The Black Middle Class Illusion
Post-Apartheid South Africa has established a new classification of its own citizens by their economic status, talk of a confused country, by now there should be a balance between the Rich and Poor or attempts to achieve it, but nooo!! It’s rather used as a tool to measure who is the target market. One can quote Steve Biko and question if the struggle had direction or if someone along the lines forgot about such directions and formulated their own direction. Let us leave politics to politicians.
I personally envisioned my life amongst these thick lines of a predetermined future portrayed to every young person as the dream life. Do you want to afford a house in the suburb and drive in a fancy car, of course every young person will jump at that opportunity.
Allow me to introduce you to the BLACK MIDDLE CLASS, it is no accident that I used the “black” in my description as the unfortunate history we have, created a permanent division between black economy and white economy. It is also sad to introduce this class as affording instead of owning, do you earn R16000.00 – R50 0000.00 per month then you are part of the middle class. Renting a house or flat in the suburb or struggling to pay the bond every month. Why was this new definition of a better poor person adopted? One can argue this was an effort to shift the focus from balancing the wealth distribution issue affecting our country’s economy. Hence a new fallacy was created indeed a good marketing strategy. Create a suburb for them convince them they can afford to stay there, offer them a hand in sinking them into more debts and blame them for being buried in debts.
Why was this new definition of a better poor person adopted?
The truth is the real middle class is in fact classified as the well-off class. What is the actual middle between 0 and 100? So how come a person earning 16 be classified as being in the middle, maybe we don’t have middle class yet or the figures are too embarrassing to be shared.
Who stays in the suburb? How do we classify that guy we saw cruising in a 335i convertible? Why do creditors offer extensions on their packages getting an offer to pay a 5 years installment in 7 years?
Everyone’s eyes will lit up at the mention of a R40 000.00 monthly pay check. It isn’t bad is it?
Well now include the expenses from house repayment, car, petrol, grocery and some of the common standards that characterize middle class. He receives pressure from his peers and society to move out of the township and, buy (owe) a house he actually can’t afford in the middle class new developments estate, and buy a car that will set him apart from everyone. That sound pretty much like success (the kind society has forced down our throats), but it isn’t.
If he were to lose his job they are going to repossess his house and car, who is they? The real owners of those properties, the very same ones that told him he afford them even though they knew very well he will be left with nothing to invest. Everyone can lose their job but the question becomes how long can you survive without income while maintaining the same lifestyle? That is the overlap between how much you spend and how much you have, not how much you get per month. Trying to create a life style that is independent of the next pay check.
Let me tell you what a genius will do, set a lifestyle that is not heavy on his income. Invest as much as he can, and set up an emergency account that has an amount that equals 6 times his monthly pay. This emergency account can also be an investment since a lot of banks offer 30 days’ notice investment accounts.
The worst lie is being told you afford the kind of life style you don’t. Living a ‘Hennessy’ lifestyle on a ‘First Watch’ income is working against us , we are wealthy every month end and poor from every second week.
“Living a ‘Hennessy’ lifestyle on a ‘First Watch’ income is working against us”