10 Trillion Zimbabwe Dollars
The once proud country of Zimbabwe took another tragic step this weekend, with the passing of the newly-installed Prime Minster, Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife following a head-on collision. There’s all sorts of speculation in the press as to whether this was contrived or pure accident, and that debate, no doubt, will rage for some time yet.
Meanwhile, we had the pleasure of a visit from an ex-Zimbabwean in the form of legendary bloodstocker, Robin Bruss and his wife, Jane, this weekend, and Robin told us he won a race in Zimbabwe last weekend worth Z$50 trillion to the winner. As the cash is almost worthless, owners are allowed to trade the prize money for petrol coupons, which Robin is unlikely to be able to use in the foreseeable future. Talk about racing for the love of the game. Hats off to the Zimbos – they’d race in hell if they had to!
He gave us a Z$10 trillion note, which he tells us would scarcely buy us a newspaper today, notwithstanding the fact they’ve already taken 12 zeros off the amount already. Ironically, the note is adorned with two of Africa’s most sacred emblems, one the rocks of the Matopos Hills (which enchanted Cecil John Rhodes to the point that he insisted on being buried there,) and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, a poignant reminder of an earlier phenomenal civilization. Alongside the picture of Great Zimbabwe is an almost tragic depiction of the Reserve Bank of that country, a fine edifice by any modern standards, yet one which has presided over a currency which has quite the worst history of any currency anywhere.