From Van Riebeeck to Madiba

2012-09-12 00:00

FIRST it was the face of Jan Van Riebeeck, then it was the faces of the Big Five. Now, as announced last week, it’s the face of former president Nelson Mandela. These are the images that have appeared on our bank notes, past, present and future, since the first South African rand banknote was introduced in 1961.

The rand was born on February 14, 1961, its name derived from the Witwatersrand — the ridge of white waters — on which Johannesburg was built and under which South Africa’s richest gold deposits had been found. When South Africa was declared a republic on May 31, 1961, the new currency was retained. It was valued at R2 to the pound, until 1967 when sterling devalued.

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