NAMIBIA’S NEW BANKNOTES ON THE HORIZON
The Bank of Namibia recently announced that on 21 March 2012, a new series of banknotes will be launched to the nation. This announcement has attracted various reactions from different individuals at different platforms. Ndangi Katoma, the Bank’s Director of Strategic Communication shed more light and offers answers to various expressed concerns.
Q: What prompted the decision to design new banknotes that will be launched on 21 March 2012?
NK: The design and introduction of the new series of banknotes to be launched by His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia on 21 March 2012 in Mariental, was necessitated by the need to incorporate state-of-the-art security features on our banknotes. This is to ensure that Namibia’s banknotes are not vulnerable to potential counterfeiters. You may recall that the current Namibia Dollar banknotes specifically the N$10, N$50 and N$100 banknotes were first issued in 1993. The current N$20 and N$ 200 notes were later added in 1996. According to currency industry practice, the security features of banknotes are reviewed and upgraded regularly, normally after approximately 8 years. Given that, upgrading our banknotes after 19 years of independence is certainly an imperative requirement.
Q: The features on some of the new banknotes are going to change where Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi’s portrait will be replaced by that of Dr Sam Nujoma. It is particularly this aspect that attracted divergent views from some people. Why is this necessary and what will such a decision mean to the psyche of the nation?
NK: It is correct that a number of security features will be changed on the new banknotes. One of the new security features on two banknotes (N$10 and N$20) is the portrait of His Excellency Dr Sam Nujoma, replacing that of Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi. This decision was made by Cabinet in recognition of the critical role the Founding President has played in the struggle for national independence. Dr. Nujoma was also instrumental in the establishment of the Bank of Namibia.
As to what this decision mean to the psyche of the nation, it is vital to clarify that replacing Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi on the N$10 and N$20 should not be viewed to imply that his contribution to the struggle against foreign occupation of our country is no longer valued. The historical reality is that, indeed, Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi will always remain one of Namibia’s...
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