PRETORIA South Africa launched a new line of bank notes on Saturday bearing the image of its first democratically-elected president Nelson Mandela on the 22nd anniversary of his release from prison.
The announcement pays tribute to the legacy of a Nobel Peace Prize winner known as one of the worlds greatest statesmen.
But it will likely be met with some derision when markets re-open today after officials billing of the secretive unveiling as an announcement of national importance sent the rand and stock markets on a downward spike last Friday.
It is my honour and pleasure to announce that new South African bank notes will bear the image of President Mandela, the first president of a free, democratic South Africa, President Jacob Zuma told a Press conference in Pretoria.
The notes bear the 93-year-old former presidents image circa 1990, the year he was freed from prison in a moment that came to symbolise the fall of apartheid and the rise of a new, democratic South Africa.
They replace a design featuring the big five safari animals Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino introduced in 1992, two years before Mandela was elected the countrys first black president.
All five notes 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 rand ($1,29-$25,80, 0,98 and 19,60 euros) will now bear Mandelas face on the front. Officials would not say what design would be on the back.
Zuma praised the former presidents legacy, calling him Madiba, the clan name by which he is affectionately known.