Ma-Afrika amahle: we take pride in claiming Ubuntu yet we don’t live it in our everyday lives. Ubuntu is about finding your humanity through others. I am because you are. Without each other we are lost. We are nothing. We only exist as a collective. We are constantly fighting to “get out” and move away because we think that will make us better than those who we’ve left behind. We forget that all (wo)men are created equally. Your money, house, cars, etc don’t make you any better than the next person. Your value on this Earth should not be measured by how much you have but rather how much you have been able to give. It doesn’t have to be money it could even be hope.
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t hustle. Money is not inherently evil. I believe in working hard and enjoying the pleasures life brings us. I like nice things. I want to live in a nice house and I want a garden. I want to go to fancy restaurants. I want to travel. I want to be president. I dream big. I also want to ensure that every child, regardless of where they come from, can look at themselves and see the endless possibilities. I want race, sex, class, religion, gender, ability, language, age, sexuality, etc to be arbitrary characteristics of a person (a fun-fact if you will) and not the determining factor for how their life turns out. Am I asking for too much? Is my dream for Africa impossible in my lifetime? I don’t think so but even if it is, I will work as hard as I can to ensure that I achieve at least a fraction of it.
Ma-Afrika amahle, anikakhathali ukuthathwa kancane? How much longer will we be satisfied with mediocrity? A matric and an undergrad mean very little these days. Popping bottles and the latest kicks mean nothing. Where are the Honours, the Master’s and the PhDs? And for the people that are more technical or skills-based, where are the success stories from FETs? What are successful black people doing to give back to their communities? Where are the bursaries and scholarships? Where is the funding? Where is the support? Where is the support for entrepreneurs?
If we are to take back this country, from the self-serving capitalists who are hiding behind a socialist manifesto, why are we not doing enough? It is one thing to point out the obvious privileges that we don’t have but it is another to actually take steps to ensure that, even if the scales are not in our favour, we still stand a fighting chance.
I know that black tax is a real thing and sending money home to educate and support the sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, gogos, etc is an obligation (because UBUNTU) and we should always Khumbul’Ekhaya BUT… we should ensure that we also invest. It is not enough for us to strive to get out of the “lokshini”. Our mission should be to change our OWN communities into districts that thrive and compete with the CBDs. Why should people waste 45 minutes every morning travelling to work in the city when our own communities could provide job opportunities? Why can I name the kasi “hotspots” like Mzoli’s, Max’s Lifestyle Tavern and Eyadini Lounge? Why aren’t there more? Why do we feel the need to take our money elsewhere?