n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Loose your warts, become sublime : South African paper currency as instruction in the making of nation




At the time of the introduction of the euro, Eric Helleiner (2002:3) - a political economist - voiced the growing realisation amongst policymakers that forms of money are 'invested with social meaning intricately connected to the intensely political project of constructing unique and distinct national identities.' Responding to Helleiner's further observation that a gap exists in contemporary scholarship with regard to the relationship between national currencies and national identities, the present article examines the expression of national identity manifest in the 1992 South African banknote series that was commissioned in 1989 by the Reserve Bank of South Africa under the auspices of the then ruling National Party (Moneymaking 1991:41). The 1992 series served as national currency for more than a decade after the first democratic elections in 1994, and the subsequent coming to power of the African National Congress (ANC).


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