Africa, Earth, Sierra Leone, Western Africa

Sierra Leone – 1000 Leones – Year 2013 – Bai Bureh

Sierra Leone 1000 leones banknote date 2013

Bai Bureh, the great Warrior of Sierra Leone, is named and featured on our 2013 banknote of Sierra Leone.

To me, his image on our banknote is quite striking, more so than the images of most any other leader on most any other banknote I have observed.  Bai Bureh’s image resembles that of the classic jester of the courts of Europe of the middle ages.  Sometimes it was only the jester that could be sufficiently daring to point out the folly of the ruler; and Bai Bureh, perhaps more than anyone in Africa, caused their overlords, the British to turn in circles.  At the end of this post, the reader will find the only known photograph of Bai Bureh, taken in 1898 as he sits peacefully, under arrest, with his unmistakable impish grin.  One can sense that his guard adores him.  He is revered to this day in Sierra Leone.

In his youth, his father sent him to a nearby small village for training in the craft of warriors.  His training elders recognized in young Bai superior innate abilities.  They named him Kebalai, the Warrior who never tires of War.  Not long after his return to his village he was named ruler of the village.  In succeeding years he defeated this and that territory and led his followers to victory over invaders and afterwards restoring the territory to the rightful inhabitants.  The people recognized in Bar Bureh a true leader and rallied around him and crowned him leader of Northern Sierra Leone in 1886.  He was 46 years of age.

As the British extended their power and during the Scramble for Africa, Bar Bureh continually resisted and evaded them.  He refused to acknowledge their treaties and he refused to pay their taxes.  Bar Bureh wanted the British to go home to Britain and let the Sierra Leone’s manage their own affairs.  Soon the British sent the military after him, but his superior knowledge of the terrain and innate brilliant skill allowed him to evade the British time and time again.

His humor delighted his followers and appears to have charmed his enemies.  Upon the British governor’s offer of 100 pounds for information leading to the capture of Bai Bureh, Bureh issued an offer of 500 pounds for the capture of the British governor.

The story is told that upon his capture, the British treated him as a political prisoner, rather than a military captive.  Subsequently, rather than executing in the manner routine in that era, he was sent into exile in a neighboring country, some historians suggesting that all of this treatment indicated the respect of Mr. Bai Bureh by the British army.

Today, Bai Bureh is considered by many military historians as the pioneer of modern guerilla warfare methods.

 

Sierra Leone

 

Bai Bureh, seated, upon his arrest in 1898

 

The photo at left is the only known photo of Mr. Bai Bureh, the Great Hero of Sierra Leone.  A remarkable and delightful article on the recent discovery and authentication of this sole photograph is online here, and I certainly urge the reader to read that article.

The photo at left if from wikipedia and attributed as follows:

By Lieutenant Arthur Greer – http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com/archives/57097, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28429122

 

Africa, Earth, Lesotho, Southern Africa

Lesotho – 5 Maloti – Year 1989

Lesotho

Lesotho, “the land of the people who speak Sesotho”1
Depicted on the front of our banknote is King Moshoeshoe of Lesotho.  Moshoeshoe presided as king in Lesotho during the era in which Lesotho gained full independence from Great Britain in 1966.

Lesotho

The waterfalls depicted on our banknote our located in very remote territory, and, consequently, seen by very few people.. This is the Maletsunyane Falls of Lesotho, on the river of the same name.

The banknote featured is Lesotho, 5 maloti, dated 1989.  The currency is named loti, plural is maloti.

Lesotho celebrates its Independence Day on October 4.  In 1966, Lesotho declared its independence from Great Britain.

Lesotho Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Lesotho is featured on our banknote.

The central crocodile is featured on a Basotho shield, the symbol for the largest ethnicity in Lesotho.  This symbol has been retained from Basutoland which preceded the establishment of Lesotho.

The shield is upheld by two Basotho horses.

