The new $50 note introduced by the RBZ this Tuesday

Zimbabweans mocking Mbuya Nehanda suffer an identity crisis: Masarira

OPPOSITION politician Linda Masariria reckons that Zimbabweans mocking the inclusion of a Mbuya Nehanda motif on the new $50 note suffer from a “nauseating identity crisis”.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor John Mangudya announced the introduction of the highest denomination yesterday and said it will get into circulation starting this Wednesday. However, social media immediately erupted into lashing out at the inclusion of the Mbuya Nehanda motif as one of the design features on the new note.

Mbuya Nehanda was a nineteenth century spirit that according to history guided one Charwe Nyakasikana to resist colonialists as they settled around Mashonaland in the 1890s. Nyakasikana was subsequently hanged from a tree by the white settlers.

“I have seen people from different walks of life insulting the move to put Charwe Nyakasikana on the $50 bill,” Masarira remarked.

“The identity crisis in this country is nauseating. What is wrong in giving recognition to one of the revered “homwe” of the Chimurenga struggle? What is wrong with us?” she fumed.

Zanu-PF armed struggle unit, the ZANLA, fought the war of liberation in the 1970s under the belief that they were under the spiri6 guidance of Mbuya Nehanda. In May this year, President Mnangagwa officially unveiled the Nehanda statue in Harare, attracting more scorn, ridicule and criticism from a sceptical younger generation.

However, some found the inclusion of the Nehanda motif on the $50 note as good for the country considering that even Americans honour their founding fathers some of whom were slave masters.

Media personality Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa worried that people were missing the crux of the matter and getting carried away by a non-issue.

“I’ve already seem comments about Mbuya Nehanda being on the $50 note – but I’m more concerned about it’s value and contribution to cash shortages, etc, than the design,” Parirenyatwa said.

Youthful activist Namatai Kwekweza said the new cash note will soon be worthless even with the Nehanda imprint on it, a reflection of how lives of the youths have been rendered worthless by outright looting in Government.

“Mbuya Nehanda, your face has been put on a bank note that serves as a reminder of the broken economy that is abusing your children. Very soon the money your face is on will have no value. This is a reflection of our lives as youth, lives with no value because of looting,” said Kwekweza.

“At least they should have included Nehanda’s signature on the $50 note,” joked Jealousy Mawarire, an anti-Mnangagwa critic.

Another fierce Zanu-PF critic, Dr Pedzisayi Ruhanya, said: “Let’s hope that her (Mbuya Nehanda) significance will not depreciate with the depreciation of the currency. RBZ is to introduce new $50 note on Wednesday, saving the population from carrying worthless currency.”

Under the Statutory Instrument 196 of 2021 gazetted by Government, the back of the new $50 note shall have the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Nehanda motif. Other features on the back of the note include a see-through Zimbabwe Bird emblem which faces the right-hand side.

The front side of the note has the RBZ logo of the balancing rocks, design features to help the visually impaired, and a see-through Zimbabwe Bird emblem looking to the left side. Other features on the front side include a security strip written “50” which shifts in colour from red to green. There is also a watermark written the acronym RBZ.

The apex bank is pumping $360 million in local currency into the economy to boost liquidity, Mangudya said. □

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