Launch of commemorative coins to mark 25 years of constitutional democracy in South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa – 5 June 2019: The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the South African Mint, a wholly owned subsidiary of the SARB, today announced the release of a series of six new commemorative circulation coins as part of its ‘SA25 – Celebrating South Africa’ coin series at Constitution Hill, the seat of the country’s highest court. The new circulation coins, together with a range of collectable coins launched last month, commemorate 25 years of democracy in South Africa.

Governor Lesetja Kganyago unveiled the designs of the new circulation coins, which include five new R2 coins and a new R5 coin. These coins will be released over the next few months.

The coins mark the first time that members of the public participated in developing the themes for the coins. ‘Born frees’ (those born in a democratic South Africa) were invited to provide their views on democracy, freedom and culture. Their perspectives, many of which are aligned to the rights enshrined in the Constitution, influenced the design concepts. These concepts were considered by a panel of experts in finalising the designs.

The outcome of this work was the introduction of five new R2 circulation coins, depicting five different rights in the Bill of Rights, as well as a new R5 circulation coin featuring the design of a ballot box and a long queue reminiscent of South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994.

The six new commemorative circulation coins are:

  • R2 ‘Children’s Rights’ by Neo Mahlangu;
  • R2 ‘Right to Education’ by Neo Mahlangu;
  • R2 ‘Environmental Rights’ by Maaike Bakker;
  • R2 ‘Right to Movement and Residence’ by Rasty Knayles;
  • R2 ‘Freedom of Religion, Belief and Opinion’ by Peter Mammes; and
  • R5 ‘Let us Live and Strive for Freedom’ by Lady Skollie.

The new commemorative circulation coins celebrating South Africa’s constitutional democracy form part of all the other coins already in circulation and are all worth their face value. The SARB issues commemorative circulation coins as part of its currency production function.


South Africa’s 25 young years as a constitutional democracy is the subject of the South African Mint’s ‘SA25 – Celebrating South Africa’ coin series, which commemorate the rights and freedoms espoused by South Africa’s Constitution. To commemorate this milestone, the SA Mint had issued new collectable coins in base metal, sterling-silver and pure gold.
The new coin series is the South African Mint’s most democratic coin thematically. The design ideas come from the born frees in response to what freedom meant to them and brought to life by SA’s emerging young and talented artists.

The highest court in South Africa, born of the country’s first democratic Constitution in 1994, features prominently on the reverse of the R500 pure-gold coin. This coin depicts the building that houses the Constitutional Court, including the detail of the beautiful door which has the 27 constitutional rights engraved in its wood, as well as the popular skyline of Johannesburg in the background. Designed by architect Shaun Gaylard, the reverse is inspired by the interaction between the building, its inhabitants and its visitors.

The reverse of the R50 sterling-silver collectable coin features the constitutional democracy in action, symbolised by people queuing to vote as they did on 27 April 1994 in the first democratic elections in South Africa. The snake-like qualities of the queue of people running into the distance was the primary motivation for the design by Lady Skollie (Laura Windvogel) who drew inspiration from khoisan rock paintings and the element of waiting for a better tomorrow (in a queue).
‘We the people of South Africa’ is the theme for the R50 bronze alloy coin, and these words feature prominently on the reverse of the coin by artist Peter Mammes. The line is the preamble of the Constitution of South Africa. The two joined hands symbolising togetherness also represent people, ethnicity and religion. The detail in the pattern of the crosses draws attention to the ‘mark’ that voters make on the ballot paper.
Both the R50 sterling-silver and the R50 bronze alloy coins share a common obverse: the national coat of arms together with the date of issue, ‘2019’, and the words ‘South Africa’ written in all of the official languages. The obverse of the R500 gold coin features the national coat of arms together with the date of issue, ‘2019’, and the words ‘South Africa’.

The font that appears on all the coins in this series is similar to the default ‘identity’ of the Constitutional Court and all their communication. Created by Durban-based Garth Walker, the original letter forms accurately, within reason, reproduce individual letters and combine prisoner graffiti with prison authority signage to create this unique typeface that visually represented the history of the Court itself. Over time, the font has come to be referred to as ‘the face of a nation’.

All collectable coins can be purchased at the South African Mint’s retail store in Centurion or through the various mall activations that the South African Mint will host throughout the country.


The South African Mint is the continent’s leading manufacturer of legal tender coins as well as commemorative and rare collectible coins. With over 100 years of experience in supplying symbols of value to the African and global markets, we pride ourselves in delivering products that represent our commitment to uniquely African design and supreme craftsmanship. We collaborate closely with our customers to develop distinct and durable monetary products that capture and preserve the heritage and pride of a nation. The South African Mint is a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), which was established in accordance with the SARB Act.

Issued by: South African Mint Sales and Marketing
For further information: Christine Roux (Ms)
Tel: +27 12 677 2688

Interview requests: Usman Aly, Media Director, Magna Carta Reputation Management
Tel: +27 11 7842598 / 083 2298538