Money, Money, Money: Rand-ela

Welcome to the new Rand!

Welcome to the new Rand!

A new currency has come to South Africa, the Randela (I will not claim credit for this nickname, though it is clever)! Nelson Mandela’s face now graces the 5 bills of South Africa’s currency. The old Rand is still legal tender, though I think they’ll only make the Randela from now on. SA hasn’t put faces on currency since Apartheid, using the Big 5 safari animals instead. Now worries though, as the Big 5 are still on the back.

Personally, I like the new Rand. It’s more colourful, looks more modern, and it’s great to honor a guy like Mandela. I wish they could have at least used a different pose of Mandela on each bill, but they are all the same, just in different colors.

South Africans seem to hate the new money, saying it looks too colourful and looks fake. I suppose there will be an adjustment period, and eventually people will come to like it.

I’m just happy the safari animals are still there. How else can I give someone a elephant for their birthday?

FYI: Currently there are 8.727 Rand to 1 USD.

Photo Source:

Some of the new and old Rand I happened to have on hand.

Some of the new and old Rand I happened to have on hand.


Staging, Part 1

I arrived in DC for staging last night around 7pm, met up with my friend Jen for dinner, and found my way to the hotel in Georgetown.  So I am officially at staging, and I can finally say my PC journey has begun!

I had two flights yesterday, and they both went smoothly and rather fast-yay!  I tried to change dollars into Rand at the Chicago airport, but the line was too long and I had to find my gate.  So if I can’t change it tomorrow in Reagan or Atlanta, then I guess I’m just going to have to deal with not having any Rand in advance.  It’s not a huge deal, but I’d rather have a bit to take with me.  Oh well!

I’m headed off to breakfast with some fellow PC people soon-COFFEE!!  Then actual staging begins at noon.  We have staging aka orientation this afternoon, shots tomorrow morning, and fly out in the evening.  It’ll be a quick stay in DC and I wish I had more time to see people.


Money, Money, Money

Today’s fact will be about the South African Currency: the Rand.  It’s monetary code is ZAR (which comes from the Dutch translation of South African Rand-I had wondered where the Z came from-now I know).  Hopefully, I will get to use a fair amount of Rand in the next few years. 🙂

To put it simply, the Rand notes are COOL!  They have safari animals, the Big Five, on them.

I personally think that’s some pretty sweet currency.  Anyways, the bills come in 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 notes, and the coins come in 1, 2, and 5 Rand, and 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.  There are 100 cents to every Rand.

The Rand is used primarily in South Africa, but it is used officially or unofficially in Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Nambia.  There is actually a Common Monetary Area between South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho.  A Common Monetary Area is like the EU’s Eurozone-the Rand is legal tender within these three countries, even though it is not the national currency of Lesotho or Swaziland.  This makes sense geographically because Lesotho is completely within South Africa, and Swaziland is bordered on most sides by South Africa.

The exchange rate from USD to ZAR is currently 1 to 6.815.  This means one Rand is about 14 US cents.  If you want to see the exchange rate in real time, look here:

Not gonna lie-I’m still excited to use money with the Big Five safari animals on it.  🙂