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Namibia launches new bank notes

MARIENTAL: The Government launched new bank notes on Wednesday during its 22nd Independence Anniversary in Mariental, Hardap Region.

The N$50.00, N$100.00 and N$200.00 denominations depict the portrait of Kaptain Hendrik Witbooi, while the N$10.00 and N$20.00 now depict the portrait of Dr Sam Nujoma, Founding President and Father of the Nation.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba noted that the printing of the new bank notes was necessitated by the need to incorporate state-of-the-art security features to ensure that Namibia's banknotes are resilient and not vulnerable to potential counterfeiters.

"It is also in line with practices in the currency industry, bank notes where the security features of banknotes are reviewed and upgraded regularly. I commend our Central Bank for the job well-done in this regard", said President Pohamba.

"Our banknotes convey and express our identity as a nation.

For example, on our currency, the long and bitter national armed liberation struggle is symbolised by the portrait of the legendary Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi; our Sovereignty is symbolised by the Namibian Parliament; our Nationalism is symbolised by the national flag and the coat-of-arms while our Natural diversity is symbolised by the Namibian antelopes". The Bank of Namibia was established on 16 July 1990 as provided for in Article 128 of the Namibian Constitution.

Amongst its duties, the Bank was charged to print the national currency. The Bank fulfilled this mandate successfully and the Namibia Dollar was officially launched for the first time on 14th September 1993. It became legal tender the following day.

"In keeping to the theme of paying homage to the heroes and heroines of our anti-colonial resistance and the struggle for independence, our Cabinet deemed it fit to recognize the critical role that Dr. Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma has played in the liberation of our country and for having been instrumental in the establishment of the Bank of Namibia", said President Pohamba.

"Cabinet, therefore, directed that when new bank notes are printed, his portrait should feature on the N$10 and N$20 denominations. Cabinet further directed that the other banknotes, namely the N$50, N$100 and N$200 will continue to bear the portrait of Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi".

President Pohamba emphasized that the change to the N$10 and N$20 did not in any way diminish the contributions of Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi to Namibia's anti-colonial struggle. Indeed, Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi would forever remain one of the highly-celebrated heroes of the anti-colonial resistance in our history.

"This change of portrait should, therefore, be viewed in the spirit of continuing to honour and recognise outstanding Namibians for their contributions to our society. Dr Sam Nujoma is one such citizen. That is why he is being honoured in this way".

He urged the Bank of Namibia to embark upon a nationwide awareness campaign in order to educate the people on the features of the new banknotes. He further congratulated Dr Nujoma on the honour bestowed on him on Wednesday.

In his acceptance speech Dr Nujoma said that he felt deeply humbled and grateful for the me to be awarded this prestigious and outstanding honour. "In accepting this honour, I am mindful of the long and arduous journey our people have travelled and charted a course expanded by blood of generations to build our nation", Dr Nujoma noted.

"For this reason, I accept this honour on behalf of my comrades- in-arms in the SWAPO Party with whom I shared the trenches and crossed many rivers of blood and the thick jungles in search of our Freedom and Genuine Independence".

He said that he had accepted the honour on behalf of the Namibian people for allowing him not only to lead them during the difficult moments of the protracted armed liberation struggle but also for the honour they bestowed upon him to be the First President of this beautiful country of vast contrasts and its diverse and vibrant people.

"'Self-definition' is a selfempowerment mechanism that goes a long way in forging a common identity" said Dr Nujoma, adding that "there is a reason why very few landmarks and structures in Europe and America are named after African heroes and heroines such as Kwame Nkrumah, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Patrice Lumumba or Samora Machel. These are our heroes and we should honour them because no one is ever going to do it for us".

He went on to say that "in giving names to people and things, we assert who we are and in honouring its citizens, a country honours itself". The Founding Father quoted fellow revolutionary, El Commandante Fidel Castro Ruz who once said "What transforms a president into a historical personage, who has been able to reach that position because of his merits, does not lie in the person, but in the need for him at a determinate moment in the history of his nation". "The honour bestowed upon me belongs to the entire Namibian nation in recognition of our people's struggle and sacrifices for freedom and human dignity for which many sacrificed their precious lives".

He dedicated this honour and recognition to our forebears who passed on the torch of freedom for us to carry on the struggle for Independence. He also dedicated this honour and recognition to the ongoing efforts of the Namibian people and those of the government in propelling our nation forward towards the realization of the country's development goals.

"I wish to dedicate this honour to the current generation to serve as an inspiration and encouragement in order for them to study hard and take up the mantle as future leaders of our country, following in the footsteps of our forebears and standing proud on their shoulders, looking toward the future with confidence and hope".

He reiterated his call for Namibians to remain united because "a united people, striving to achieve a common good for all members of the society, will always emerge victorious. If we hold fast to that truth there is no obstacle too insurmountable and no challenge too great, as long as we are united in common action and purpose".


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