prevent counterfeiting of the coin and on 1 August 2004, South Africa's first bi-metal coin was introduced. This coin has many built-in security features and has a "yellow" centre with an outer "white" ring. A new era in South African coinage has begun with the R5 coin.



 Diameter (mm)

 Mass (g)





 Obverse/ Reverse

  R5 (old) wildebeest



 Nickle-plated copper

 AL Sutherland

 AL Sutherland

R5 (new) wildebeest




 AL Sutherland

  AL Sutherland

Language rotation

2002 - isiNdebele/ Tshivenda
2003 - Tshivenda/ siSwati
2004 - siSwati/ Xitsonga
2005 -
Xitsong/ English
2006 - English/ Setswana
2007 - Setswana/
2008 -
Sepedi/Sesotho/ Afrikaans
2009 - Afrikaans/ isiXhosa
2010 - isiXhosa/ isiZulu
2011 - isiZulu/ isiNdebele

Note: The "old" R5 is still a legal tender coin

2011 © The South African Mint Company
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