Seated beside me were a cabinet minister and a few of department staff members. To my astonishment, when I inquired about recommendations for a black dentist, they all proudly told me that they were unaware of any black dentists and that they were unable to see any because black practitioners have limited resources.
In answer, I questioned, “How do you expect resources from someone that you are not giving business to?”
I call this situation “miseducation of black children”.
The predicament of being asked to contribute what we don’t have affects most black people.
It’s all about choices in life.
Numerous black individuals have attended school, pursued higher education, and even ventured into the “correct” professional paths. And yet there are a great number of unemployed graduates, even after they made all the appropriate decisions. Sadly, decisions made in life do not always determine how things turn out for a person. The fortunate deal with the awareness that their decisions impact how their life turns out since they have more options.
For the majority in our culture, our success in life is determined by a variety of circumstances. We have to figureout how to fit into a system that was not designed with us or our situation in mind.
This was brought to light for me last week while I was reading comments on social media and listening to the news stories on Thabi Leoka’s alleged qualifications being misrepresented.
As a black woman, my heart hurts for her, and I’ve learned not to judge a situation until all the facts are known. Whatever the truth of it may be. I understand what it’s like to continually need to prove your abilities despite having a flawless record of accomplishment. Despite being free for thirty years, black people are still not given the benefit of the doubt.
Many of us would have achieved so much more if those who could help us weren’t the ones preventing us from succeeding. The fact that black people seem to hate who we are and are consequently against the ascent of anyone who looks like us is one of the most horrifying consequences of colonisation. Most black people quit doing business with black-owned firms as their status changed.
However, the tender system and the transformation programmes that have improved many people’s financial circumstances were made possible by the black administration that black people voted for. Nevertheless, they despise the same black people who elevated them.
It is well known that the majority of black enterprises only require black clients; they do not require capital. I am perfectly aware of the challenges this provides, but the challenges are what result from the hurdles. Although I do not minimise the challenges, there are simultaneously conflicting truths. It’s easy to think that we didn’t put up a decent fight when you’re not on the front lines of a conflict, as Africans say. The point I’m trying to make is we seem to take pride in seeing a black person fail, as though that validates and elevates us.
I am by no means releasing anyone from accountability and obligation. I will not tolerate fraud or deception in a country where corruption is rampant, and I will not tolerate mediocrity either. In fact, I say this all the time: as black people, we have the advantage, the wealth and the options to be anything except extraordinary.
While we condemn, judge, have opinions, and criticise as appropriate, let’s attempt to do a little more than just speak.
We may create the nation by confronting ubuntu problems by empathising with people rather than demolishing them when they have failed, especially in a country that is still working to heal the scars and correct the inequities of the past.
Keep in mind that all sinners have futures, and all saints have pasts.
- Masunga is a humanist media celebrity thinking leader and a sessional speaker at Wits Business School MBA lectures on African leadership.
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