Kenyan designer dares CBK to unveil 'real notes' as sketches go viral

New Kenyan currency that Radio Africa's Dicky Hockie designed for fun.
New Kenyan currency that Radio Africa's Dicky Hockie designed for fun.

Radio Africa's Dicky Hockie did not expect as much attention as he has received when he attempted designing new notes for Kenya.

It was "trial and error", the digital department employee says, but there has been excitement on social media.

"I got the idea after seeing leaked notes designed a few weeks ago.

I thought they could be better so I noted down the idea and worked on them during the Christmas break," he says.

/Dicky Hockie

In an interview on Thursday, Dicky says he did it for fun and that he did not have sketches of bank notes.

"It was completely trial and error. I had never done this before so it was a combination of thorough research and guess-work."

But the 30-year-old said his designs were a major improvement from what the country currently uses.

"I liked them.

I am an artist ... a graphic designer ... I wasn't joking. I really tried to make the best-looking notes I could ... I did the designs in my free time just for fun."

Dicky is also a creative strategist by day and co-founder of

by night.

"In both my roles, I am able to do artistic work almost all the time so I'm in a good place as an artist."

/Dicky Hockie

Message to Kenyans

The designs have pictures of wildlife and athletes, tourism and athletics being two of Kenya's top sectors.

Of these choices, the designer says: "Putting a fisi (hyena) on the notes is funny but I really don't think we should do it just for laughs."

Dicky, who shared the designs on social media on Wednesday, notes: "This is not legal tender and it is not sanctioned by CBK or the government."

His designs bear close resemblance to international currencies such as the Euro and may have piled pressure for CBK to do a good job.

They are also smaller in size.

/Dicky Hockie

Kenyans on Twitter who liked the notes said it is time for the country to move from faces and concentrate on Kenya's strongholds.

On the Sh40 coin is former President Mwai Kibaki and on notes is a picture of founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Second President Daniel Moi is on coins including Sh20 and Sh10.

"New Kenya currency notes look awesome," said Twitter user '@mykfrost'.

Evo MarX noted similarities to the Euro and said the designs were lovely and of good quality.

Mathia Ssemanda wanted to know more about the timelines for the currency switch.

"We here in Uganda can borrow a leaf. Our currencies, except for the Sh50,000 note,

are ugly."

/Dicky Hockie

Abala Kinyua wrote:

"Looks nice. I love ... but security features must be increased ... looks easy to duplicate."

Dicky thanked the public for their comments on what he terms a "truly Kenyan" project.

"I am not famous. I am however glad that Kenyans appreciated the project and began to reflect on what they consider truly Kenyan," he says.

He says he would be astonished if Central Bank adopted the designs but adds he would take the opportunity to contribute.

"That would be an incredible surprise and I would be honoured to contribute."

/Dicky Hockie

New features coming soon

CBK governor Patrick Njoroge said the new generation currency will be issued before the end of May 2018.

The switch was to take place in September last year but the August 2015 constitutional deadline was missed.

Following the passing of the 2010 constitution, CBK was mandated with spearheading the production and roll-out of the new money.

The constitution prohibits the use of a person’s portrait on currencies so the upgrades will have new features.

The new-look notes should also be fashioned to enable the visually-impaired to use them. They are expected to be in notes of Sh50, Sh100, Sh200, Sh500 and Sh1,000.

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