This essay analyses the emergence and importance of multiple non-fungible kinds of US Dollars in the context of Zimbabwe’s multi-currency era (2009–2019). It does so to accomplish two related tasks. First, building on Bohannan’s classic distinction between conveyances and conversions, it highlights the dissolution and reconstitution of state money in Zimbabwe between 2007 and 2019 as characteristic of a ‘reconversioning’ of economic life. By the latter, I denote the irruption of incommensurabilities between different kinds of pecuniary media and the return of time- and place-specific thresholds or barriers to the smooth functioning of commerce. Second it unpacks the significant implications that this reconversioning has for received understandings of money’s fungibility. Ultimately, it argues that received notions of money’s (non-fungibility) that derive from modern ‘states-of-conveyance’ need to be supplemented with models that are capable of reckoning with ‘conversionary’ monetary environments.
- Zimbabwean dollar