The South African Mint Company on Thursday launched a limited edition R2 coin to commemorate the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF’s) 50th anniversary.
The coins were struck atop Table Mountain – a first in history, and acknowledged the role that WWF has played in conservation, both locally and globally.
The silver, crown-size coin features WWF’s panda logo together with South Africa’s national bird, the endangered blue crane, which WWF has worked to conserve.
South African Mint representative Natanya van Niekerk explained that in 2011 the South African Mint Company chose conservation as one of its core values.
“As we conserve heritage on our coins, we would also like to contribute towards the conservation of our environmental heritage. We consider it an honour and a privilege to partner with WWF in celebrating their 50th anniversary and contributing to their conservation efforts,” added Van Niekerk.
WWF began in 1961 and the South African office was started in 1968.
“At WWF South Africa we work to inspire and empower all South Africans, from school children and local community leaders to consumers and CEOs, to value, respect and defend the integrity of the natural ecosystems that underpin the sustainable development of our country,” said WWF South Africa CEO Morné du Plessis.
WWF International and the Royal Mint partnered to launch a collection of WWF commemorative silver coins, which will be sold individually and in a coin set in certain countries around the world. Royalties as a result of the sale would be paid to WWF.
The Royal Mint, in turn, commissioned various minting companies in certain countries, including South Africa, to develop a localised silver collector’s coin, which would be included in the international WWF collection and sold locally.
At WWF International’s recent 50th anniversary celebration in Zurich, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the guest of honour, and highlighted the threats of greed and consumerism.
"Our desire to consume everything of value, to extract every precious stone, every drop of oil and every creature from the sea knows no bounds. This quest for profit subverts our present and our future. There are too many people who are getting better and better at exploiting the environmental heritage which belongs to us all. We are not heading for an environmental disaster - we have already created one," said Tutu.
More optimistically, Tutu said he believed humankind could learn to live within its limits. "There is enough for everyone - but not enough for our greed," he said.