Monday, August 25, 2008

Adios Kenyan Fifty Cents Coin

When did you last use a Kenyan 50 cent coin? Nay, when did you last see a Kenyan 50 cent coin? Chances are not any time in the recent past. Like the 5 cent, 10 cents and many other denominations of coins before it, the little coin is slowly getting edged out of use. Only this one is not being officially taken off circulation by Central Bank but by market forces.

According the Central Bank the 50 cent coin is still legal tender which every Kenyan is obliged to accept and use if given. But the situation on the ground is quite different. It’s use has all but ground to a halt. From small scale vegetable vendors to shopkeepers nobody wants anything to do with the coin that just a few years back could mean the difference between affording or not affording something. Just recently there was a complaint by Tusky’s customers that the supermarket was issuing too many worthless 50 cents coins as change. The customers in turn have nowhere to take them.

When many of us were growing up, there was such a thing as 10 cents. The big copper coin that could get you 2 sweets each costing 5 cents. Then there was the smaller 5 cents coin. Even big retail shops and supermarkets incorporated in their pricing. You could get an item for say, Kshs 29.95 or Kshs 39.15. Not any more. For current generations it sounds like ancient history.

It’s not by choice that people are shunning the little coin. It’s the cost of living that of late is raising by the day. The shilling still has some life although it is not as important as it was in yesteryears. That’s how come somebody can sell something worth 99 bob and not bother to give you a bob. And you don’t bother to follow it up either.

Here’s a site where you can see the history of Kenyan Coins.

Related Article: Is Your Money Safe In The Bank?

26 Comments:

BP ONE said...

Shiko….. if I am not wrong,those old days, there was a coin called ”pesa nane” I guess it’s the 25 cents coin, what remains of it‘s name today is the famous phrase “siasa ya pesa nane”.

Shiko-Msa said...

BP I've never understood the meaning of that phrase 'siasa ya pesa nane'. I've no idea which coin it was actually. But recently I got to know what Hela is. It's one cent right?

HLumiti said...

Ah yes, BP, 'siasa ya pesa nane'. Always puts a smile on my face. Especially when uttered by one DT Moi. He lived it you know. One could write a whole thesis on that politics, its origins, practice etc and now ably propagated by the likes of 'learned friend' Mungatana.

Then there is our beloved 'Matatu' named after the prevalent fare back then of three 10cent coins.

BP ONE said...

“siasa mpaya maisha mapaya”… Hlumiti, you are right those phrases of Moi make me laugh too. I don’t know what kind of wisdom one can learn from them but I am sure the were\are humorous and part of Kenyan history…you can read some of his phrases at this link… http://www.mashada.com/forums/general-discussion/22824-best-moi-ism.html

Shiko..i don’t know what it was called then, but I think the one cent coin Is the one with a hole at the center (the East African currency) as a child I can remember seeing it, but can't tell if it hard value by then. The Kenyan 10 cents coin was called "pane moja” and the 5 cents coin " dururu" I am not sure if those names were official but we used to name them so.

Kirima said...

Even pastors have been heard to complain when the flock put couns in the offatory box, its a sign of our times ironically cell phone airtime is being sold in ever small denominations I'm waiting for the 5 bob top up soon to come :-)
Shiko you remember the 5 cents sweets?Hehehe that was a long time ago, I was a posh kid and used to save up for Pussy cat bubble gum @ 15 cents

BP ONE said...

Among the other coins we used those days is the 2(two) shilling coin, can’t remember what they used to call it but it was much bigger than the one shilling.

HLumiti said...

BP, I suppose the 'pesa nane' tag is/was meant to rebuke political positions that were characteristic of bygone eras.

The 'penny moja' reflects the time when our 10cents was supposedly equivalent to the British penny. And the Kenyan and British pound were at par... sigh.

BP ONE said...

Hlumiti, thanks for the clarification. I got the point, it makes sense.

Kirima said...

2 Bob was called Rubia I think! I never encountered that one

Shiko-Msa said...

Kirima I ate enough of those pink and green Patco sweets. Ok not enough as such. Even that ten cent was not very readily available but whenever it was I'd buy them. Dururu a piece. A few years down the line I think I remember buying Cadbury's Goody Goody for rubia a piece. Rubia as in 2 separate bobs.

Thanks for reminding me of rubia although I never got to see one in a single coin either. That is a word we might as well delete from our vocabulary coz it's never coming back. This is funny Lol.

HLumiti the name Matatu has come such a long way.

Kirima said...

