South Africa’s Picture of Hope

Nelson Mandela will be celebrated in the redesign of the South African rand. The old design, which features iconic African wildlife, will be retired by year's end.

This is outstanding: A society that understands its future — and its “new era of hope” — ultimately hinges not on the planet, but upon the story it tells itself about its own people moving from apartheid to freedom. (Evidently, pictures of big cats and other iconic wildlife were sending the wrong message.)

13 February 2012
As South Africa marks the 22nd anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, President Jacob Zuma has said a complete new series of banknotes will be issued, all bearing the anti-apartheid leader’s image.

“With this humble gesture, we are expressing our deep gratitude, as the South African people, to a life spent in service of the people of this country and in the cause of humanity worldwide,” Mr Zuma said at the central bank offices.

He said Mr Mandela’s release after 27 years in prison for fighting apartheid “marked the beginning of a new era of hope for our country and the world”.

The new notes are expected to appear before the end of the year and will all carry the same likeness of Mr Mandela.

South Africa issues notes in five denominations: 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 rand, which currently carry images of the “big five” game animals.

Read the whole thing here.


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