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The new Mandela banknotes have started circulation through South Africa's ATMs and other channels, ahead of the planned July launch.

As announced in February 2018, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) launched commemorative bank notes in honour of what would have been Nelson Mandela's centenary birthday as well as the 28th anniversary of his release from prison. These new notes will cover all denominations – R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 as well as the R5 coin.

In a statement issued earlier this week, the SARB said that the notes were not yet meant to be in circulation, as the launch was scheduled for July.

"As part of the preparations for the launch, test packs of the commemorative banknotes were made available to members of the broader cash industry to allow them to make adequate preparations in relation to issues such as adaptions of cash processing and cash dispensing machines, ticketing machines and so forth," the central bank said.

Instead of the 'big five' animals on the reverse of the note, it shows a younger Mandela with different iconic scenes related to his legacy. Images of the new banknotes can be seen below:

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