The new bank notes bearing the image of the first democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela, on Tuesday entered circulation in South Africa.
The South African Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus on Tuesday became the first person to use the new notes in the country as shopping for vegetables and fruits at a green grocer in the administrative capital of Pretoria.
The new notes feature the face of Mandela on the front and the pictures of the Big Five animals (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) on the back, including the denominations of 10 rands, 20 rands, 50 rands, 100 rands and 200 rands.
The governor said Mandela was happy with the new notes. "We are proud to be able to honor South African struggle icon and first democratically-elected president in this way," said she.
"Mandela is really an extraordinary man, and he does represent something special not just in South Africa but in the world," she said. "It is a great day for South Africa."
It was reported by the South African media that the excited residents were keen to experience the new notes in Pretoria following witnessing the governor shopping with the new notes.
She said, "The new note has been in design for 20 years, and everyone is excited about it."
From Tuesday the new notes would be placed in ATMs (automatic teller machines), the governor said.
Given the country to protect the integrity of its currency, the new innovative security measures have been taken to make the new notes difficult to counterfeit by adding a watermark and a rolling bar on the new note.
The new notes remain the same in size compared with the old ones.
The old bank notes that feature the Big Five animals have been in circulation since 1992, and they would be still legal, but will finally be phased out.
The total use of old notes was about 102 billion rands in circulation in December 2011.
"We will have to produce the same amount of new notes to replace the old ones," said the governor.
The new notes will not only be used in South Africa, but in Common Monetary Areas (CMA), namely the southern African countries of Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe as well as globally through foreign exchange. (1 U.S. dollar = 8.7 rands)