I went to withdraw some money the other day at an ATM. After pressing a few buttons, out came my lot. But alas! It was not money that came out. (at least so I thought)
Regardless of having known that the new currency was coming, it really hit me badly. For some reason, I felt like I wasn’t home. I had to ask myself where I was. The surroundings looked familiar, but I had to think hard whether I wasn’t traveling, perhaps in Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe or in one of the West African countries. After convincing myself that I was still in Namibia, I looked at the wad of cash in my hand. What I held was not the pride of Namibia I have come to appreciate. I felt poorer.
While some have cried (privately or publicly) about the face on the money, my feelings where not evoked by such public or private outcries. Mine was a design issue. Compared with the former design, look and feel, this new currency is beaten hands down. I appreciate that the designer was perhaps trying to achieve an African feel, but not only did they fail to achieve that but also only managed to produce, well, some really awful currency with what appears to be an Asian overtone. I started to wonder whether it wasn’t selected from the 1993 rejected drafts that I have seen displayed. These were rejects for a reason people!
I have to ask: What is happening to us? We (Namibia and South Africa), as I like to call us, are “The Europe of Africa.” Being that, we have to be up there with the best, not down here with the rest. Everything should and must continue to set us apart, including our currency. To look typical African, even on this, engenders thoughts and feelings of going downhill.
I am not ruling out the fact that I might just be in a mood to vent right now but I also know this: Steps, even subtle ones, lead to the destination traveled.