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Coins Of Apartheid's End: 5 Rand (South Africa, 1994)-Article

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

This South African coin represents the 8th denomination coin of the South African Rand (Series 1989). It was issued during closing phase of institutional segregation in South Africa, more commonly known as Apartheid. One notable feature of coins from this era, is the switch to depicting local animals and national symbols. Rather than the previous system of depicting people and images related to colonialism.

The coin is of an usual hybrid smooth/reeded-edged design. It contains 5 alternating smooth and reeded sections, which aid in gripping. The coin is made of nickel-plated copper and weighs a relatively hefty 7g. Its dimensions are 26 mm (1.02 in) wide and 1.8 mm (0.071 in) thick. Making it quite stout and heavy for its overall size.


The observe is robust with a depressed "rounded" square center. At this center is the main art area, is a charging Black Wildebeest. A species of large bull-like antelope, native to southern Africa and introduced to East African nature reserves. Above the Wildebeest is the coin's listed "5 Rand" value.

Notably this coin lacks the 1 Rand's Latin phrase, "Soli Deo Gloria". This phrase translates to "Glory to God alone". It represents one of the Protestant Reformation's "Five Solae", brought to Southern Africa by Dutch colonist. At the lower left corner are the initials "ALS". Representing the observe designer Arthur L. Sutherland.


The reverse features a depressed center similar to the the observe. At its center is the South African Coat of Arms, in its 1910-2000 variant. It depicts a Springbok (right) and a Gemsbok (left), supporting a large shield. Although not entirely legible it features 4 sections, representing colonial South Arica.

The upper left depicts a woman representing "Hope", while lower left features a Orange tree representing the Orange Free State (1910-1994). The upper right features a pair of running Wildebeest, while the lower right features a Trek Wagon.

The final section represents the Vooktrek (1835-1840). In which Dutch colonist discontent with British rule, traveled deep into the Southern African interior. Into what is now the modern western territory of South Africa. While displacing the Northern Ndebele people and placing the colonist in conflict with the related Zulu people.

The area around the South African Coat of Arms, is surrounded by text. The text is bilingual, it reads "South Africa" (left) and repeats in Afrikaans (right). Afrikaans (lit. "African") is the langeage of the Afrikaner people, the descendants of the Dutch colonist.

The coin's mint date (1990) is located below the Coat of Arms. To its left are the initials "ALS", representing Arthur L. Sutherland.

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