We're used to people singing or rapping about the American Dollar - what people will do for it (Sweetest Girl - Wyclef ft. Akon, Lil Wayne & Niia), not having it and wanting it (I Need A Dollar - Aloe Blacc; Dollar and a Dream - J. Cole), or about having stacks of it (Dollar Bill - R. Kelly ft. Foxy Brown) - but we're not aware of anyone ever singing a straight, non-ironic ode to their country's currency.
The track is by Mr. Waar, a young South Sudanese artist who moved back from the States in 2010.
A man displaying new currency notes outside the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba last year
The South Sudanese Pound is the currency of the Republic of South Sudan, which became the world's newest country following the amicable split from Sudan (in the north) in July last year. The split was a long time coming, as the north and south had been engaged in one of Africa's longest running conflicts. So it wasn't altogether surprising that 99% of South Sudanese people voted for independence in the referendum over the matter, and that the split itself and the introduction of every element that symbolises a nation (flag, national anthem, currency, etc.) has been widely celebrated.
However, if you've been following the news recently, you'll be aware that there's still some tension between Sudan and South Sudan. The bone of contention is how to split the revenue from oil. 75% of all the reserves in the former Sudan are in South Sudan. However, the refineries and the pipeline to the Red Sea are in Sudan, thus the two countries need each other to survive.
In January, South Sudan shut down its production of crude oil in protest after Sudan started taking some of the oil passing through its pipelines in lieu of payments it believes it is owed for use of said pipelines.
South Sudan is more vulnerable to anything that affects the flow of oil since oil contributes about 98% of its revenue - and it is feeling the pain of its own shutdown - but three-quarters of former Sudan's export earnings came from oil from the south, so the northern country is hurting too. (It will be interesting to see how Sudan responds if South Sudan's joint venture with Kenya for an alternative export route becomes reality).
To further complicate matters, it is alleged that both countries support rebels in each others home patch.
And to complicate matters even further, the two countries are also at loggerheads over the Abyei Area, which borders the two countries and is claimed by South Sudan but is currently controlled by the northern Sudanese government.
All this is on top of the current trouble in Nuba, which you might have heard about "thanks" to George Clooney's involvement.
The non-Arabic Nuban people were historically allied to the south (the Southern People's Liberation Movement) in its fight for independence against the north, but after South Sudan’s independence found themselves just north of the new border, i.e. in hostile territory.
Now the government of Sudan (north) is bombing the Nuban people and opinions are divided on the reason for the bombardment: One view is that this is punishment for siding with the SPLM, and that this bombardment is looking very much like an attempt at genocide. The other view is that the Sudanese government is simply trying to put down the SPLM rebellion.
The expression 'cutting off the nose to spite the face' comes to mind. If only it were easy to drag the leaders of both countries to the bargaining table to ask, "What on earth do you both think you are doing!"
Anyway, you can check out more of Mr. Waar's videos HERE.