The burden of black tax

Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images
Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images

Khumo Mogagole feels like she’s paying her mother for giving birth to her.

Every black person knows how it goes: there’s the normal tax every South African citizen has to pay then there’s black tax – the burden of having to share your salary with every family member until you have nothing left to save or invest. Frankly, you’re lucky if you have anything left to carry you into the next month.

Khumo (24), a Grade 5 maths teacher at Horizon Primary School in Roodepoort, has only been working for three months but she’s already like the breadwinner at home.

“I do everything – from buying groceries to paying for the DStv and even giving my domestic worker mom money to go to work. What’s more frustrating is my older sister is unemployed but she doesn’t help out at home. When I come back from work I’m expected to cook, how does that make sense?” Khumo tells DRUM.

“Even my brother is being selfish. He’s doing his second year and NSFAS is funding him, just like it funded me, but now because he has a sister who works he wants to live a lavish life. He wants to wear the best clothes and just live that life – at my expense!

“When I was a student, not so long ago, I didn’t live the life he wants me to fund. And I figured now that I’m working I can at least buy myself that weave I’ve always wanted, those sneakers and other things,” Khumo admits.

She stresses that she knows she’s not the only one going through this, “every black person knows what I’m talking about”.

The situation has gotten to the point where she wants to move out and rent a place.

“I want to do this so I can finally enjoy my money. I mean, I don’t want to slay or anything hectic I just want to be able to enjoy my hard-earned money. Surely that’s not asking for too much,” she says. 

When sharing her frustrations with some of her friends, they tell her she should’ve moved out long ago – to avoid this crippling situation.

As a black professional, however, there’s always some family who’ll need your help.

So what do you: continue giving or just stop and let your family stand on their own feet?

Let us know your thoughts!

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