SA Mint honours Madiba

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The South African Mint Company (SA Mint) has honoured Nelson Mandela with the launch of the limited edition Life of a Legend coin set.

The chairman of the South African Mint and Deputy Governor of the SA Reserve Bank, Francois Groepe said: “Nelson Mandela’s contribution to South Africa’s democracy and to the world at large is well known.

“He is our nation’s foremost symbol of reconciliation. Now, the South African Mint proudly honours ‘The Life of a Legend: Nelson Mandela’ with the legal tender Protea coin series.”

Groepe was speaking at the launch held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Centre of Memory in Houghton on Tuesday.

The commemorative Life of a Legend series is part of the Protea coin series and over the next 12 years, a series of coins will be released depicting important scenes from Mandela’s life journey.

These are complemented by quotes taken from his speeches and autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom.

The release of the 2013 coins celebrates the icon’s love of children with an artist’s representation of his Qunu childhood.

Rolihlahla Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in Mvezo, in the Transkei. His father was Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Henry, chief of Mvezo and his mother, Nonqaphi Nosekeni, was the third of the Chief’s four wives.

Mandela’s mother set up her own homestead in Qunu when Mandela was a baby. Images inspired by his boyhood are featured on the reverse of the pure 24 ct gold R25 (1oz) Protea coin, with a quote: “It was in that village near Umtata that I spent the happiest years of my boyhood and whence I trace my earliest memories.”

Images include his beloved stick-fighting and the rural village he so loved.

After the death of his father in 1930, his mother took him to the Great Place in Mqhekezweni to be raised by Jongintaba Dalindyebo, the acting king of the Thembu people.

The arrival of Nelson Mandela and his mother is portrayed on the reverse of the pure silver R1 Protea coin, with the quote: “In that moment of beholding Jongintaba and his court I felt like a sapling pulled root and branch from the earth and flung into the centre of a stream whose strong current I could not resist.”

Depicted on the pure 24 ct gold R5 (1/10oz) Protea coin is the silhouette of a child with a quote taken from the launch of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund on 8 May 1995: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Tumi Tsehlo, Managing Director of the SA Mint, said: “The South African Mint Company is one of the foremost preservers of South Africa’s heritage. Through our coins, South Africa’s stories are told time and time again. By creating this unique series of coins to honour one of Africa’s great fathers, we are paying our respects and venerating a great legacy.”

Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, said: “As the world reflects on his legacy, we give thanks for Madiba’s life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes. We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom. The legacy lives on in all of us and it is our job and responsibility to ensure this.”