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The new com­mem­o­ra­tive coin series cel­e­brat­ing for­mer ANC pres­i­dent and anti-apartheid stal­wart Oliver Regi­nald Tambo will in­clude South Africa’s first ever “le­gal ten­der” com­mem­o­ra­tive coin, worth R50.

It can’t be used in shops and it can­not be de­posited in banks, but it is le­gal ten­der in that the SA Mint will al­ways re­deem it for ex­actly R50, the SA Re­serve Bank (Sarb) said in a state­ment.

A to­tal of 50 000 of these coins will be minted.

They will be made of the same base met­als South Africa’s nor­mal small change is made of: cop­per, alu­minium and nickel. They will ac­com­pany a more tra­di­tional series of gold and sil­ver com­mem­o­ra­tive coins.

A to­tal of 100 one-ounce gold coins de­nom­i­nated as “R500” will bear a stylised im­age of Tambo in ex­ile.

An­other 10 000 sil­ver coins, weigh­ing one ounce each, and de­nom­i­nated as “R50”, will show him as a young man.

In ad­di­tion to the col­lectable coins, the SA Mint is re­leas­ing new R5 coins that will en­ter cir­cu­la­tion and bear the “el­e­ments of the Or­der of the Com­pan­ions of OR Tambo”, in­clud­ing a walk­ing stick, ma­jola (mole snake) and a Yin and Yang sym­bol.

The snake and the stick sym­bol­ise friend­ship, sup­port and com­mit­ment, ac­cord­ing to the Sarb.

The Yin and Yang “sug­gests a meet­ing point for di­verse spir­i­tual en­er­gies”.

There will be 800 000 of these coins minted.

The Or­der of Tambo was in­tro­duced in 2002 and is pre­sented to in­ter­na­tional heads of state and em­i­nent peo­ple who have demon­strated friend­ship to South Africa.

It has been awarded posthu­mously to his­tor­i­cal fig­ures like Ma­hatma Gandhi and to more con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures like ex-Fifa boss Sepp Blat­ter and An­gola’s for­mer pres­i­dent José Ed­uardo dos San­tos. –

Rens­burg De­wald van

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