You know mention of goody goody will only evoke very sweet memories - the playground rule was goody goodys were never meant to be shared when you try and break it just stretches forever.
I read somwhere rubia is a localization of the word rupee the indian currency that was once used in Kenya

Rafiki said...

And what about the 40 bob coins? Very nice ones, and still relatively new, but difficult to find nowadays. I used to keep a few of them, but then decided to use them to pay for some stuff and to improve on their circulation, but I have not seen them recently.

Kiki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mcheku said...

Reading what you guys are talking about just brings nostalgic good memories......mmmmmmmmh.

Rafiki said...

The 40 bob coin is so convenient to pay for your week-end newspaper. Maybe they should also introduce a 35 bob coin for convenience during the week.

bankelele said...

The 50 cent coins are a real bug, I wonder why Uchumi keep on handing them out to reluctant customers who have no choice but to return there, and as they are the only places they can be spent. Is it a loyalty thing? Even the kiosks that sell micro-products reject the fiddy coin

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) should dump this idea and instead focus on getting out a new larger denomination note of Kshs. 3,000 or Kshs. 5,000 which is more relevant to the economy and one whose time has come.

Shiko-Msa said...

aaai Rafiki Lol! a 35 bob coin for the dailies over the week ha ha ha. That's a new one. At that rate they'll have to introduce so many more coins! Like when the price of newspapers go up. ama they introduce others for matatu fares.

Yenyewe the 40 bob coin was good only it's not very common. But it's around once in a while someone will give it as change. It it's taken seriously it might just replace the 20 bob coin.

Mcheku dont worry you'll maliza and come home one day ama? Memories of what the coins or the Cadbury's goody goody?

Rafiki said...

And we could feature a portrait of the PM's wife or the VP's wife on the new 35 bob coin to make sure they actually do something for the small allowance they are going to get.

Rafiki said...

Wow, apparently there are even KSh 1,000 and KSh 5,000 coins! Never seen those ones in real life though.

Shiko-Msa said...

Bankelele welcome to Wanjikuville.

True it's about time for higher denomination bank notes. Maybe even 10k?

When doing this article I came across pictures of a Kenya coin I've never heard of - a Kshs.5,000 gold coin and Kshs.1,000 silver. Made as recently as 2003. If they were ever in the news or papers I must have missed them. Check out the site http://www.wbcc.fsnet.co.uk/af-ken.htm

Maybe they're for those interested in collection? The writer there says these might have been given to selected government workers, officials and politicians. Just as well. Kenyans are not in the mood for keepsake money of late with the rising cost of living. Guys want cash money they can spend.

As for the fifty cent coin, according to central bank you should accept them upto a total of 20 bob? Uchumi and tuskys if taken to task might say they're operating on those lines maybe.

Shiko-Msa said...

Rafiki it seems we were writing the comments at the same time Lol. Both featuring the 1,000 and 5,000 coin.

That idea of the good ladies gracing our money........ let me sleep on it.

Anonymous said...

Rafiki...I suggest they name the 35 bob... “pesa nane” to reflect their “siasa ya pesa nane” which is destroying this nation.

UrXlnc said...

engraved in my mind was once being sent to the kiosk by a neighbour, now this jama had a major issue with swa but here is how he sent me

kijaana, nenda nunulia mimi s'gara ya roos(h)ter, chukua hii siling' moja na pesa nane. otonglo kibaki nunua patco na kula.

note 1 - the pesa nane he refered to was not the real pesa nane which i was told was the 5 cents with a hole in it, but for a short while there was a 25 cts coin early 70s that resembled the current 50 cents.
note 2- some jamaz used to call 10 cents tongolo in those days
note 3 - 10 cents of patco was a packet of 20 pieces in those days, a major treat indeed (always used to despise buying with 5 cents coz invariably the shopkeeper would switch from peeling potatoes, send out a missile from his nose to the ground with a resounding phiang!!! then proceed to split the packet and manually count one by one 10 pieces)

believe this was in early to mid 70's

Shiko-Msa said...

urxlnc I've heard of that word otonglo. Back home we used to call the 10 cent King'otore which I'm told is a bad word in some parts of the country.

That shopkeeper .... yuck! But don't they all do that? Or at least most of them?

BP ONE said...

Urxlnc…..isn’t it funny, the said coins are long gone and value less but the shopkeeper’s habit of throwing a missile from his nose is still there. If I am not wrong there is a TV advert for a cooking oil showing that type of shopkeeper ….. Surely old habits die hard.

Anonymous said...

when was this. i have neva hard of a 5 cents coin. but i have seen a 50 cents coin.

maze you guyz must be really old