The South African Mint, a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank, embarked on a public participatory programme to mark the 25th anniversary of a constitutionally democratic South Africa.
Unlike other projects before it, an innovative approach was adopted in developing the new coins. For the first time in our coin-making history, young South Africans were consulted on their interpretation of democracy and freedom since 1994. With the help of two marketing research companies, the South African Mint conducted focus groups in Tshwane, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and asked a sample of the Born-frees (those born under democracy) to share the symbols that they associated with democracy and their suggested coin art themes. This meant that the new coin themes and ultimate designs could feature elements that resonate with South Africans.
When these were presented to the Theme Panel – a specialist judging committee including representatives from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), DAC, SA Mint, BASA and Arts and Culture Trust – It was clear that most of the themes were in fact closely linked to the Bill of Rights (Chapter Two of the Constitution).
Utilising Facebook, people voted for their favourite themes and the final themes were selected.
The next phase of the project saw the South African Mint Product Development Manager researching the most suitable artists for the project. A list that comprised of graphic designers, illustrators, ceramists, architects and a tattoo artist was compiled. A short list of artists was drawn up, based on level of detail and careful linework in their artistry.
Pursuant to the above, 6 new and unique Commemorative Circulation Coins and 3 new Limited-Edition Collectable Coins were designed to add a new dimension to our national identity and psyche, giving us an opportunity to reflect on our diverse identity as a country.
The country has reached a significant milestone. We have a lot to be grateful for, and we are steadfast in our determination to ensure a better life for all.