13 February 2012

Madiba to feature on South African bank notes

On Saturday 11 February, President Jacob Zuma announced that new South African bank notes will feature the face of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela's famous smile. Nelson Mandela's famous smile.

Today, on behalf of government and the people of South Africa, it is my honour and pleasure to announce that new South African bank notes will bear the image of President Mandela, the first president of a free, democratic South Africa. - President Jacob Zuma

Feel like a million Mandelas? Show me the Madiba? The jokes ran thick and fast on social media networks soon after the announcement that Nelson Mandela will feature on new South African bank notes.

President Jacob Zuma announced the news at a media gathering on Saturday 11 February 2012, the 22nd anniversary of Mandela’s release from prison.

'Today, on behalf of government and the people of South Africa, it is my honour and pleasure to announce that new South African bank notes will bear the image of President Mandela, the first president of a free, democratic South Africa,' said Zuma.

The announcement was made at the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria and was attended by international and local media as well as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus. A fitting tribute to Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in jail and went on to become the first President of South Africa's new democracy in 1994.

Zuma praised the former statesman, saying: 'We are happy to make this announcement on the anniversary date of his release from prison, which marked the beginning of a new era of hope for our country and the world.'

Governor of the Reserve Bank, Gill Marcus, said that the new bank notes would be officially introduced before the end of 2012. She said that the new Mandela bank notes would have improved security traits as well as improved features for the visually impaired.

The existing notes that feature the Big 5 – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino – have been in circulation since 1992 and will continue to remain legal tender.