The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has upgraded all five denominations of its banknotes and started putting them into circulation on May 4, 2023. The so-called Mandela notes were last redesigned in 2018, and the new notes are similar in their visual design and color scheme. Also like the previous notes, the new notes are printed on a paper substrate and retain the same dimensions. These similarities are intended to make the notes familiar to consumers.

However, according to SARB, some important security updates and modifications have been made, as well as new placement of some elements.  

Changes and additions to the familiar visual design

As in the previous banknotes, Nelson Mandela’s portrait is prominent on the face of all new banknotes, and one of the Big 5 African game animals (lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, African bush elephant, and African buffalo) is depicted on the back of each denomination. However, images of individual animals have been replaced with images of adults and their young. The South African flag motif has also been added to the back of each note. You can see these elements in the images below.

200 Rand Note



100 Rand Note



50 Rand Note

Captions: Front             Back

20 Rand Note



10 Rand Note



 Tactile markings to aid the visually impaired

Like the 2018 notes, the front side of the new notes feature raised (tactile) markings for the visually impaired. However, these diagonal groups of lines have been repositioned to the left and right edges of the 10 and 20 rand denominations and, on all other denominations, to the top and bottom edges.

Upgraded security features

Several cutting-edge security features have been added to the new South African banknotes, in an ongoing effort to fight fraud and counterfeiting. These security features include:

  • A watermark depicting the animal head and numerical denomination.
  • A see-through, perfect print registration.
  • A 4 mm, windowed security strip in the dominant color of the denomination. The strip features the bank acronym (SARB) and the denomination. As the note is tilted, the viewer sees a dynamic color change and movement. The color changes as follows:
    • 10 Rand: green to blue
    • 20 Rand: yellow to jade
    • 50 Rand: pink to green
    • 100 Rand: green to pink
    • 200 Rand: pink to green
  • An element in the form of the animal of a given denomination made with the SPARK® Live TRUSPIN technique. Dynamic color change, the appearance of a circle, colors consistent with the color of the security strip.
  • A hidden image of the face value, revealed at certain viewing angle.
  • Microprinting.
  • Elements visible under UV light.

Banknotes of previous issues that are in circulation remain valid as legal tender.


South African Reserve Bank


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