Two weapons, the knobkierie club and the assegai spear are crossed behind the shield.  Vertically between them is a thyrsus tipped with ostrich feathers.

Peace, Rain, Prosperity, the motto of Lesotho, is written on the banner below.

Uncategorized

Angola 2012 – 5 Kwanza – Year 2012

Angola, 5 kwanza banknote, dated 2012

Conjoined busts of Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Antonio Agostinho Neto, two presidents of Angola.
António Agostinho Neto (17 September 1922 – 10 September 1979) served as the 1st President of Angola (1975–1979), having led the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the war for independence (1961–1974). Until his death, he led the MPLA in the civil war (1975–2002). Known also for his literary activities, he is considered Angola’s preeminent poet. His birthday is celebrated as National Heroes’ Day, a public holiday in Angola.1
José Eduardo dos Santos, born 28 August 1942)[2] is an Angolan politician who served as President of Angola from 1979 to 2017. As President, José Eduardo dos Santos was also the commander in chief of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and President of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the party that has ruled Angola since it gained independence in 1975. He was the second-longest-serving president in Africa, surpassed only by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, who took power less than two months before dos Santos.2

Angola, 5 kwanza banknote, 2012

The Ruacana waterfalls are featured on the back of our banknote.  The Ruacana falls are on the Kuene river which forms much of the border between Angola to the North and its neighbor Namibia to the South.

 

Angola Coat of Arms

The Angola coat of arms is featured on our banknote.

Central is the machete and the hoe, symbols of revolution and agricultural workers.

The star rising represents progress.

The right half of the circle is a cog, or gear, symbolic of industrial workers.  The left half of the circle is a wreath of maize and cotton leaves, symbolic of agricultural workers.

The banner is Portuguese for Republic of Angola.

Angola celebrates its independence day November 11.  November 11, 1975 is the date of independence from Portugal.

 

Asia, Nepal, Southern Asia

Nepal – King Birendra

King Birendra Bir Bikram is featured on the front of this banknote of Nepal, wearing a plumed crown.  Described from his youth as extraordinarily kind and emotional, he was a firm advocate of democracy for his people, the people of Nepal.  He was King in Nepal from 1972 until 2001, when he died.

Centered on the front of the banknote is the Bajrayogini Temple near Sankhu and Kathmandu.

 

Nepal banknote, 2 rupees, front
Nepal banknote, 2 rupees, back

 

Detail from back of Nepal banknote, 2 rupees.

 

 

 

Detail from back of Nepal banknote, 2 rupees.

From Wikipedia: Before 28 May 2008, the modern emblem was preceded by a coat of arms, generally consisting of a white cow, a green [pheasant] (Himalayan monal), two [Gurkha] soldiers (one carrying a [kukri] and a bow, and the other a rifle), peaks of the [Himalayas], two crossed Nepalese flags and kukris, the footprints of [Gorakhnath] (the guardian deity of the Gurkhas) and the royal headress. It also contained the same red scroll with the national motto.
The emblem of Nepal was changed during the reconciliation period following the Nepalese Civil War. On 28 May 2008, a new emblem in the style of socialist heraldry was introduced. It contains the flag of Nepal, Mount Everest, green hills symbolising the hilly regions of Nepal and yellow colour symbolising the fertile Terai region, male and female hands joining to symbolise gender equality, and a garland of Rhododendron (the national flower). Atop this is a white silhouette in the shape of Nepal.

 

The elements of this intriguingly dense National Coat of Arms are many, and include the following:

Coat of Arms of Nepal from 1962-2008

One Plumed Crown

Two feet

Two crossed Flags

Two crossed knives

One Mountain peak flanked by personalized moon and personalized sun

White cow and a pheasant

Six Hibiscus flowers

Two citizens, one with a rifle and one with a bow

One Inscribed scarlet banner in snaskrit, the English interpretation being: Mother and Motherland are greater than heaven.

