As you struggle through your university years on a tight budget and working hard at your part time job, you will no doubt be looking forward to a time when you are earning a much more impressive salary and no longer have to worry about making ends meet. That is until you realise that the responsibility of Black Tax is still very much a reality and that a sizeable portion of your salary will need to go towards helping your relatives. Often, it is these relatives who have made it possible for you to attend university in the first place, after all. Or, at the very least, who have been there to support you emotionally throughout the journey.
Some people feel proud to be able to pay Black Tax and assist their family members in living better lives. However, there are others who feel that it is a burden and resent the fact that they, themselves, don’t always benefit from their own hard work.
Real opinions from real South Africans
Nosivatho Mkalipi is a young South African who tries to look at Black Tax objectively.
“Some people feel good about paying Black Tax and I respect them. Most of their parents didn’t have the opportunities my parents had, others didn’t use the opportunities that were presented to them, while there’s a few who just want to suck their kids dry as an entitlement,” says Nosivatho Mkalipi. “I’m not against it. However, I am happy that my mother (my surviving parent) didn’t subject me to it and I will not subject my children to it either. Having said that, I am still teaching my daughter to help when there is a need to do so. She will not be financially responsible for anyone other than her immediate family.” she adds.
There are many South Africans who are neither for nor against Black Tax, but who rather accept the fact that, in many cases, it is a necessity. “If you don’t help out at home, who will?” comments Kasienova Lycan.
A new generation of students?
Some younger South Africans, including a number of young students, claim that the culture of Black Tax will end with their generation, swearing that they will not expect their children to support them one day in the same way that they are expected to. Mduduzi Mweshe is one of those individuals. “My children will never experience Black Tax. I’m doing all that I can to succeed now in order to ensure that they start from somewhere, not from nothing like me. Children are not investments.”
However, others feel strongly about the fact that Black Tax is not a burden or a responsibility, but rather the act of doing good and helping other people whenever and however you can.
Zabilon Ngwato explains: “I think Black Tax is Ubuntu. I know of guys driving AMGs and GTIs while their siblings and parents sleep on empty stomachs. I want the best for my kids, but I will never teach them not to help those in need if they are able to.”
Penny Lesco Kobedi feels similarly stating, “Why is helping family called “Black Tax”? How can one save and not provide for their family? Will you let your family suffer or go to bed hungry when you are saving 5k a month and not giving them anything? I honestly don’t see anything wrong with helping out your family. The labelling needs to stop.”
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