South Africa, with a population of over 57 million people, almost 80% of whom are Black, is one of the most unequal societies in the world, to the detriment of Black citizens.
The gaps between the rich and poor are increasing rapidly as the cost of living persists in strangling the have-nots, most of whom are Black. Add to the mix the jobs crisis, with over six million active job seekers unable to secure employment, plus the absence of funding and support for small businesses and the barriers that exclude Black people from entering and thriving in formal business sectors and becoming the leaders and controllers of the economy.
It truly is astounding that in a majority Black country, all of the prosperity belongs to the minority. The land, the expensive properties, the multi-billion rand businesses, the lucrative construction contracts, the mining, the farming, the retail, the healthcare industry – literally everything. Almost every space that Black people in this country occupy is owned and/or controlled by white people.
Bringing it closer to home, being Black in South Africa means that you’re likely to be paid less than white peers, your insurance will be higher than your white counterparts and you will be charged higher interest rates for almost everything. The quality of healthcare that you receive will be compromised because medical practitioners are predisposed to not listening to Black patients, putting our lives at risk daily – literally.
You walk into a store and suspicious eyes follow your every move. You go to any taxi rank and it’s teeming with exhausted Black people who are forced to leave home at insane hours to make it to work on time, thanks to apartheid zoning. Maybe they should move closer to their place of work or buy a car, right? Most will never be able to afford either, something that most white folks can’t ever imagine being subjected to.
And then there’s taxi strikes which affect Black people’s ability to get to work, and white colleagues just “can’t understand why they couldn’t make another plan”. Or when passive aggressive comments are made about needing time off work for family emergencies, but if a white colleague’s cat needs the vet, everybody totally gets needing time off.
What about food quality? Have you seen the difference in quality of food and the general quality of stores in predominantly white areas vs. Black communities? And service delivery? And access to emergency services?
There is no way that any white person can ever ask why everything must be about race. Every single aspect of our lives is impacted by the fact that we are Black. And trying to derail the conversation by claiming Black people don’t have wealth because we “drive BMW’s and go to Taboo” is lazy and qwhite typically arrogant. Also, it’s BS.
And to the Black folk who are tired of talking about race, wake TF up. This war isn’t happening around you. It’s happening to you, too.