Africa, African Great Lakes Region, Burundi, Eastern Africa

Burundi – Melchior Ndadaye, Burundi’s 1st Democratically Elected President

It was October 21, 1993 when President Melchior Ndadaye was assassinated.  That morning the sun arose on the first democratically elected president of Burundi.  That evening the darkness arose for another year of genocide.  In the words of the American ambassador to Burundi:

“The bayonets thrust into President Melchior Ndadaye’s thorax, and the bullets that felled his vice president and cabinet members, critically injured the world’s newest democracy, born only 102 days before. Six million people, more than the population of Denmark mark or Ireland, and equal to the population of Israel, were suddenly thrust back into a miasma of misrule and uncertainty after a brief season of hope while the outside world took only temporary measures to stanch the bleeding.”

Ambassador Robert Krueger. From Bloodshed to Hope in Burundi: Our Embassy Years during Genocide (Focus on American History Series) (Kindle Locations 489-491). Kindle Edition.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reverse side features Banque de la République du Burundi (Ibanki ya Republika y’Uburundi; Bank of the Republic of

 

 

 

 

 

Burundi) building, Bujumbura

Africa, African Great Lakes Region, Burundi, Eastern Africa

Burundi – Louis Rwagasore, They Killed Him, and then Lots of Others Got Killed, But He is Still Here

 

detail from Burundi banknote, front, 100.

Imagine, if, before South Africa was changed,  Mandella had been assassinated.  Imagine if Kennedy had not been assassinated, and America had been changed. Imagine if Burundi and Rwanda had changed in the 1960s, and the genocide of the 1970s and 1980s and 1990s did not happen.  Imagine Prince Rwagasore not assassinated at the moment of Burundi’s independence …

But, they killed Rwagasore; and millions perished with him.

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

He was the oldest son of the King, heir-apparent to the kingdom stretching back 4 centuries.  Briefly under colonial Germany and then for the latest 2 generations under colonial Belgium, Louis Rwagasore saw independence in his beloved country’s future.  For that future, he prepared, both himself, and his nation.

He’d been educated in elite secondary schools of Rwanda by the Brothers of Charity, and in European Universities in Antwerp and Louvain.  He’d prepared to forsake the throne of his fathers, and to advocate for a constitutional monarchy instead.  He, an ethnic Tutsi, married an ethnic Hutu woman, to promote the cessation of ethnic rivalries.

In the 1950s he urged the Belgian vice-governor to institute a new constitution in preparation for Burundi independence.  He founded a series of economic cooperatives to foster independence, but these were banned by Belgium in 1958 when they realized they threatened their colonial power.   He then founded UPRONA, the Union for National Progress, Burundi’s first indigenous political party.  In 1960, as head of UPRONA, he advocated for full independence from Belgium and called for civil disobedience through the boycott of Belgian stores and government taxes, for which he was placed under house arrest.  But his ideas were wildly popular with the people, and, when independence came in 1962, Rwagasore was elected by a huge majority to lead his people into the future.

Rwagasroe had become the change he foresaw for his people.  He became educated.  He abandoned the royal life for life as the citizen of a republic.  He, a tutsi, married a hutu women, to bring forth children of Burundi.

Shortly before he would enter into office, he was killed.  It is thought that the murder was a conspiracy between the Belgians and the opposition party.

Although he never said it in such words that we know of, Rwagasore, we are confident to say, had been to the mountain top.  There he looked out, over the Jordan, into the land of promise, the land of the future, the good land, the right land.  And what did he see?  We know what he saw by the man he became.  He let what he saw transform him into the same image.  He became husband of a Burundi woman; he became father of Burundian children, he became a citizen of the Republic of Burundi, he became a leader in Burundi, and, indeed, a leader for all humankind.

For further readings regarding this remarkable man, see here.

 

Banknote of Burundi, front. The tomb of Louis Rwagasore is illustrated on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

Banknote of Burundi, back, illustrating the building of a house in Burundi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more stories from the African Great Lakes Region in this website, click here.

 

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