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Who Are On South Africa’s Money Of All Time. Photo:

What is South Africa’s currency?

South Africa's national currency is the Rand (ZAR, R). It can be distributed as coins or banknotes and is divided into cents.

The main bank that issues and disburses money in South Africa is the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). In fact, the bank is commemorating its 100th birthday in 2021.

The SARB has supervised the production of coins and banknotes for the rand since its introduction in 1961. There was some shifting of the original rand coins between 1961 and 1989. Over the years, the original banknotes were also reissued several times.

Rand banknotes feature multiple languages

At least one rand banknote in circulation features a feature from each of the eleven national languages of South Africa.

For example, you can find English, Sesotho, and isiZulu on the R 200 note, while the R 10 note has Afrikaans, SiSwati, and English. English, Afrikaans, isiSwati, isiNdebele, Setswana, Tshivenda, isiXhosa, Sepedi, Xitsonga, Sesotho, and isiZulu are among the eleven languages.

Where does the name “Rand” come from?

The South African currency name is derived from the word “Witwatersrand” which was the name of the high escarpment upon which Johannesburg, one of the capital cities, is located.

How South Africa makes world class coins

The creation of the coins' graphics comes first in the manufacturing process. Rough sketches of different ideas are proposed by in-house designers and engravers, who laboriously convert them into three-dimensional drawings that can be engraved onto the coins. This is not a simple task, considering the small size of the artwork on coins and the intricacy of coats of arms, official details, and portraits found on most coins.

The client will select the material once the design has been finalized by the team. Usually made of copper or different types of aluminum, these can also occasionally include exotic alloys with unique properties for security or aesthetic reasons.

From this point on, most of the process is automated thanks to South Africa's cutting-edge facilities. To verify the correct dimensions, blank sheets are fed through precise electronic measuring devices and rollers. They eventually come up with a punch that removes flawless, blank metal circles from the thick strips.

The designs are then loaded onto high-speed presses that receive blank coins. These pound the blanks hard in order to transfer the decals and fine details, like the denominations, different images, political figures, and national symbols. They are now prepared to be distributed across the country.

What color are South Africa’s banknotes and coins?

The coins currently in circulation are divided into series by color:

Red: includes 1 cent, 2 cent, and 5 cent coins. These coins feature birds and are made with a steel core plated with copper alloy;

Yellow: includes 10 cent, 20 cent, and 50 cent coins. These coins feature flowers and are made with a steel core plated with copper and tin;

White: includes 1 rand, 2 rand, and 5 rand coins. These coins feature antelopes and are made with copper core plated with nickel.

What animals are on South African money of all time?

The rand banknotes currently in circulation feature Nelson Mandela on the front and one of the ‘Big Five’ wild animals on the back:

Photo Pinterest
Photo Pinterest

R 10 note – green with a rhinoceros;

R 20 note – brown with an elephant;

R 50 note – red with a lion;

R 100 note – blue with a cape buffalo;

R 200 note – orange with a leopard.

Animals on coins

You can see a variety of plant and animal life on coins if you take a handful out of your pocket.

The black wildebeest is featured on the five rand coin, which is the highest denomination. The national animal of South Africa, the springbok, is depicted on the one rand coin and the kudu on the two rand coin. Along with several other official items in the nation, the springbok is also featured on the Krugerrand. The iconic strelitzia, or bird of paradise, flower, which is native to South Africa, is featured on the 50 cent coin, which is the smallest denomination coin still in widespread use.

The lesser denominations—20, 10, 5, and 1 cent pieces—are no longer widely used, but they still have famous South African natives on them, such as the blue crane, which is the nation's national bird, and the protea and arum lily.

Who are on South African banknotes of all time?

Let’s take a look at the history with lots of changes.

The front face of the banknotes featured the image of Jan van Riebeeck from 1961 to 1991; the initial issues only featured his face. His face was accompanied by a number of additional symbols in later issues, including the union buildings, the protea, vines, the Voortrekker Monument, the Great Trek, and the springbok.

Photo IOL
Photo IOL

The reverse sides featured images of Jan van Riebeeck's sailing ship, the city center of Johannesburg, farming, mining, agriculture, and various animals and plants.

The R1 note, R2, R10, and R20 were the four values that made up the SARB's first banknote collection. An R5 note was added in the second issue, and an R50 note was added in the third.

South Africa has produced five banknotes with four editions since 1992. The first three featured the nation's big five animals on their faces between 1992 and 2011, with the various economic sectors on the other. The notes were first written in African languages in 1994. Before, they could only speak Afrikaans and English.

In this file picture, former Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus holds bank notes bearing the image of former President Nelson Mandela. Picture: AP
In this file picture, former Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus holds bank notes bearing the image of former President Nelson Mandela. Photo AP

New banknotes honoring Nelson Mandela, the country's first democratic president, were introduced by the SARB in 2012. Additionally, 28 years after his release from prison, the notes were made public. The former President was depicted on the note face front, and in contrast to the editions that came before it, the big five animals were on the back of the notes.

Photo Bloomberg
Photo Bloomberg

Later, in 2018, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) issued commemorative notes to mark Mandela's 100th birthday. They pay tribute to his life as well as his involvement in the fight against apartheid. His face is on the front, and images of important locations in his life are shown, including Robben Island, his birthplace, and the scene of his capture at Howick.

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