Born on July 18, 1918, into the Madiba tribe in the Mvezo village in the Eastern Cape. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African revolutionary who was the country’s first black head of state and the first president. At the young age of 12, Nelson became a ward of Jongintaba Dalindyebo. He is his guardian when his father Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela died. Read along to learn about his legacy left on South African banknotes. 

Nelson Mandela | Source: Britannica / Mirrorpix/Everett Collection

Nelson knew how his ancestors fought during the wars of resistance, making him long for the freedom of his people. That was why during his rule, his government concentrated on terminating the legacy of apartheid which is racial segregation that privileged the white people.  

Image of Mandela Visiting The Prison He Served Time In | Source: Smithsonian

Nelson was arrested and imprisoned multiple times due to his provocative activities, getting himself involved in the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the Congress of the People in 1955. He also participated in the South African Communist Party. He co-founded the uMkhonto we Sizwe and initiated sabotage against the government.  

Statue of Nelson Mandela | Source: AS

Despite having a controversial image and being denounced as a communist terrorist, Nelson Mandela was highly regarded by the South Africans. Many refer to him as Madiba and the Father of the Nation. He is also an internationally icon of democracy and social justice.  

Nelson Mandela on South African Rand Banknotes 

Nelson Mandela’s image has been on the obverse of South African rand banknotes since 2012. First entered into circulation on November 6, 2012. This set of notes is in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Rands. They also feature the Big Five animals on their reverse. This family of notes now includes Omron Rings now on their front and back near the watermark area.  

South Africa 10 Rand Banknote | 2013-2016 ND Nelson Mandela | Source: Banknote World

In time for the commemoration of the president’s 100th birth anniversary, the South African Reserve Bank issued a special commemorative banknote series. They feature a portrait of Mandela on the obverse. The reverse of these notes portrays a younger Mandela. In addition to vignettes relevant to his legacies such as his birthplace in Mvezo, his home in Soweto. Also the site of his capture in Howick, a pile of stones at the Robben Island where he was imprisoned, and his statue at the Union Buildings where he was inaugurated. This Nelson Mandela commemorative series won the Best New Commemorative Banknote Award in 2019. The award is from the High Security Printing EMEA Conference in Malta. 

South Africa 50 Rand Banknote | 2018 | Commemorative Nelson Mandela | Source: Banknote World Educational

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