Times are tough but just pay your black tax share

Extending support for family is an African culture

In Summary

• I have seen my mother survive and still up till today, she is paying her black tax even though she wasn’t a beneficiary

• I have never benefitted from black tax but I feel like if I am in a space where I can do something, I do it

I am a victim of black tax. You are a victim of black tax. Almost everyone is a victim of black tax.

A friend of mine, Selina, once said, “Paying black tax is as African as paying bride price or dowry.”

It now comes down to whether it is a must that you and I pay for it or not.

I believe it is a matter of choice but at the same time, it wouldn’t hurt to return a favour or show support.

This is if you positively benefited from black tax.

In this day and age, everyone can attest that we are living in tough times, seriously tough financial times.

One of my friends said living in Kenya is an extreme sport.

“Kukimbizana na hii economy, unahitaji tu glucose yako na chupa ya maji.”

Someone recently asked if I was going to go to the village any time soon.

I said no because I know I am not in a stable financial position to be going to the village every now and then.

I was there a few months ago, and I have not planned to go back yet.

To the people living upcountry, they do not care what it is exactly you do in the city.

When you travel, you automatically become a contributor to all extents.

Support is almost never negotiated.

If you were raised in an African home, you do know that responsibilities are shared.

Our parents were just heroes in their own way because with as little as Sh30,000, they managed to educate and watch over their siblings, raise a home and still educate us and give us what we needed.

Some had something less than Sh30,000 as an income and it even helped to raise relatives' children.

Times then and now are, however, very different.

I share the same thoughts as Selina when I say that if you benefitted from the goodwill of family that was in the form of black tax, then just pay back in goodwill or pay forward.

I have seen my mother survive and still up till today, she is paying her black tax even though she wasn’t a beneficiary.

I have never benefitted from black tax, but I feel like if I am in a space where I can do something, I do it so that my mother doesn’t have to.

Some of the members from my extended family do pay up on their part as well.

I was talking to a couple of colleagues in the office and one of them said, “Paying black tax is a must.”

“Based on our culture and African setting, whether you have or have never gained from it, you have to pay black tax.”

Despite the tough economic times, it is imperative to remember that there are people who have no one else to look up to for support.

If you are fortunate, don’t feel burdened to help family out. Besides, it’s family.

“I don’t have friends, I have family,” Dom Toretto famously said in the 'Fast and Furious' franchise.

There are points in life where you will not have friends, but family is always there. I think you get the context.

But remember as in the words of Sgt Tanner from the same franchise, “There’s all kinds of family, and that’s a choice you will have to make.”

In this context, we are talking about blood.

Hey, you are also free to decided not to pay black tax and not feel guilty about it.

You might be having your reasons and it is acceptable.

If you are paying up, remember times are tough for everyone. Do not complain; buckle up and find your way around.

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