What Black Economy?

11507 views | Mon, 23rd of August, 2021


I have been watching the Black economy debate with dismay and disappointment as I realized that black people don’t actually have a lived experience of ownership outside the white gaze and control. As we speak of the economy you can tell that we are not conscious of the system we have bought into, or rather the system which has bought us.

All our lives we are raised and taught to look for jobs, and not make them. To a point where we don’t know how to make our own jobs and thus create our own economy.

I watched with amusement as my people protected ‘our malls’ in the townships. They don’t even own one per cent of the mall but yeyi it was ‘our’ malls. They don’t even own the service providers that service the mall, they are just cleaners of the mall. Rupert and The Gang had a full on black army to protect their shops.

For those who do not understand, when you actually own the economy, you make money off it. The only people who own the economy are the ones getting dividends and market share. We are market share. We are not the owners, we are the market share. We are the cake that Rupert and The Gang have cut up.

On a grass roots level I realized that black people don’t realise that we are at the mercy of white people for our entire existence. They feed and clothe us and we take part in this oppression willingly.

I however couldn’t blame the people on the ground because maybe I could blame lack of education.

However, it was the educated blacks who made me cry. Imagine being educated and so clueless. I was excited to see a panel discussing the Black Economy, I trusted the platform because it was the educated and ‘black excellent. ‘ After two speakers I saved my data because I realised the black elite are the ones most inside the fairytale. They have a false sense of power and achievement. It was in this session that it dawned on me that not only do the Black Diamonds not have a clue about black economy but they are empty shells, with no ideas. They were the blacks that whites found palpable…. And it was clear why. Between the good English and the white narratives, I didn’t know where I was. I realised that these blacks, they themselves didn’t have a piece of the economy and thus didn’t know what the hell to contribute to the discussion. Because at family events they get treated like abo Grootman, they didn’t realise that actually, they brought nothing to the table. They had never run they own business’ from the scratch. The difference between our excellence and white excellence is that with white excellence we hear/read of the business when it was still in a garage or just one small shop. Our black excellence is comprised of people who were handed their wealth through BEE deals. Their power was created by positions not by skill and talent. Their power was created by white people, not themselves. It showed on that panel. They were good and well articulated blacks but they had NO CLUE on how to create a black economy. What was even worse, was watching them in the European garb and good English think they had an intellectual authority on the black economy but they were no different from the mall security guards.

And this brings me to the false advertising of black excellence. I warn you that I am going to use the brand Bonang as a case study. May we remember that brands are in the public domain and Noone can control how we interpret them. Just like I am allowed to have views on Coco Chanel, LV… I should be able to speak on local brands without being threatened with lawsuits. At this point I reserve all my rights.

A few years ago we were told Bonang had a champagne range. We as black people swallowed this up quickly despite us knowing black people don’t really have vineyards. We didn’t ask any questions. We had a new winemaker to celebrate. The media did EVERYTHING to promote the new sparkling wine, from print, to digital, to TV, white capital promoted this sparkling wine.

On researching the wine I found that it was a Woolworths wine by some white dude. It had always been on the shelves and wasn’t selling. Basically, they put the brand Bonang on it, to sell to a new market… blacks.

This is where white people fool us, they put our faces in the front while they make all the money. While the marketing will have the black woman loved by South Africa, the economy part of it, is going to Woolworths. It’s not Bonang trading as a public company in the JSE, it’s Woolworth.

We don’t ask questions, we just take in whatever the media feeds us. The white people who actually own these products are on the ground working, our black excellence seem to have a little too much time for social media, for people who own vineyards. They also don’t have the language and jargon of the industry. They are not speaking the language of entrepreneurs and business owners, they speak the language of influencers.

When you study marketing you learn that whatever you’re selling will need some marketing tools and gimmicks so people can buy the product. We are not the owners of the products, we are the gimmicks. Our bosses pay us for marketing their brand…. We don’t pay them.

So for as long as it’s not us creating the jobs and paying the salaries, we cannot claim black excellence. We are just very good slaves in South Africa and we must own it. This past month has proven it. The black economy doesn’t exist because even black people don’t know what it is or what it means.

You’re currently fighting over sneakers and kettles made in China with your names stuck on them. Nothing sustainable. You don’t even have factories, all you have is a PR plan for someone else product.

Dear black people knock knock…. Is anybody there?