The technical development of the Ora
The idea of a local currency for Orania was mooted by Professor Johan van Zyl at a conference of the Orania Movement in 2002. The idea gathered momentum during a visit by Doctor Hudson of Barbados, who stressed the advantages of a local currency (Wirz 2008: 9). This was followed by a conference of the Orania Movement, also in 2002, which dealt specifically with a local currency for Orania. The conference referred this matter to the Orania Development Forum, which appointed a committee to investigate the feasibility of the venture. The development of a local currency was highly recommended and it was decided that local expertise would be used to develop the system.
The A-series or first issue of the Ora was used from 29 April 2004 to 1 May 2006, when it expired and was exchanged for the B-series. The Orania Chamber of Commerce issued the Ora coupons in four denominations, that is, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Ora. The first 100 sets of Ora coupons, numbered from 1 to 100, were made available to collectors of commemorative items. More sets were also made available to collectors (Wirz 2008: 8). The results of these transactions or donations to Orania are discussed further in Section 4.2 and in the catalogue of Wirz (2008). The B-series was used from 13 April 2006 to 1 May 2008 and the C-series from 12 April 2008 to the present.
Each note has an advertisement on the back and there are six different advertisements for each of the four denominations of notes. These advertisements paid for the printing cost of the Ora coupons. This also confirms the confidence in the currency. Moreover, full disclosure of information on the Ora and knowledge about its functioning gives a better understanding of the local currency, which leads to greater acceptance of the currency (Van Zyl 2005).
The ten Ora coupon depicts the history of the Afrikaner. It shows Racheltjie de Beer as an example of the role of women during the Great Trek, the wars for freedom and even women’s contribution today. The Namakwaland daisy on the note is an indigenous flower of the region, colouring Orania in different shades of orange. The twenty Ora bill depicts the arts, with Trompie as the literary hero. The camel-thorn also appears on this note and is an indigenous tree of the area. The fifty Ora coupon depicts the culture of the Afrikaner. The girl reading is part of the Verwoerd commemorative collection and the horses are commemorated for their role during the freedom wars. Finally, the hundred Ora note depicts Orania. The boy who rolls up his sleeves symbolises the community of Orania and its endeavours to work for freedom. The agile steenbok and the “diehard” or variegated aloe are also typical of Orania. This is explained with each commemorative set (Wirz 2008:10).
On the reverse side of the coupons is a branch of the pecan-nut tree, representing an important industry in Orania. The six conditions pertaining to the coupons are also printed on the reverse side in small print. It states that the coupon is freely exchangeable at all businesses of the Orania Chamber of Commerce, amongst other financial conditions (Wirz 2008:10).
This section shows that thorough planning and innovative thinking led to the development of the Ora. However, the fact that the community wanted to create its own currency to become more independent is the main reason for its success. The next section analyses how the Ora contributes to and facilitates SLED.
Copyright by Ronald Mears