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Reserve Bank


If you live in South Africa, you might have some R10, R20, R50, R100 or R200 banknotes in your wallet.  If you visited that country recently, you know that they come in five colours. 

Two have images of cats you cannot stroke and say ‘kitty kitty’ because they see you as lunch or dinner.  The other animals have horns that have nothing to do with jazz, the trumpet or saxophone.

What I didn’t know is that banknotes have themes.  A flyer published by the South African Reserve Bank explains it. 

It says the green R10 note with the rhinoceros represents agriculture, the brown R20 note with the elephant mining, the red R50 note with the lion manufacturing, the blue R100 note tourism, and the orange R200 note with the leopard transport and communication. Turn the banknotes around and you’ll see the themes.

I’m not the consultant that suggested this concept to the Bank, so I’m going to doctor them a little bit.  I’m trying to figure out how useful the rhino is to agriculture because when it sees you it estimates where you are and rushes like a computer virus to harvest you with its horn.  Where would that leave farmers? 

The elephant and mining don’t mix because it is too big to go underground and mine gold or platinum.  Miners are taken underground in lifts so, mining bosses will have to install a lift every day because elephants would crush it.

The Bank says the king of the jungle represents manufacturing.  I don’t know about that because the lion is an animal of mass destruction.  It doesn’t manufacture anything, maybe bones, your bones and bones of all jungle residents. 

I don’t know why the buffalo represents tourism because most visitors come to South Africa for the naughty cats and the elephant, Mr. High Rise Condominium himself.  The buffalo looks like a good old ox to me.

The leopard and transport and communication are like oil and water.  Yes it is fast, but it’s because it wants to pounce on you or some other prey.  Climbing a tree as a means of escape is useless because it will nimbly climb up to say hello and goodbye.

If I were to move things around, I’ll recommend the elephant for transport and communications, because I’ve seen it transporting things and people in countries like India. 
The elephant cannot scratch itself.  That is why it has little birds that love its back, giving it a perky massage.  We can honestly say that they use it as a means of transport.  Pure genius!

I’ll give the mining theme to the rhino so that it can use its horn to blast rocks for coal and diamonds. 

The lion will have the tourism theme because it cannot believe that people come as far as Asia and Europe to see it.  That is why it doesn’t smile.  It is still perplexed by the whole thing.  “How can anyone who knows that I love human T-bone steak travel so far to see me?”

How about assigning agriculture to the buffalo?  We can domesticate it and send it to the fields.  Iqbal, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor is one of many Indian films about the buffalo in agriculture.  You also saw buffalos in the classic film Mother India. 

I would give manufacturing to bees, because a beehive is a honey factory.  The problem is that a bee is not part of the ‘big five’ South African animals.  The leopard doesn’t have any portfolio from where I stand.  Call it down-sizing, rationalising, maximising resources and other deceptive terms for laying off workers.

P.S.  Why was the giraffe not included in the ‘big five’?  I think it is inferiority complex from the big cats, because they don’t want anybody looking down upon them.




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