Arts, Culture & Media

New South African Currency Honors Mandela

Our Geo Quiz is strictly a cash transaction.

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South Africa is introducing brand new banknotes Tuesday.

For the first time, the country is honoring former president Nelson Mandela by putting his picture on the currency.

The governor of the South African Reserve Bank spent some of the new rand notes at a local market Tuesday in the city where the Reserve Bank is headquartered.

Can you name it?

Hint: It's not Johannesburg.

The five new notes each have a familiar image on the reverse side:

One of the "big 5"³, the five iconic wild animals often associated with South Africa's national parks.

So name "the big five" for some extra Geo Quiz credit.

The city of Pretoria is the answer to the Geo Quiz.

It's where South Africa's Reserve Bank is headquartered. The bank's Governor Gill Marcus was among the first to make a purchase with a new Mandela bill. She bought fruit at a local market.

She told reporters that the new rand are way of saying thank you to Nelson Mandela, " He has touched the lives of every South African and has committed himself to a better world, a better South Africa and therefore the tribute to him is one way that all of us can recognize him and given that the extent to which, as a world figure, as a South Africa figure, is something that we can all be very proud of. "

The owner of the market said he was very pleased to be one of the first to pocket a Mandela bill, in this case, a 200 rand bill with Mandela pictured on one side and a leopard on the other. That's about $23.

"We did get the first note in our shop. I feel like a champion to have the first note, and I like the colors and the colors are very wonderful, it suits the South African colors, very hot colors as South Africa is the hot country. I feel grateful and I look for more in future and for more notes as customers bring more. "

Another man who works at the market said of the Mandela bills: "South Africa is changing , the whole world is changing because of Mandela — it is very, very, very nice."

Another nice feature is the security design. The new bills use special ink that shifts color in different light. There's also a hidden water mark image of Mandela. So counterfeiters have their work cut out for them.

The notes also have embossed lines to help visually impaired people find the right bill.

We also reject all counterfeits – the only correct answer to the Geo Quiz is Pretoria.

As for the "Big 5"³ pictured on the flip side of the new bills:

The animals are: the rhino, elephant, lion, water buffalo and leopard.

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    South Africa's new banknotes (Photo: South Africa Reserve Bank)

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    South Africa's new Mandela currency (Photo: South Africa Reserve Bank)

  • SA_BankNote.jpg

    South Africa's new Mandela bills (Photo:South Africa Reserve Bank)

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    South Africa's new Mandela bills (Photo:South Africa Reserve Bank)