Former South African President Nelson Mandela is now the smiling face of the country’s freshly minted banknotes.

The 94-year-old is the first black person to be featured. His face will appear on all notes issued from Tuesday.

The Governor of the South African Reserve Bank Gill Marcus was one of the first to use the new look
currency at a store in Pretoria.

“I like it, I like the colours, its hot colours, it feels like South Africa colours. I mean it’s very hot, bright colours,” said the shopkeeper after putting the new notes in his till.

Another customer was also delighted to see the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s face on the notes: “We like it, we like it because Mandela carried us and taught us a lot of things. We like Mandela, we are happy to have this money.”

South African President Jacob Zuma said the banknotes were a way for the country to express its “deep gratitude”.

Mandela became the first black president in 1994 after serving 27 years in jail for his opposition to white-minority rule.