|SHEBA & MONETA
Naming the Currency of the African Union
There are several viable options for names of the single AU currency, including culturally and historically relevant names for African money. These include Mongo, Deben, Manilla, Kizzi and others. The best option is Sheba for the main denomination and Moneta for the sub units.
That is: 100 moneta (cents) = 1 sheba
Below: Draft Specimen of proposed currency
Why Sheba? There are several good reasons. Having studied how the names of other currencies were arrived at, the claim for an All-African currency named Sheba is stronger than most. Sheba is the common variant of the name Saba. Saba/Sheba is the old capital of an African empire named Kush, but largely known as Aithiopia (inclusive of, but not to be confused with modern Ethiopia), in ancient Greek texts. The city of Sheba was later renamed Meroe.
The African city of Sheba was an international trading metropole and an industrial center (for metal refineries especially) for many centuries. According to historians, people from all over Africa lived in Sheba and went there for trade and to serve in the Kushite, Garamante, Blemmy, Abyssinian and Egyptian armies. Ancient records show that Sheba was situated conveniently at the confluence of several migration and continental trade routes, in what is now Sudan. Moreover, at some point in its history, Sheba did have an empire named after it that covered the Nile valley, central Africa and Arabia.
As for moneta, the exact origins are unclear. One version points to Moneta as the name of a north African town that had a mint. The town was called Moneta and the coins in time came to be referred to by the name of the mint. The second version has it that moneta is an epithet attached to the name of the Roman goddess Juno (Juno Moneta), meaning Juno "warns"...although the meaning is speculation also. In either case, it is from the word moneta that we derive "monetary" and all its variants.
Do Africans have any cultural entitlement to the word moneta? Can we say it is ours as well? Yes, as much as any Latin or Etruscan. The Roman empire claimed as its ancestral founders the Trojan royal house. Since the Trojan royal house was African, and the Roman republic grew in part due to Africans (the loss of the African provinces - Rome's source of food and metal - was the main cause of the fall of the Roman Empire), then every African has as much right to the word moneta as any Roman.
Lastly, the linkage between Moneta and Sheba is not accidental. Since the root term moneta has come to dominate international finance, and the dominant culture seeks to emulate Rome as its model, it serves well to remind the world where the gold and salt that paid for the West came from. Although called moneta in Rome, that gold came out of Wangara in west Africa, it came out of Nubia (the root "nub" means gold), it came out of Ophir in what is now Zimbabwe and South Africa ("Africa" is the Latin adjective for Ophir). So therefore, remember that the money that the international economic system is built on actually physically came out of Africa (need I mention slavery), and that our ancestors in Sheba didn't put up with the nightmare economic order we have been under for the last two millenia. So Moneta belongs under Sheba, morally, literally and figuratively.