Lifting the flag of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. 

The image has become a national symbol, and is now included on Eritrean currency.  An interview with the photographer can be found here.

The EPLF has been noted for its egalitarian approach.  30% of its constituent fighters were women, which significantly affected the traditionally conservative paternalistic outlook of the nation.

The EPLF captured numerous Ethiopian soldiers in battle.  But in contrast to the way the Ethiopians treated their captured, the EPLF did not mistreat them.  The taught them the principles of the EPLF.  They instructed them in world politics.  They trained many of them in crafts and trades.

Eritrea consists of nine nationalities. Tigre, Tigrigna, Saho, Afar, Kunama, Nara, Bilin, Hidarb, and Rashaida.  More information on this can be found on the Eritrean website here.

These nationalities are depicted in the banknotes in a series of tryptich portraits, that is, three-paneled illustrations such as in many of the classics.  The artist who designed these banknotes is Mr. Clarence Holbert, the first African American to design an African banknote.  He passed away January 9, 2018.  His memorial was reverently attended by representatives of Eritrea, and can be read about here.

The reverse of the currencies reflect scenes from Eritrean life.  As recalled by Mr. Holbert, the currency “features the everyday people of Eritrea because Eritrean President Isaias had given specific instructions that money not feature cabinet or government officials or their relatives.”

A scene from pre-independence school in the bush, education beneath the trees. The artist is African American Charles Holbert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nakfa region, inhabited since ancient times, came under Italian control in 1890.  Italy lost control during WW2, and Eritrea was “awarded” to Ethiopia as a part of a federation in 1952.  In the 1960s, Ethiopia annexed Eritrea as a province.  This instigated the independence movement.  In 1977, the Eritrea Liberation Front laid siege to Nakfa, and, took it in their first major victory.  Eight subsequent attempts at recapture failed, during which much of the above-ground town was destroyed, and during which also, the Eritreans developed an significant underground facilities. Independence was secured in 1991.

“Nakfa” is now the name of Eritrea’s currency.  It is taken from the town which had become the main base of the Eritrean independence movement.  Nakfa is famous for its extensive underground entrenchments developed in the time of the resistance.  Included are hospitals, printing presses, a radio station, college and factories, in addition to rings of trenches and minefields.

The following paragraph is from this blog post with this photo of the Nakfa territory.  A special test for tourists is also the sites of the liberation struggle situated in bleak mountains of the Sahel, northern angle of Eritrea. Hence one must be willing to enjoy the arduous journey across the rough terrain mountains to visit these miraculous EPLF defenses, trenches, bunkers of Nakfa, Himbol and the Roras Plateaus, and the Denden terrains.

Additional reference here.

For more stories from Africa on this website, click here.

For tags from this website, see below.

 

 

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