A nation pays its dues to Nelson Mandela


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The Independent Online

As South Africa marks the 22nd anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison, President Jacob Zuma has said a complete new series of banknotes will be issued, all bearing the anti-apartheid leader's image.

"With this humble gesture, we are expressing our deep gratitude, as the South African people, to a life spent in service of the people of this country and in the cause of humanity worldwide," Mr Zuma said at the central bank offices.

He said Mr Mandela's release after 27 years in prison for fighting apartheid "marked the beginning of a new era of hope for our country and the world".

The new notes are expected to appear before the end of the year and will all carry the same likeness of Mr Mandela.

South Africa issues notes in five denominations: 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 rand, which currently carry images of the "big five" game animals.

Mr Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, became South Africa's first black president in 1994.

Now 93, he has retired from public life.