South African Currency Symbol, Converter & Exchange Rate

South Africa is dubbed “the heart of African business”. Over the years, this country has proven it is a fast-growing economy. This can be attributed not only to the many resources the country has to offer but also its strong currency. The South African currency just like the dollar and pound is also a preferred medium of batter. Transparency in South African transactions has greatly boosted this currency. The South African currency which is referred to as the rand in the economic market continues to grow immensely due to its ability to subdue market forces and still retain its quality.

South African Currency: 5 Key Facts You Need to Know

Symbol and Name

Introduced on February 14, 1961, the South African currency has the symbol “R’ which stands for Rand. In addition, the South African currency is the medium of exchange in Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa itself. These three countries form a common monetary area. However, some countries with the likes of Namibia have legalized the South African currency.

Before the rand was made the legal South African currency, the South African pound was the legal tender. This had been introduced by Britain but as soon as the Republic of South Africa came into being, the current South African currency was introduced. The exchange rate at the time of independence was 2rands for 1pound but as the years passed, apartheid caused the South African currency to depreciate.


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The Transition of Bank Notes

With the introduction of the South African currency in 1961, came banknotes of different denominations. The first banknotes were of 1, 2, 10 and 20 rands. Their outlook was similar to the South African pound and bore the portrait of Jan van Riebeeck. In addition, they were printed in English and Afrikaans a trend that continued until 1966 when notes were printed introducing the R5 note and doing away with the R2 note. This was also the time that also saw the R1 note being replaced by a coin.

The transition of the South African banknote continued over the years and most recently a major change occurred when on February 2012 President Jacob Zuma announced that the government would issue out banknotes with new looks. The same year (2012), the new banknotes were ready for circulation. They came in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.

100-Rand - South African currency - South African Rand

Coins Denomination

At the same time that the banknotes were introduced in 1961, so were the coins. These coins came in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. In 1989 the R2 coin was introduced followed by the introduction of the R5 coin in 1994. The 1 and 2 cent coins stopped circulating in 2002 though they are still acceptable to date. In August 2004, the new R5 coin was introduced and security measures put in place to ensure originality.

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Exchange Rates

The South African rand performs exceptionally well both in forex and stock reports. Over the years, the South African currency has continued to stand out and has led to most if not all countries accepting the rand into their markets. This factor has made the South African currency grow steadily a move that has seen its stability against the major currencies. As much as the South African currency has gained worldwide recognition, South Africa’s economy has steadily grown as many investors want to deal with the current rates the South African currency is offering in the international markets.

National Heritage

The South African currency is printed in a way that brings a sense of belonging to the South African nationals. The front side bears the portrait of South Africa’s hero Nelson Mandela who has acquired worldwide recognition for his fight against apartheid. This has brought South Africa into the spotlight. The eleven major languages have also been incorporated in the printing of different denominations. South Africa as a tourist destination has the big five wild animals printed at the back of their various denominations.

See Also: Poverty In South Africa: 5 Painful Facts You Don’t Want To Know


Not only does the South African currency provide a good medium of exchange, it is also a good way of publicizing and making Africa proud. This explains why three countries have decided to use the South African currency as their legal tender. Indeed, it makes South Africa one of the countries that play a very critical role in shaping the economy of the African continent.

According to currency rankings, the most popular South Africa Rand exchange rate is the USD to ZAR rate. To convert other currencies to rand, enter the amount to be converted in the box to the left of the currency and press the “convert” button. To show South African Rand and just one other currency click on any other currency.

Quick Facts about South African Currency 

1. According to Bloomberg currency scoreboard, the Rand was the best performing currency against the US dollar between 2002 and 2005.

2.  The rand is named after an area near Johannesburg called the Rand, which is famous for its gold mines.

Fundamentals Of Converting Pound To Rand Made Easy

3. It is the medium of exchange in three Common Monetary Area countries including Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia.

4. The rand performs exceptionally well both in forex and stock reports.

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Andile Smith
Andile Smith
Andile provides articles on anything from Politics, Sports, History and entertainment to funny, creepy and weird. His passion for writing allows him to take what is ordinary and transform it into a real masterpiece. He's a true storyteller with a passion for tech and literature
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