“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela


South Africa has released currency notes featuring the image of Nelson Mandela, one of the world’s most beloved statesmen. The new Mandela notes, Madiba Bucks, Mandela Rands, or so-called Randelas went into circulation this month. The series comes in demoninations of 200, 100, 50, 20, and 10 Rand notes—the notes’ reverse side remains the same, with pictures of the “Big Five” animals (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo).

 South Africa president Jacob Zuma said the banknotes were “a humble gesture” to express South Africa’s “deep gratitude.” The first person to use the new banknotes was South Africa’s Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus. “She spent 160 rands, about $18 on some nuts, beetroot, a watermelon, and a cucumber at her local shop in the capital, Pretoria,” according to one news report. Said Marcus, “This is our way to pay tribute to him. Madiba does represent something special, not only in South Africa. He is really an extraordinary human being.”

Author Kem Knapp Sawyer tells the story of Madiba, as he is affectionately known, in the biography Champion of Freedom: Nelson Mandela, published by Morgan Reynolds. Ninety-four years old and retired from public life, Mandela spent twenty-seven years in prison for fighting apartheid. At his trial, he famously spoke these words:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

In 1993 Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign against white minority rule in South Africa, and in 1994 he became the country’s first democratically elected president.

Mandela is the first black person to have his image on banknotes in South Africa and only the second individual to be featured. Jan van Riebeeck, the first Dutch administrator of Cape Town and a member of the Dutch East India Company in the seventeenth century, was the first.

Sharon F. Doorasamy

Managing Editor

To learn more about Mandela, check out Champion of Freedom: Nelson Mandela by Kem Knapp Sawyer (ISBN: 978-1-59935-167-4) from your local library.

Published in: on November 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. Reblogged this on The Debating Society Blog.

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