Mandela Centenary Celebrations: New Madiba Banknotes and Ramaphosa’s Address

As the commemoration to mark the 28th anniversary of the release from prison of Former President Nelson Mandela continued on Sunday, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has announced that it will issue a set of commemorative banknotes to honour the former statesman’s centenary.

Mandela would have turned 100 years this year. Events have been planned to celebrate his centenary.

“These notes will cover all denominations – R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200” the bank said on Sunday.

In addition, the South African Mint, a subsidiary of the SARB, will issue a new R5 circulation coin celebrating Mandela’s birth centenary.

The SARB expects the commemorative banknotes and coins to be introduced into circulation from 18 July, what would have been Mandela’s 100th birthday.

The central bank’s announcement comes as South Africa and the world today mark 28 years since the global icon was released from the Victor Verster prison on 11 February 1990.

Addressing the crowds gathered in Cape Town for the launch of  in Cape Town, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “As we gather here to commemorate that pivotal moment in the life of our nation, let us affirm our determination as a people to realise the vision to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.

“Let us work with even greater purpose to unite our people – African, coloured, Indian and white – to build a new nation in which all have equal rights and opportunities.

“Let us find a way to work together to build a nation in which all our people have jobs, food, good education, good health and security.

“We need to build a country in which all may share in the wealth of our country.”

He also sent special wishes to Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who, like Madiba, once lived in Vilakazi Street in Soweto and who has now become a resident of Cape Town.

“There are few people who better embody the spirit of defiance and desire for justice that have characterised the struggles of this city than its adopted son, Desmond Mpilo Tutu.

“Now, as the city of Cape Town and the province of the Western Cape confront a devastating water crisis, we are once again called upon to unite in a common struggle against a formidable enemy.”

Referring to the future of President Jacob Zuma, Ramaposa said it is “Madiba’s example that should inform our approach to the tasks that we must undertake.

“As the leadership of the African National Congress, we are currently engaged in discussions around the transition to a new administration and specifically to resolve the issues of the position of the President of the Republic.

“The successful resolution of this matter has significant consequences for the country and for the African National Congress.

“It is therefore important that we manage the discussions that are currently underway with care and purpose, ensuring that we place the interests of South Africa first.

“It is the interests of you, our people, that must be put first, and not the interests of anyone else.

“The NEC will be meeting tomorrow to discuss this very matter and because our people want this matter to be finalised, the NEC will be doing precisely that.

“We know that this matter to be finalised, we know you want closure.

“For Madiba, the unity of all South Africans was paramount.

“For him, a necessary condition for the unity of the South African people was the unity of the African National Congress…”