The South African Mint Company (SA Mint) on Wednesday unveiled a new R5 general circulation coin, as well as a series of collectible coins, under the theme ‘freedom, democracy and culture’ to commemorate the birth centenary of late struggle stalwart Oliver Reginald Tambo.
Showcasing the new coins at the OR Tambo Cultural Precinct, in Wattville, Gauteng, SA Mint MD Tumi Tsehlo explained that the first of the new R5 coins officially entered into circulation on October 1 as ordinary legal tender, with the collectable coins becoming available from the SA Mint and authorised dealers from October 27 – Tambo’s one-hundredth birthday.
Tsehlo told attendees at the launch that SA Mint aims to preserve South Africa’s heritage and pride through the coins it mints and that, in the centenary year of Tambo’s birth, it was a “very special and real honour” to be launching a brand new series of commemorative coins to celebrate his life.
He added that few South Africans embody a strong nation-building narrative more than Tambo, particularly as the country’s constitution had Tambo’s “fingerprints all over it”.
“OR is truly the father of our constitution,” he said.
“From the time he was unanimously elected as chairperson of the students committee of his residence at the University of Fort Hare to his death in 1993, Tambo’s life was exemplary in his integrity, his commitment, activism and extraordinary courage.”
Tsehlo said that it was fitting that the SA Mint honours “this true South African” by producing mint in both a circulation coin and a series of collectable coins created under the theme of ‘freedom, democracy and culture’.
Also speaking at the event, Tambo Foundation chairperson Dr Frene Ginwala noted that the country owed Tambo “a great deal”.
“Yes, he liberated our country but, most importantly, he pressed upon us, just as I hope now the SA Mint is going to press upon the new coins, the values of democracy, of humanity and the other values that are now in our constitution,” she said.
The new general circulation coins will feature elements of the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo, instituted in 2002 to honour international Heads of State and eminent people for their friendship to South Africa.
The coin depicts the national coat of arms, year of issue 2017, and South Africa, written in both English and Xitsonga, while the rear features a neck badge and walking stick.
SA Mint also revealed the three collectible coins – a single-ounce pure-gold R500 proof coin, a single-ounce sterling-silver R50 proof coin and a base-metal R50 non-circulating legal tender coin.
To watch a video in which SA Mint MD Tumi Tsehlo showcases the latest R5 coins to go into circulation to honour struggle stalwart Oliver Reginald Tambo on his birth centenary, scan the barcode with your phone's QR reader, or go to Video Reports on www.engineeringnews.co.za