WATCH: Bring on the One Rand Family

Cape Town – From the One Rand Man to the One Rand Family, South Africa is about to be treated to another month of shiny little coins being carted around by a group of saving guinea pigs.

The One Rand Man shot to fame last July, when he asked for his entire architect job’s salary to be paid out in R1 coins.

A graphic experiment by Sanlam revealed to South Africans how fast our money disappears to consumables that are quite frankly a waste of money.

The South African dream

Like many South African families, the One Rand Family enjoys a happy life, Sanlam explained. “They live in a beautiful home, have good careers and healthy children. They have a close circle of family and friends, a great lifestyle - and big dreams and plans for the future.

There is just one problem: there never seems to be enough money left at the end of the month. Son, Njabulo (18), is an aspiring entrepreneur, and daughter Anaya (3, pictured below) loves nothing more than going to the salon with her mother. That’s Londiwe (36), a town planner, who enjoys spending. Father of the family, Sibusiso (42) is a commodities manager who doesn’t keep count, explained Sanlam.

“To figure out where their hard-earned money goes every month, they’ve made a radical family decision - to get their entire salaries paid to them in R1 coins this July. They’ve locked away their bank cards, deactivated their banking apps and will live only on those coins for National Savings Month."

This unique family experiment is aimed at encouraging South African families to carefully reconsider what they spend their money on and why they spend the way they do - down to the last R1 coin.

Psychology behind money

“Like many families, the One Rand Family is confronted with financial choices every day,” said Sanlam Brand CEO Yegs Ramiah. “We believe their story will resonate with many South Africans and will provide valuable insights into our relationship with money. We want to explore the psychology behind money and understand the real drives of our behaviour.”

Ramiah said the use of plastic, online banking and mobile apps, whilst very convenient, has disconnected South Africans from their hard-earned money. “Because it is so easy to spend – and to spend money we don’t actually have – many South Africans find themselves spiraling rapidly into debt.

"Since our national savings rate is so low, we believe that any insights into our money habits which may lead to increased savings, is well worth promoting.”

Becoming more conscious about money

International human behaviour specialist and author Mavis Mazhura said the experiment by the One Rand Family will make them more consciously aware of their money.

“When you have to carry it about and count it out, the emotional connection is immediate, since you know exactly how much you are actually paying. This makes you reflect and may even frustrate you. It certainly slows you down and you start to realise that your money matters. It is a very elaborate way of thinking twice about what you are doing.”

Financial journalist Maya Fisher-French, an expert who will give advice during the month-long series, said South Africans will identify with the One Rand Family.

“The family dynamics will be interesting. Couples often have very different money personalities, and even the children may have diverging outlooks on money. I think they have underestimated their expenses and do not have a good handle on how they spend their money. I’m going to be very interested to see what their situation will be a week before the end of the month.”

If you want to walk down memory lane, watch the full documentary of the One Rand Man.


The One Rand Family’s story will be captured in four weekly episodes on (Monday to Thursday at 17.25) and web-episodes every Monday, starting on July 6. Visit for more information.

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