Being an African child can be a challenge on its own. You can have a budget but there is always going to be that catergory called “Other”. In that category, you must pay your untold taxes called black tax.
For a few of us that are not aware of what black tax is ( please read it here). Well this month could not get any worse. I had just come from a 1 week visit home and as expected, I had to leave food in the house and contribute here and there. Do not get me wrong I love being home and this sharing and caring attitude is what makes Africa unique. Like they say, it takes a village to raise a child, thus if it was not for this sharing attitude some if us would have not made it out of school.
Anyhow back to the issue, this months I had to pay a few taxes:
- My family needed firewood for the months. They did not need to explicit ask for money to buy it but seeing how my cousins at home struggle with firewood to cook dinner triggered me to buy a bakkie worth of firewood to the value of N$600
- My niece and nephew are also home and they need to have lunch daily so I left a 10kg of rice, 10kg of sugar and a 10kg of Maize meal. That was roughly N$ 300
- Yesterday my uncle called wondering if I could help him because his car is parked and he need money to repair. This I respectfully turned down because that part of giving for the month was exhausted.
- This morning, something in my spirit thought about my fellow orphaned cousin and I decided to bless her with cosmetics and food money. The little I had I shared N$400.
- Just when I thought I had my fair share, aunt called, an uncle is admitted in the hospital and she would really love to go pay him a visit. The hospital is far from home and transport will cost roughly N$120. I gave N$200
- Than my mum ( hopefully the last request), is struggling to keep up with the pig feed since her pig gave birth to 8 piglets and she has a few other and one that is still expecting. I had to add to her feed money ( I must ask her to give me one piglet). N$ 350 gone.
This is just one month of many and although sometimes I do not give, when I have and when its within my budget, I gladly give.
But with the current economic times, I am really choosing to give where my dollar will have the most impact. The first 2 giving were to enhance the welfare of my family and to keep my niece and nephew excited about school. Less time looking for firewood will free up their capacity to study and finding rice from school will make them excited to help around the house ( and hopefully water my plants:)).
I refused my uncle because that is not an emergency. This is where you need to learn to not make other people’s emergencies your crises ( sorry uncle). For someone that works and makes a living from the car, he should learn to put aside money for in case the car breaks down. If he had come at the different time where my charity jar was still full (read it here), I would have helped but 2 weeks after payday, I am running low on that.
Without my contribution, my cousin could drop out of varsity and the poverty chain will just continue. Hence this is to help break the cycle of poverty at home.
And finally, my mum is in the business of selling pigs. Although hers is not a 100% business, she does sell pigs when she finds a buyer and that helps her feed the family. I am just sustaining her operation.
Total cost spent in one month: N$1850. This is a pretty good month but do the math . It will add up.
I am not writing this because I want to expose my family nor my giving but I need you to starting giving black tax the right way. If you are stuck where to give run it past the following questions:
- Do you have the money? If not, say no to the request. Do not give money you do not have ( i.e do not borrow to give). This is called budgeting and sticking within your budget.
- Is it an emergency ? If yes theirs or yours? Could they have anticipated it ( like my uncle and the car) or its a natural cause ( my other uncle getting sick and someone needing money to go visit? ). This is now planning and having an contingency plan for a rainy day.
- Will it enhance value or help breaking the chain of poverty in my family? This is called investments.
- Am I cultivating the dependency snyndrome? “Cuz send me a ka$200 man?” Type of request. And this is emancipation.
And lastly remember that your giving should not always be monetary. Your presence at an occasion can also be a settlement. And you are just one, you cannot help everyone but that does not mean you must not help someone.
Ps. All images used in the articles are taken on my most recent vacation home.