Nelson Mandela Centenary Bank Notes: SARB
Nelson Mandela Centenary Bank Notes: SARB
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has issued the release of limited edition banknotes and coins in honour of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, celebrating the liberation icon’s centenary in July 2018.
On Friday, the national bank released 400 million banknotes into circulation. The honorary ‘randelas’ are an ode to the former president’s struggle saga, which ultimately led to the liberation of South Africa and an end to apartheid oppression.
While SARB are proud of the new notes, they have debunked rumours of the new cash being ‘collector’s items’, with Governor Lesetja Kganyago saying:
“If you look at the notes and say ‘how beautiful are they, I don’t want to spend them… I want to keep them’, just remember when you keep these notes they don’t add interest. For you to earn interest on those notes you’d have to put them into a bank.”
Still, the new money issued as part of Madiba’s centenary has captured the imagination of a nation, with each note depicting a historical milestone in the fascinating life of South Africa’s struggle icon.
The R10 note portrays the humble rural hamlet of Madiba’s birthplace, Mvezo. The small Eastern Cape village solidified its place in the history books by being the official hometown of Nelson Mandela.
While Mandela spent most of his childhood in the nearby town of Qunu, a time he describes as the “happiest moments of his childhood”, the honour bestowed upon Mvezo is commemorated by the Madiba Birthplace Museum.
Mandela grew up in Qunu after his father was ousted as the chief of Mvezo.
Nelson Mandela moved into his Soweto home in 1946. The R20 note depicts the humble home at 8115 Orlando West, on the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane Streets.
The story of Mandela’s Soweto home is bittersweet; following his marriage to Winnie Madikizela, the struggle leader was in constant state of flux, evading the apartheid police and intelligence agencies, while being consumed by his commitment to the liberation struggle.
In those years, Madiba seldom saw the inside of his Soweto home. Mandela returned here for a brief 11 days after his release from Robben Island in 1990.
The house now operates as a museum, honouring the legacy of Madiba, managed by the Soweto Heritage Trust.
The R50 note represents a place of pain in the life of Mandela. While the area is now a site for celebration, featuring a commemorative steel sculpture revealing a portrait of the struggle icon, on 5 August 1962 it became the site of Mandela’s capture.
Mandella was travelling in disguise as the chauffeur of the car he drove and was on the R103 road between Durban and Johannesburg. Apartheid police and intelligence agencies had been on his trail for 17 months, eventually catching up to him on this stretch of road near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal.
Then Nelson Mandela Capture Site is now home to a mammoth steel structure, comprised of 50 steel columns, which reveal a portrait of Madiba when viewed from a certain angle.
Another painful time in the fascinating life of Mandela is depicted on the R100 note; a pile of rocks on Robben Island, where the great liberator was imprisoned from 1964–82.
Mandela spent 18 years on the stark island, working in a lime quarry, busting rocks as part of his forced labour. While on the island, he was permitted one visit and one letter every six months.
While enduring physical and psychological torture at the hands of white warders, at night he persevered with his studies for an LLB degree which he was obtaining from the University of London.
In April 1982, Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai, Cape Town.
The R200 note represents the moment Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994.
The image on the note is that of a bronze statue situated at the Union Buildings, unveiled to close the official 10-day mourning period for the much loved former state president, who died at his Johannesburg home on 5 December 2013.
South African sculptors André Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren were responsible for creating the statue.
According to Prinsloo, the sculptors considered various poses like the Raised Fist Salute, but in the Spirit of Reconciliation, the current open arm pose was suggested.
The SARB’s commemorative gesture also includes a R5 coin depicting a smiling Madiba.
According to EWN, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has insisted South African’s carry the new banknotes with pride, saying:
“Just like Madiba was, bank notes are a country’s ambassador showcasing its culture to the rest of the world just as Madiba was to South Africa. Bank notes are the front or showpiece of our nation.”