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


Introduced on February 14 the year 1961, the South African currency has the symbol “R’ which stands for the Rand. In addition, the South African currency is the medium of exchange in Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa itself. These three countries form the 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.


Transition of Bank Notes

With the introduction of the South African currency in 1961, came bank notes 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 5 rand note and doing away with the 20 rand note. This was also the time that also saw the 1 rand note being replaced by a coin. The transition of the South African bank-note 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 new look bank notes. The same year (2012), the new bank notes were ready for circulation. They came in denominations of: 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 rand.

100-Rand - South African currency - South African Rand

Coins Denomination

At the same time that the bank notes 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 2- rand coin was introduced followed by the introduction of the 5-rand 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 5-rand coin was introduced and security measures put into place to ensure originality.

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 world-wide 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 world-wide recognition for his fight against apartheid. This has brought South Africa to the spot light. 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.

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 to be a country that plays a very critical role in shaping the economy of the African continent.