Flashion

I have heard it said before that one will rarely find bookshops at malls situated in areas inhabited predominantly by black people, in South Africa, and maybe by extension, all of Africa. This statement lends me to ask a question to my fellow black African folk: given a choice to either buy a book(s) or a
Carvela
, which option would you go for? Feel free to respond via the comments section.

 
While choosing a Carvella, LV, Gucci etc, over a book is not in a bad thing in itself, I would like to think that a lot of you will get my point. If not, then maybe the following scenario will paint a vivid picture.
Luvuyo (not his real name), a university graduate with a relatively well-paying job, has a seemingly promising future. Those who know him will attest to his very expensive taste in clothing, and the fact that he always drives the latest “top of the range” Golf. He lives and works in the Cape Town city center, with a lot of his down time spent splurging at fancy hangouts in the city.

 
Unpacking Luvuyo’s budget reveals the fact he actually has no budget for such an extravagant lifestyle. What is worse is that his bank statements show him dipping into his overdraft every month. Luvuyo is incurring debt (also known as money that is not ours) to finance an asset (which in fact is a liability) whose interest is at a premuim rate of 18%.

 

Now, my fellow Africans, what is wrong with this picture? Kanye West, in one of his songs, talks about how he has always had a passion for flashing. I would like to think that this statement is somewhat true for a lot of us black folk in that we tend to “over invest” in things that will not necessarily improve our livelihood.

 

Upon further investigation, it would seem to me that this phenomenon exhibited by a lot of our people is based on our perception (or more appropriately, misperception) of social identity. We believe that our consumption habits determine our value in society. It therefore comes as no surprise that we are often more concerned about “kotini” than we are about investing in things that will ensure a fairly comfortable future for ourselves and our families, thereby uplifting our communities.

 

This change in mindset is especially imperative because this system of things is such that we (blacks) are often taking off on the back foot, where a lot of things are concerned. This is the reality.

 

Therefore, as a means to hopefully get you all started on working towards acquiring wealth, I leave you with The Rich Dad aka Robert Kiyosaki’s 15 Must Have Financial Education Lessons . I found this resource to be quite enlightening. As those in the Twittersphere would say #StayWoke

Then and now…

In my last blog post I related what an epiphany my trip to Poland had brought on. Further to the point on “getting with the times”, I would like to pick your brains further around some then and now scenarios.

As parents, we [with good intent] sometimes try to live or perpetuate the life we either missed out on or were “successful” in, through our children. This is often evident in such cases where politicians beget politicians, lawyers beget lawyers, athletes beget athletes, and so on.

For a lot of parents whose childhood was lived in the pre independence era, the dream is often for the children to become doctors, teachers or for them take up one of the professions that have been around since yester year and can be found on the “you’ve made it when you are..” list.

Drawing a parallel from Prince Ea’s “dissing” the education system, is it not equally an injustice to have the expectation that our children aspire to what we deem to be virtuous lives and career paths, in these vastly different times that we live?

Surely nowadays, having a large family is no longer commonplace or encouraged for that matter, even in African families, correct?

Is it not tyrannical that some companies still provide pension plans, as opposed to provident funds? While these plans may have been relevant in the past, where people actually stayed at one company until they retired, what one person in what is called the Generation Y actually stays in one job for anything more than 5-7 years at most? Show me one person, and I’ll ask you “Y”?

In conclusion, let me just emphasize that I am not “dissing” the attempts of well-meaning parents to help their children live out their best lives. We, as parents just need to be careful that we do not beget children that grow up to be dissatisfied adults who spend the majority of their adult lives thinking “What if?”.

Note to self: perhaps I should embrace my three year olds love for beat boxing and start investing in a drum set.