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Only one coin was ever minted bearing the image of Cecil John Rhodes - the silver Rhodesian crown, struck in 1953 to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. Although relatively easy to obtain a decade ago, Rhodesian crowns are now increasingly difficult

to find, due possibly to the interest generated by the eight-hour BBC drama series 'Rhodes', which was screened in a number of countries in the late 1990s. On the side of the coin, the following words are inscribed: 'Out of vision came reality.'


In addition to the head of Rhodes, other images appearing on the front of the coin are two individual lions and an African fish-eagle. The inclusion of a fish-eagle is because the eight soapstone birds originally excavated at Great Zimbabwe are - according to the oral traditions of the Lemba tribe who inhabit the Great Zimbabwe area - representations of these birds of prey.

As well as having one of the original Zimbabwe bird statues watching over his bed at Groote Schuur (where it remains today), Rhodes also had this bird totem reproduced on the bannisters and outside walls of his home.

Inkwazi - the Ndebele name for the African fish-eagle. With its 'symbolic' white head, brown body and black wings, it became Rhodes' totem bird. Interestingly, 'Inkwazi' was the name chosen by the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, for his recently purchased (R700-million) private Boeing jet.




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