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Change your rands before trekking to Orania

Published Apr 28, 2004


The white homeland of Orania on the banks of the Orange River will be launching its own currency in the enclave's community centre on Thursday, to a cautious reception by the Reserve Bank.

The currency will be known as the "Ora' and consists of a range of four denominations - Ora 10, Ora 20, Ora 50 and Ora 100 - Eleanor Lombard, spokesperson for the Orania Movement, said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Lombard said that during Thursday's unveiling, special momento packages would be on sale.

"The symbols on the Ora 10 note showed the Afrikaner's history, the Ora 20 note his art, the Ora 50 note his culture and the Ora 100 note depicted Orania," said Lombard.

She said the advantages of the town having its own currency was among others: available cash being replaced with proof of cash and the cash earning interest in the bank; buying power remaining in the community because the currency was only accepted in the town; because the currency could only be spent locally it was safer than cash.

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Meanwhile, Reserve Bank spokesperson Themba Hlengani said the voucher or currency must not resemble the South African bank note, in whole or part.

"For instance, it shouldn't be the same colour or font as any of the South African bank notes," he said.

He said this was regulated in terms of South African Reserve Bank Act of 1989.

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Hlengani did not want to comment further, saying that this was the official statement at the moment.

According to Lombard the idea for the currency was first mooted by Professor Johan van Zyl during a conference by the Orania Movement in 2002.

Van Zyl apparently emphasised that a community which wanted to empower itself needed to do so with as many instruments as possible to further enhance its self determination, and having its own currency unit was good example of this. - Sapa

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