Taking a closer look at the new banknotes security features.
The main motif of the new banknotes front theme is the portrait of former president Nelson Mandela which is printed on the front of all the banknotes.
Back theme of the banknotes: The Big 5 animals appear on the back of the banknotes, enhancing the family feel. The printed animals have security elements and microstructures on all the denominations, which add security and complexity to the banknotes, while allowing the public to interact with the banknotes. The green R10 hosts the Rhino, the brown R20 hosts the Elephant, the purple R50 hosts the Lion, the blue R100 carries the Cape buffalo while orange R200 boasts the Leopard.
The watermark appears to the left of the image of former president Nelson Mandela. When a banknote is held to the light, a shadow image of the Big 5 animal, unique to each denomination, is seen together with its denomination numeral. The watermark on the upgraded Mandela banknotes have higher levels of tonality than the previous series which makes the watermark striking to the eye.
The denomination numerals found on the front and back of all the denominations are printed in positive and negative text. The differently printed numerals on each denomination aid in identification by visually impaired and partially sighted persons.
The see-through perfect print registration feature appears on the front and back of the banknotes where two parts of an image are perfectly matched. When the banknote is held to the light, the complete featured animal can be seen. The elementary shape of the outer image is unique for each denomination to assist the partially sighted community, as follows: diamond on the R10, rectangle on the R20, circle on the R50, hexagon on the R100 and oval on the R200.
The South African flag is incorporated into the banknotes and is seen between the watermark and the main portrait on the front of the banknote. The flag is also seen on the back of the banknotes behind the denomination numeral.
A unique matching serial number on the back of the banknotes comprising letters and numbers is printed vertically on the left side of the banknote in red and horizontally on the top right side of the banknote in black. Unlike on the previous banknote series, the serial numbers are all printed in the same size.
The letter at the end of the serial number indicates the denomination as follows: A – R10, B – R20, C – R50, D – R100 and E – R200.
The 11 official languages affirm the diverse heritage and cultural identity of South Africa. The languages appear as raised printing and can be felt. English appears on the front of all the banknote denominations. The following languages appear on the back of the banknote denominations: R10 Afrikaans and Siswati, R20 Setswana and isiNdebele, R50 isiXhosa and Tshivenda, R100 Sesotho sa Leboa/ Sepedi and Xitsonga lastly R200 isiZulu and Sesotho.
The preamble to the South African Constitution appears as micro-lettering on the front of the banknote denominations to the left and right of the main motif and around the watermark. The wording is visible in concentric circular lines in decreasing font sizes, and the abbreviation SARB is repeated on similarly curved lines. The different-sized fonts allow the public to examine their banknotes with their naked eye or by means of a magnifying glass.
On the front of the banknote, the South African flag, basket area and the denomination numeral can be seen under a UV light. On the back of the banknote, the see-through perfect print registration, South African flag, basket area and the denomination numeral can be seen under a UV light.
The Coat of Arms, the words South African Reserve Bank, the Governor’s name and signature, the main motif and the denomination numeral are in raised print on the front of all the denominations. A spear crossed with a knobkierie, symbolising defence and authority, can be seen in the Coat of Arms. The powerful legs of the secretary bird laid down in the Coat of Arms represent peace.
Visually impaired features: The tactile marks to support the blind and partially blind communities to identify the banknote denominations are included using the spear symbol in the Coat of Arms. The tactile marks are repeated along the short edge of the R10 and R20 denominations and on the long edge of the R50, R100 and R200 denominations in different patterns. The gaps between the sets of tactile marks are counted to determine the denomination of the banknote. Edge Gaps R10 Short One R20 Short Two R50 Long One R100 Long Two R200 Long Three
The colour-changing ink with a spin circle feature is a bright ring that spins and changes colour as the banknote is tilted. Animal Colour R10 Rhino Green to azure R20 Elephant Gold to jade R50 Lion Magenta to green R100 Cape buffalo Green to magenta R200 Leopard Magenta to green.
The colour change on the security thread matches the colour change of the SPARK® Live Truspin. The abbreviation SARB, the denomination numeral and the Big 5 animal unique to each denomination are visible on the security thread when the banknote is tilted.
The denomination numeral appears as a latent image or hidden image on each banknote. This latent image can be seen by tilting the banknote almost horizontally to your eye. The latent image appears as a shadow image of the denomination numeral to the right of the image of former president Nelson Mandela
The coins have gone through more significant changes.
The new R5 coin, still round, now features the southern right whale, the R2 coin features a springbuck and shifts the borders around for a more diamond shape. The 2023 circulation will be a nickel-plated steel. The R1 coin boasts SA’s official flower, the protea, with a new pentagonal border. The new 50 cent coin remains bronze-plated steel but now with hexagonal border, it carries after a long wait an actual bird, loerie (turaco). The new 20-cent coin plays host to the bitter aloe plant, with its border having dropped from a 9 sides to a 7 sided heptagon and it remains bronze-plated steel. The honeybee has finally made it way family through the smallest coin denomination – the 10-cent with new octagonal border.