Katlego Modipane
Misunderstanding Mondays: Black is rich
07H48 MONDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2011


Joburg is full of them, young, black successful individuals driving expensive SUV’s  and coupes. Julius Malema, Kenny Kunene and Khanyi Mbau are just some of the examples that spring to mind. And you’ve probably asked yourself just how much they are worth. I can tell you this much without a doubt in my mind. They don’t  have nearly enough money for the cavalier lifestyles they portray...

Lets consult the stats. According to Forbes there are only 2 black people in the top 15 money list of South Africa and only one of them is a billionaire. We all know who that is. Patrice Motsepe is reportedly worth a staggering R23 billion ($2,4 billion) which, to put into perspective, is more than what Oprah is worth. But here is what is going to confuse you, most of the names on South Africa’s top 100 money list are unknown to you, especially the black individuals. Why is that? To answer that, we need to HD the global picture.

Worldwide, there is not one single black person in the top 60 of the wealthiest people in the world. In fact there are only 16 black people in the entire world who really qualify as wealthy. And in all fairness, not all of these 16 individuals are truly black, at least three of them have a black great grandfather or something to that effect. In fact black people all together own less than 1 percent of the world’s wealth. 1 Percent!

Chris Rock once famously indicated as part of a live show that a black person needs to do something incredible like be a top selling musical artist or have the biggest talk show in the world to live in his neighbourhood while a white person can be a dentist and still afford to stay there and live the lifestyle of the rich and famous, It seems then that the book, “Capitalist nigger” is a lot more relevant than we ever imagined. The book asserts that black people are economic products rather than economic producers. This is rather strange as Africa has some of the most in-demand raw materials in the world. I tend to agree with this assertion. I too believe that the overwhelming majority of black people are poor, that a fair percentage gets by and that a really small percentage are rich. Not wealthy, rich.

A quick look at the wealthiest people in the world will reveal this beautiful truth. Wealth comes from the ownership or trading of raw materials such as diamonds or platinum, media (think Harpo productions or CNN), construction and property, and retail or manufacturing. Lets go back to the young black individuals we first spoke about, do they own a significant share of any of these things? Clearly we need to start relooking our investments, refocusing our energies and helping each other reach new pinnacles of success rather than gallivanting in Lamborghinis which are in danger of being repossessed at any moment. We need to find mentors who can educate and train black young bright people. We need self reliance systems that focus on empowering black people beyond Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment ( BBBEE) and Affirmative Action (AA) or Employment Equity (EE). Still in the dark? When was the last time you saw an Asian person driving anything other than a Lexus, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Kia or Hyundai? When was the last time you caught a white person reading Daily Sun? Daily Sun by the way, is the biggest newspaper in South Africa by far and its owner or inventor is white but its a sub-grade tabloid publication aimed for the black market...

Sources: The Richest, MG, Wikipedia and Forbes

Photography: Khumbelo  

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  1. +

    Completely agree. well said

  2. +

    Real talk. I think a particular issue we have in black culture is foresight. We seek immediate gratification/ release from historic/economic shackles.

    I may be wrong but a lot of rich/wealthy people inherited their wealth, but they were taught to manage it as well. We need to create Old Money

  3. very true.

  4. +
    Katlego Modipane

    Cheers to creating old money!

  5. +

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