Capitec has partnered with female artists to reimagine what future South African currency could potentially look like with a women represented.
According to the bank, only 9% of the world’s currency features women.
“That’s 118 of the 1300 bills in circulation globally. This Women’s Month, Capitec wants to change that,“ the bank said.
The bank has partnered with artists Rendani Nemakhavhani, Anja (Nanna) Venter, and Zanele Montle to reimagine what future South African currency could potentially look like with a woman represented.
The first “reimagined Rand” has been created by Venter and showcases Lilian Ngoyi, Sophia Williams, Helen Joseph, and Rahima Moosa on August 9, the day they historically marched against the pass laws. These titans changed South Africa’s narrative and introduced the now popular anthem, Wathint’Abafazi, wathint’imbokodo (you strike a woman, you strike a rock).
Capitec Specialist: Communications and PR Chandré Matlala said: “More than 52% of our 16 million client base is female. We want to celebrate them and raise awareness in a way that aligns with what we do. Representation is important, what we choose to represent on our currency is a reflection of what we value. We have so many prolific women in this country that deserve a seat of honour for their achievements, women who should not be forgotten or disappear from our history.
“We want to use our platforms to ignite important conversations around this subject and effect real change. South Africans can join the conversation and suggest the women they believe should feature on our currency by commenting on our social channels with the hashtag #ReimagineTheRandSA.”
Graphic designer, art director, and creative director, Rendani Nemakhavhani, said she draws her inspiration from people and their stories. “I love how black women especially have evolved and are still doing amazing things. I think that comes across so strongly in my work.”
She said she will be putting Miriam Makeba on her banknote. “I feel as though her story hasn’t been told enough,” said Nemakhavhani . “Although she was banned from the country for a very long time, she never spoke badly about South Africa. Wherever she went in the world, she’d speak about what was happening and how important it was to liberate her people. She played a critical role in convincing people outside South Africa to support the struggle.”
She said: “The fact that so few women are on money speaks to how the world has dictated where women do and do not belong. Having women on money is a big deal. It helps to shift the language. As women, we need to assure ourselves and each other of what we are capable of.”
Anja Venter, a Ph.D. fellow at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, designed the first artwork. She considers herself an art-stronaut, which means she uses creativity to explore the creative universe through different media and avenues.
For her, representation is everything, “When I grew up, the majority of the role models that I admired and modeled my career after – Jaime Hernandez, Kurt Vonnegut, Andy Warhol, Craig Thompson – were men. All my female role models were pop stars or rock stars. There just weren’t as many visible role models that were women in other creative professions. It’s not that they didn’t exist, it’s just that there wasn’t as much representation. I think having women on money shows young girls that they can reach those milestones too. That they matter and can make a difference.”
For Zanele Montle, she said it was important that women were seen on everyday objects like money – and that they choose how they are represented.
Motle, who is also an art teacher, stresses that education is critical to foster greater socio-economic inclusion for women, “I think first and foremost, women need to be educated on finances and how to use money. How to make money a healthy habit. We need more people to be financially upskilled on how to run a business and use money as a source of empowerment. And we need to include more women in critical decision-making at a governance level.”
She is waiting to see which woman she will depict on her banknote, based on whom South Africans vote for. For her, the person must represent what it means to be a woman in this country – now and in the future.
She said the partnership with Capitec has been a “blissful opportunity” and a way to amplify her art as a medium for activism and expression. “As an artist, there’s a massive responsibility to tell the stories of many people in ways that others can relate to and learn from. Art has no barriers. You may not be able to read or write, but you can understand pictures.”
The #ReimagineTheRandSA initiative represents hope and love to her. “The concept for me is about love. Women embody love more than anything else.” As a woman artist, it also represents opportunity, “It’s amazing how Capitec has partnered with female artists. These opportunities are so empowering to us; they give us a sense of hope and recognition. And a powerful platform to share our work. The creative industry needs platforms and partnerships like this, especially now, given Covid-19 and the lootings.”