The Ora (symbol:Φ, [ˈʊə.ra]) is the local currency of Orania, an Afrikaner enclave in South Africa first issued in April 2004. It is pegged at par with the South African rand. The name, recalling that of the town where it circulates, derives from Latin aurum, meaning "gold". The currency is not sanctioned by the South African Reserve Bank.
Ten Ora note featuring Racheltjie de Beer
|Date of introduction||April 2004|
|User(s)||Orania, Northern Cape|
|Central bank||Chamber of Commerce of Orania|
The first notes were issued in April 2004 to provide an internal currency for Orania as part of its quest for self-determination. The idea of the Ora originated in 2002, when Professor Johan van Zyl argued that a community that intended to empower itself should have access to as many instruments as possible, including its own currency.
It is printed in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Ora. The 10 Ora note depicts Afrikaner history, the 20 Ora note Afrikaner art; the 50 Ora note Afrikaner culture; and the 100 Ora note Orania itself. Each note also advertises a local business.
Other than in Orania itself, the currency is also accepted in some surrounding towns. To encourage its use, some stores in Orania offer a 5% discount for items purchased in Ora. The local banking institution, the Orania Spaar- en Kredietkoöperatief, is in charge of the initiative.
The use of the Ora as a payment method also has the effect of discouraging theft, as it can only be used within Orania. About R400,000 to R580,000 worth of Oras were in circulation by 2011. New notes are printed every three years to replace the ones worn out by use.
The enclave is currently working to introduce the e-Ora, a digital version of the currency that is currently in circulation. The e-Ora will not replace physical notes, but supplement those that already exist. Additionally, unlike the Ora, the e-Ora will not have an expiry date. Efficient Group, a South African financial services company, is currently tasked with developing the digital currency in order to reduce costs that are incurred by printing notes.
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