Edited by Niq Mhlongo and published in by Jonathan Ball Publishers Black Tax: Burden or Ubuntu? is a book that addresses the everyday life of Black South Africans. It aims to provide a better understanding of the social, economic, and political organisation of those affected by ‘black tax’ and who are no longer willing to be trapped within its confines. As the Contributors of the book agree, the ‘black tax’ is a reality for nearly every Black South African, ranging from young adults who are building a home for their parents to people offering their homes to distant family members. In short, Black Tax: Burden or Ubuntu? shows how Black South African even at a young age are as soon as they start earning money seen as the rescuers for their families living in poverty.
The collection emphasises the way in which young people are forced to put their family before their own dreams and needs, pushed into for example studying something that the family expects will gain them the highest salary later. At this point the book takes an intersectional approach, discussing the double suffering of Black Women in the South African Society as a result of both the ‘black tax’ and patriarchy. Discussing the topics of debt, inequality and guilt connected with the ‘black tax’ while focussing on families of middle-class income households. Concurrently paying ‘black tax’ is portrayed as a takeover of governmental responsibility as a form of social security and income redistribution.
As it is a torment for some and a proud responsibility for others the contributors investigate not only the historical roots of the ‘black tax’ but also the concept of the Black family and the Black middle class. Hoping to start the dialogue about this widespread social phenomenon, Black Tax: Burden or Ubuntu? is a must-read for everyone interested it in roots and impact.