A dear friend of mine the other day coerced me to buying shares in an exclusive hotel that is soon to be built. I must admit I was a bit skeptical however she nudged, and I budged. The process was emotionally gratifying and emancipating. I’ve always been adamant on us Africans being owners of trade, gone should be the days of servitude and financial slavery, where we dependent on the West for an empowered Africa. It is from this time Jesse Williams voice vibrates in my ear as he reiterates;
“Dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.”
His words a reminder of the dark cloud of brand addiction engulfing our society. The white veil, that was once bathed with purity, with fears that our blackness would taint it, has us financially blinded, as we walk this path towards financial deprivation. We have been left cash strapped knocking on loan sharks trying to make ends meet over papa le morogo (grits and greens) and every month we have debts chained to our necks suffocating us all in the name of being, ‘Trendy’.
“We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo. And we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment, like oil, black gold. Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius, and then trying us on like costumes, before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.” – Jesse Williams
In the ghettos, mothers exploited by their sons cashing in on the Carvela craze, that birthed the Izikhothane phenomenon. Dressing up our manes with weaves that costs more than the standard wage, the booze we drink has more to do with the price tag on the bottle, rather than taste lingering on our pallets.
“It’s our money and we can do with it, as we please,” you say. True, nothing wrong with that, but wouldn’t the idea of being a shareholder, sound sweeter. The black market in context is a huge chunk of spending power, yet majority of us are dangling on the lower level of the salary scale. Surviving from hand to mouth, with plastic urging us towards the finish line.
Surely, being able to afford these caliber of high end brands, is an affirmation, that we do possess the financial instruments to get in the investment ring. With punches being thrown from the West and East we have the will and possibility to hold our own as the African continent and it means projecting economic ideals that are pro African emancipation. This can only be achieved by breaking the walls of fraudulence and promoting entrepreneurship.
My belief is us urging ourselves towards financial freedom, where we build each other without undermining the other. By inhibiting the entrepreneurial spirit displayed by the Jews, Ethiopians, and Muslims. It will mean erasing the spirit of narcissism, individualism and rather work together as a collective.
There is black money and yes, there’s fear, however the unexpected is always gripped and riddled with a certain measure of anxiety. It can be done, but achieving this objective entails working together as a collective for us to reel ourselves from this oppressive mentality.
Great minds are a marvel when working together and we have both the ingenuity and tenacity to get it done. We need to be owners and not just players hence my respect for entrepreneurs like Meck Khalfan, David Thlale, Aliko Dangote, Khanyi Dhlomo, to name a few.
It all starts with an idea and each of us believing in each other to carry this vision forward. It’s all great to wear the red soles, drive the German sedan however there is so much greatness and pride in celebrating the made in Africa label. In doing so we emancipate ourselves, groom Africa to stand on her own and be a force to be reckoned with, within the global market. Yes Africa, it can be done, and we don’t have to start big but like I did, just a step at a time.