No pennies, but a pendant for your thoughts.


"So don't pass by that penny when you're feeling blue. It may be a penny from heaven that an angel's tossed to you."

During the Second Anglo-Boer War (South African War) of 1899 - 1902, one of the English's most effective methods of demoralizing the Boer-forces was to remove the Boer women and children from their farms to be placed in concentration camps, after which proceeding to burn the farms to cinders.

These women, despite their circumstances, had quite a reputation of being strong warriors in their own right. It is said that each camp had taken a survival theme from the Bible to act as an unfaltering source of hope and encouragement. Matthew 10: 29 - 31 was the theme of the Bethulie camp in the Orange Free State: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Following the war, Mrs Marais, an inspirational woman in Bethulie camp, spoke to Mrs Steyn, the wife of the president of the Boer Republic of the Orange Free State, in a request to get the emblem of the sparrow (also known as the mossie) onto the lowest coin. This would express their gratitude towards God for surviving the war and to remind the men and women of South Africa of their true worth in His eyes.

In 1923 the quarter penny came out with the emblem of two sparrows perched and looking at each other. As far as is known, this made South Africa the only country in the world to symbolise a Bible verse on one of its coins. Though the coin was minted anew through the years with varying designs, the mossies and their meaning would still not falter, reminiscent of Bethulie concentration camp. But as the minting of 1c coins ceased in 2002, the story behind the mossie has become the sole remnant of the Boer-women of Bethulie camp.

Stofpad's Africa pendants salute these women and tell a beautiful story about human worth that came out of the ugliness of war.

-Mathilda Steyn-


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