The South African Reserve Bank commemorates Mandela’s birthday centenary


Pretoria, 13 July 2018 – 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. 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 launch MC was the renowned poet, storyteller, activist and actress Gcina Mhlophe, and guests were treated to the captivating Afro-Folk songs music by Bongeziwe Mabandla, an Eastern Cape artist whose music was used as backing tracks on both TV and radio adverts. Guests were also able to tour an exhibition by The SA Mint services which also included the new R5 circulation coin.

SARB Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, hosted the event at the historic Freedom Park in Pretoria, which was attended by members of the Mandela family, Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene and other government officials. Also in attendance were members of the country’s cash management industry, representatives from central banks in the Southern African Development Community region, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and other special-interest groups.

Mr Kganyago emphasised the direct link between the work of the SARB and the economic well-being of all South Africans.

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

The app also hosts all the information about the public awareness campaign.

Security features of the banknotes and coin

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

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.

For more information about how you can pledge and pass on our values, please visit

For all media enquiries please email : Twitter: @SAReserveBank Facebook: @SAReserveBank #TheMadibaInMe Link for TV ad:


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