The new banknotes from the Reserve Bank in honour of Madiba boast an exciting new feature not yet previously seen on South African currency. File Image: IOL

CAPE TOWN - The new banknotes from the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) that honours Nelson Mandela, boasts an interesting new feature that has not been seen on any South African currency – the notes become alive through augmented reality (AR).
Sarb launched the new banknote series at a media briefing last month.
Madiba’s story jumps off the paper through an AR app. And it’s not just the animation: The AR app is also interactive and lets users play a game in which you race against the clock and build up a score.


The creators of the AR app, Sea Monster, said that they worked very closely with Sarb in creating an app that was both engaging and sincere.

“We worked a lot on the stories from Madiba’s life that inspired the themes and designs for the app,” Sea Monster CEO Glenn Gillis said in a statement.

"One of the biggest challenges was the fact that money - the actual notes - aren't always flat and clean which is ideal for AR. Bank notes are handled by many people, they get shoved in pockets or into the bottom of bags, so that by the time they're used they can often be a crumpled mess. We wanted to create an app that would still work within those parameters and didn't just require a pristine banknote," said Gillis. 

Lebo Lekoma, head of client services told Business Report that they were overjoyed to be in partnership with the reserve bank. 

Lekoma said that the main mandate from the Sarb was to educate South Africans on the technical and security aspects of the new notes and make it interactive. 

Sea Monster believe that not only do you learn about Madiba’s life story through the app, you can also learn about the technical aspects of the new design.

The app is also aimed at educating users about identifying counterfeit notes.

"We saw augmented reality as the best way to do this and to further push the boundaries of new technology. We wanted to push the bounds and be a world first. We wanted to show Madiba's life and journey in a digital way and most importantly highlight his contribution to South Africa", Lekoma added.


When asked what is next for Sea Monster in the coming months Lekoma said he is bound by confidentiality agreements but did give BR a tease, saying that readers should "keep their eyes on October" and that big things are happening. 

Last month the company launched a new game called "Adulting". The game teaches you how to better manage your money and provides links and tools to better utilise the funds you have through courses on Moneyversity.

Moneyversity is an online financial education hub, that uses videos, games, calculators, and articles to help people make the most of their money.

The hub was created by Old Mutual.