Mandela appears on coin for the first time

A special coin minted to mark Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday was launched yesterday. South Africa's central bank said five million of the five rand (33p) coins, featuring a smiling portrait of the former president and anti-apartheid icon, would go into circulation on his birthday – 18 July.

"We want people to touch a bit of Madiba [Mandela], to share the love and leadership as the coin goes around," Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said at a ceremonial minting of one of the coins in Johannesburg yesterday.

The Nobel laureate said he was honoured, then joked: "I am a bit richer this morning and I am not going to associate with poor people any more."

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