Full Detailed History of the Rand

About the South African Rand

The South African rand (sign: R; code: ZAR) is the currency of South Africa. The rand is subdivided into 100 cents (sign: “c”). The ISO 4217 code is ZAR, from Dutch Zuid-Afrikaanse Rand (South African rand). The rand is legal tender in the Common Monetary Area between South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Namibia, although the latter three countries do have their own currencies.

Historical users of the South African rand included South West Africa and the nominally independent Bantustans under the apartheid system: Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Venda.

How did the Currency came to be called Rand?

The rand takes its name from the Witwatersrand (literally “white waters’ ridge” in English), the ridge upon which Johannesburg is built and where most of South Africa’s gold deposits were found.

Exchange Rate History of the Rand to Dollar (1975 – 2000)

A rand was worth US$1.40 from the time of its inception in 1961 until late in 1971. Its value thereafter fluctuated as various exchange rate dispensations were implemented by the South African authorities. By the early 1980s high inflation and mounting political pressure combined with sanctions placed against the country due to apartheid started to erode its value.

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