The African rand, often also called the South African rand, is the currency of South Africa. Its ISO code is ZAR and the abbreviation is R.
History of the South African currency
The rand has been around since 1961. It replaced the South African pound as the official currency. On June 5, 1973, the exchange rate peaked at $ 1.49992.
Until 1982, a rand was worth more than a US dollar. With an exchange rate of US $ 1 to Rand 13.84, the currency reached its historic low on December 21, 2001.
In the years of 1961-1983 and 1985-1995 a two-part exchange rate system applied. The so-called “Financial Rand” was intended to prevent capital flight abroad and to promote domestic investments. The exchange rate difference was at times more than 60 percent.
In 1961 the first banknotes in denominations of 1, 2, 10 and 20 rand were introduced. The 1978 series started with 2-, 5- and 10-rand banknotes. In 1984 this was expanded to include the 20 and 50 rand notes.
There was only one language variant, which switched between Afrikaans (2-, 10-, and 50-rand grades) and English (5- and 20-rand grades). In 1993, the 2- and 5-rand notes were drawn and replaced by coins. In the following year of 1994, 100 and 200 rand notes were introduced. One and two cent coins have not been minted since 2002.
The design has changed constantly since its introduction in 1961. The first banknotes had a similar appearance to the former pound notes. They carried a picture of Jan van Riebeeck. He was administrator of the East India Company.
The 1978 banknote series saw a major design change; however, this still adorned the motif of van Riebeck. In 1993 the banknotes were revised and printed with the so-called “Big Five”. Another change took place in 2005. Further security features were added; however, the motif remained unchanged.
In November 2012, a new series were launched. Since then, the front of the five notes has been adorned with a portrait of Nelson Mandela, while the reverse still shows the “Big Five”.
Exchange into South African Rand
If you want to exchange into the local currency, you should not exchange in the euro area but directly on site, as the local banks often offer poorer rates at significantly higher fees.