Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

South Africa launches banknotes with Mandela image

South African President Jacob Zuma shows a note featuring the country's former president Nelson Mandela.

Story highlights

  • Banknotes featuring a picture of the former president go into circulation
  • The new banknotes will co-exist with the current bills as legal tender
  • Mandela spent 27 years in prison for fighting against racial segregation

When South Africans open their wallets, they will be greeted by images of a smiling Nelson Mandela in various denominations.

This week, the nation launched banknotes featuring a picture of the former president and anti-apartheid icon on the front. The back of the banknotes retains images of the Big Five animals.

Big Five --- lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino and leopard -- refer to the most celebrated animals in African game reserves.

"Our currency is a unique symbol of our nationhood, with many of us handling banknotes every day," said Gill Marcus, the Reserve Bank governor . "The Reserve Bank is proud to be able to honor South Africa's struggle icon and first democratically elected president in this way."

Before the launch, a public awareness campaign helped familiarize citizens with the new bills, Marcus said in a statement.

The banknotes feature a picture of the former president.

Mandela, a Nobel peace laureate, spent 27 years in prison for fighting against racial segregation in South Africa. He became the nation's first black president in 1994, four years after he was freed from prison.

    Though he has not appeared in public for years, he retains popularity for his role in reconciling a country torn apart by apartheid.

    The new 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 rand banknotes will co-exist with the current bills as legal tender.

        CNN Recommends

      • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

        As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
      • Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
      • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

        Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
      • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

        It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.