Shake that Money Maker: Nelson Mandela Banknotes in Circulation

Written by on December 7, 2012 in Money - No comments | Print this page


It’s been over 18 years since Nelson Mandela was voted in as the first president in post-apartheid South Africa after more than 300 years of white rule. He is known and celebrated around the world for his struggle and triumph and with the new Mandela banknotes having just come into circulation this is perhaps one of the biggest honours that someone can receive.

The new Nelson Mandela banknotes were released into circulation on November 6th 2012 and co-circulate with the current notes, remaining legal tender. Presently the each side of the note features one of South Africa’s Big Five animals with various different images on the reverse side:

Note Obverse Side Reverse Side
R10 Rhinoceros Rams/Cows
R20 Elephants Mining
R50 Lions Refinery
R100 Cape Buffaloes Zebras
R200 Leopard Dish Antennae/Bridge/Mining Equipment

Monetary Commemoration

The Reserve Bank Governor, Gill Marcus, showed excitement at the ability to commemorate possibly the most influential South African in the country’s history in a way that will be reminded citizens everyday as they handle the new banknotes dedicated to Nelson Mandela. Marcus also expressed his gratitude toward all the stakeholders and people who contributed throughout the challenging process.

Protecting the Pennies

A major consideration when conducting a project of this magnitude is that it affects everyone in the country and so it is essential to educate them as to how they will be impacted by this change. The key amendment comes in the form of security features. Some of the new characteristics on the the Mandela banknotes include watermarks, UV light, tilting bars and latent images. The look, feel, tilt approach has once again been employed thanks to some of the latest counterfeit protection technology, including:

  • Watermark – Mandela’s face should appear on the left-hand side
  • Animal – The animal that is on the back of the note should appear within the circle.
  • Micro Text – The denomination numeral on each animal can be seen under a magnifying glass.
  • Raised Printing – The denomination numeral as well as South African Reserve Bank are raised as are lines on the bottom left and right of the front side on the note to accommodate the visually impaired.
  • Hidden Image – On the new banknotes a denomination numeral appears below Mandela’s image when the note is held almost horizontally.

In order to spread the word about the new ways of preventing counterfeiting, the bank commissioned an education and public awareness campaign which included media advertisements on all media channels. Troupes took to the road, conducting public outreach events and even common monetary areas (CMA) were informed of the sophisticated security features on the Mandela banknotes. These included included Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Botswana.

This is a guest post.  Dave Peterson is very experienced in the world of foreign exchange trading, He’s come along way since the days of uninformed investments and now his forex account is looking very favourable. He has handed out plenty of advice for those starting out by acknowledging the mistakes he made early in his career.


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