SA Reserve Bank, please remove the ludicrous, absurd, fictional and offensive toy word ‘bangikulu’ from our banknotes now.
On its recently upgraded banknotes, the South African Reserve Bank has shockingly misspelt the Xitsonga word for “Reserve Bank”, rendering it as bangikulu instead of the standard banginkulu, which the bank had been using until only a few weeks ago.
Talk about fixing something that is not broken.
In a sense, this is worse than the Coke can Xitsonga profanity scandal of 2019. Some of us don’t drink Coke, but all of us need and use banknotes.
More than merely omitting the letter “n” from the word ‘banginkulu’, the SA Reserve Bank has committed an enormous linguistic crime against a people whose history is riddled with all manner of linguistic crimes.
Linguistic violence occurs when a small group of powerful people, unilaterally distort, invent and impose their linguistic experiments, shenanigans and preferences upon an innocent majority.
Africans know all about the brutal colonial make-as-you-go orthographies in terms of which names of people, places and things were mutilated beyond recognition.
Is it not bad enough that some among us walk around with mutilated names and surnames? Must we now walk around with banknotes that mutilate and deface our indigenous languages?
The missionaries and colonialists who first reduced Xitsonga into…