ZAR: From Oppression To Opulence


The name ZAR is now synonymous with Bling and opulence thanks to the popularity of Sushi King, Kenny Kunene, and the ZAR empire. But do you know what the name ZAR means and actually comes from?

Did you Know:

The name is an accronym for the dutch name Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. One might read that an automatically think that is just Dutch version of the English, Republic Of South Africa. That would not be completely wrong but it would be factually inaccurate, geographically that is. 


The present day Republic of South Africa which is affectionately known as The Rainbow Nation country has 9 provinces. The South African Republic (ZAR) was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the 19th Century.

The republic was established in was established in 1852, and was independent from 1856 to 1877, then again from 1881 to 1900 after the First Boer War, in which the Boers regained their independence from the British Empire.

In 1900 the ZAR was annexed by the United Kingdom during the Second Boer War although the official surrender of the territory only took place at the end of the war, on 31 May 1902. In 1910 it became the Transvaal Province of the Union of South Africa.

The first president of the South African Republic was Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, elected in 1857, son of the famous Voortrekkerleader Andries Pretorius. It's capital Pretoria (founded 1855), though for a brief period Potchefstroom served as the seat of government with parliament being called Volksraad

At present, the name ZAR is officially the code name for our country's currency. This code is formed by the first two letters of the code are the two letters of ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes and the third is usually the initial of the currency itself. Our currency initial is R for Rand and the first two letters of the country was ZA as in Zuid Afrikaanse. 



Where did the R come from?

The rand is named after the same thing that the University Of the Witwatersrand is named after. They both named after the ridge that the city of Johannesburg is built on. Ridge in Afrikaans is Rand. 

Our internet level domain also comes from this Dutch name influence. South Africa in dutch is Zuid-Afrika hence ".za" 

Our currency is also used in Lesotho and Swaziland as part of the Common Monetary Area

And what do we spend this currency on the most? Well apparently we spend it at Mcdonald. South Africa ranks 11th out of 60 countries in the "Big Mac Index 2011" behind China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Russia and Egypt. The relative price of a Big Mac went down by 29% in South Africa. No wonder we so fat.

Good news thuough is that the Rand was the second best performing currency against the US Dollar between 2007 and 2011, according to Bloomberg’s Currency Scorecard.

Embarrassingly, we are still ranked in the top 10 of the world's unequal economies. The gap between the rich and the poor is still widening.

The ZAR effect 

You can not speak of ZAR these days and not associate it with Kenny Kunene. The brand has become and sign of suceess and opulence. To many's envy and some's disgust but Kenny is not apologetic about what the brand represent and he himself chooses to splurge his wealth on.

He was once quoted as having said; 

“I have worked really hard to succeed in life. I truly deserved the party I threw last weekend and I will enjoy my celebrations with the less fortunate, as well as the people I grew up with in Welkom, today too,"

That's after he was criticised for throwing a lavish party for his birthday. WHo wouldn't wanna be Kenny on his good day? Love him or hate him, he has made success be inspirational and attainable for a lot of young black South African.

The ZAR empire has become a formidable force in entertainment across the continent and continues to push the limit in tapping into markets that were previously dominated by whites and thus limiting the source of wealth to that select group. 

It's amazing how a name that could have easily been associated with the disfranchisement of black Africans is now a beacon of hope and an embodiment of what dreaming and working hard at those dreams could reward you with as a black child.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Kenny is now broke? His close friends said so in a Sunday news paper...

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