Money does more than establish equivalences – it contains violence and its main social function is the construction of the state and the stabilisation of norms of consumption.
This week on the Chronic website, we explore how global geopolitics play out in money exchanges. A decade on from postcolonial turmoil that saw their currency drastically devalued, Fungai Machirori observes how ordinary Zimbabweans are adjusting to the bond note, another face-saving tender introduced by the government. Moses März considers how, almost 60 years after independence, the CFA franc, a tool of French neocolonialism, is still the official currency in the Francafrique region – how long will the voluntary servitude go on?
Lindokuhle Nkosi goes behind the numbers of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s US$5.2 billion fine (issued to South African-based multinational MTN in 2015) to explore the “entangled steamy affairs of state and capital” that underpin economic relations, trade and diplomacy between the two African superpowers. Also, Shoks Mzolo and Bongani Kona explore the place of white monopoly capital in South Africa’s political imaginary.
In Douala Dominique Malaquais uncovers transformations in the social order brought about by the geocollusion between Cameroon, an African kleptocracy, its (neo-) colonial sponsors and ‘first world’ business interests.
Finally, Ben Davis, Ronald Suresh Roberts and Sindika Dokolo engage the questions of race and forgotten crimes raised by the politics of cultural patronage.