The Rand currency was introduced in the then Union of South Africa on 14 February 1961, shortly before the establishment of the Republic on 31 May 1961. The One Rand coin was initially a gold bullion coin equal to the earlier gold half pound, which was itself equal to a British half sovereign (minted, among others, at the Pretoria branch of the Royal Mint - now the South African Mint, until 1932).
Silver One Rand coins started to be issued for regular circulation in 1965 - including some 0.800 silver commemoratives. This was then changed to nickel in 1977, with silver only used for commemorative and collector issues. The commemorative coinage was continued by the sterling silver Protea One Rand series. These coins are made of Sterling Silver (92.5% silver alloyed with 7.5% copper) and are slightly smaller than a half ounce (0.4461 oz ASW, or Absolute Silver Weight).
The coins of the range celebrate various aspects of South Africa's history, culture and nature.
This coin was issued as part of the 2019 Protea - Life of a Legend coin series, which concludes a series of commemorative coins started in 2013.
The South African Mint says about the series:
"The year 2019 celebrates the 25th year of a free and democratic South Africa, and so it is fitting that the legacy left by the first democratically elected President of South Africa is depicted as a conclusion to the series. The Life of a Legend - Nelson Mandela Protea series was introduced in 2013, representing a different chapter of Former South African President, Nelson Mandela’s life on each year’s coin issue.
South Africa’s first democratically elected president served only one term in power from 10 May 1994 to 14 June 1999. He, however, remained active even after his term, seeking peace and social justice in South Africa and around the world. His date of birth, 18 July, was declared ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ by the United Nations in recognition of his contributions to democracy, freedom, peace and human rights around the world.
On this day, everyone in the world is encouraged to harness their ability to have a positive effect on their community and remember and live the values embraced by Nelson Mandela, which include democracy, freedom, equality, diversity, reconciliation, and respect."
Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95 on 5 December 2013.