Reserve Bank officially launches new Mandela notes, coins and an app

For the first time in the nearly 100-year history of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), a series of commemorative banknotes is being issued.

The launch will include a Mandela Day lecture by former US president Barack Obama next week.

The South African Reserve Bank said the notes depict Mandela’s life including his upbringing in rural Eastern Cape as the son of a chief, his 27-year incarceration and the end of apartheid in 1994 when he became president.

“These banknotes, as well as a third commemorative R5 circulation coin, were officially launched today in honour of the birth centenary of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela,” the SARB said in a statement on Friday (13 July).

“A mobile app – as a platform to create greater public awareness of the security, technical and design features of banknotes – was also unveiled, and is now is available on both the Apple iStore and the Google
Play Store.”

It added that an extensive public awareness campaign under the banner #TheMadibaInMe is underway to support the launch of these banknotes and coin.

“It acknowledges that Mandela’s values live within all South Africans and encourages people to pass on the values of service and respect during the moment of money exchange,” the SARB said.

Security features of the banknotes and coin

According to the SARB, the  banknotes and coin are among the most secure in the world.

The security features embedded in South Africa’s banknotes and coin represent the most innovative advances in global design and technology, with several noticeable security features, including:

  • the ability to feel the raised lines on the front-bottom left and right-hand side of the banknote;
  • two matching numbers on the back of the note;
  • raised printing on Mandela’s face on the front of the note;
  • a series of ‘little dots’ on the front left and back right of the notes;
  • the shiny security thread down the centre of the note that should change colour when viewing it from a different angle; and
  •  a ‘complete animal’ on the bottom left of the note when holding it towards a light source.

“When it comes to the commemorative R5 circulation coin, the ‘1918’ on the face of the coin should change to ‘2018’ when viewing it at an angle,” the SARB said.

“The second security feature is to check whether you can see ‘SARB’ and ‘R5’ inscribed on the outer edge of the coin.”


Read: Here’s how to tell if your new Mandela bank note or coin is a fake

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