Mansour Ciss Kanakassy, a Senegalese man has created a new single currency for the African continent as a symbol of “African economic integration, created in opposition to the Franc CFA.” ‘Afro’ is the name of his artistic currency and it symbolizes his dream of an economically independent Africa.
Mansour Ciss is a multimedia and visual artist born and raised in Senegal. He currently lives in Berlin, Germany. He studied Arts for four years from 1973 to 1977 at the National Institute of Arts in Senegal. When he was in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, Mansour would sculpt wood, and large sculptures in cubist forms and sells them to the locals; some he even gave to President Senghor, the first president of Senegal.
Speaking to DW, Mansour’s dream is to see the liberation of Africa from its colonial legacy and one of the ways he could achieve his dream is by creating a single continental currency he called the Afro. Mansour has been working on the Afro currency for over a decade and has printed so many of them. The faces on the Afro currency are former Pan Africanists and Anti-imperialists like Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba and others.
“The Afro is an artistic currency for Africa. In fourteen African countries that used to be French colonies, people pay for things with money that comes from Africa. It is called the Currency of the French Colony in Africa (CFA). I just want to put a stop to that. The Afro is the future,” he said.
Mansour says he has set up bureau exchanges for the Afro but the challenge he is faced with is implementation as he alone doesn’t have the powers to implement the use of the Afo in Africa as it is the responsibility of African governments to do so.
The Senegalese have called on African leaders to recognize the Afro as a legal tender in their countries just as the dollar. He said, “Look at the dollar, it’s made of paper. It’s recognized. The Afro is also made of paper but it’s not being recognized yet.”
Since 1993 he has lived in Berlin. It was in the German capital that his work took on a more committed and political turn. It is indeed in this city that the Berlin conference was held, during which the colonial powers shared Africa in 1884-1885. In 2000, Mansour Ciss created the Deberlinization Laboratory with Baruch Gottlieb and then with Christian Hanussek. It is a laboratory of ideas, a sort of artistic platform for rethinking colonial history and the African continent. Concretely, Mansour Ciss Kanakassy chose an original medium to draw the Africa of tomorrow: he created a currency – the afro – the single African currency. An artistic currency, a symbol of the unification of African countries.
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