CAPITALIST VALUES

CAPITALIST PSYCHE

 

Capitalist values of individualism, selfishness and greed have taken over the psyche of people across all classes, especially blacks.
There are far too few blacks that espouse or practice the much vaunted Ubuntu that supposedly expresses African humanism.
It is now every man or family for himself and South Africa for those who can get what they can for themselves.
The sharing of resources or redistribution of the wealth is a thing of the past.
While few blacks continue to share resources with families and relatives – including during festive season – the spirit of sharing has greatly diminished.
This happens at a time when the number of black middle class has increased and more blacks can share and spread resources.
There is not better example of this than the absence of educational institutional where blacks show a willingness for racial uplift.
Instead monied blacks would rather spend R200 000 for a single child at an elite private school than spread that among 20 children at a reasonable Model C school.
While blacks driving vehicles that cost almost R1-million will return as super-achievers and heroes to their dilapidated communities in the township and rural areas, they don’t spend time and resources to improve infrastructure in the communities that produced them.

 

Instead, blacks that establish schools to address the education crisis are foreigners who are persecuted for allegedly running fly by night schools.
It is clear to those with eyes to see that economically well off blacks have no time for their fellow human beings.
The capitalist values and ethics of individualism, greed, selfishness and pursuing self interest have convinced blacks that it is not necessary to share in the communal sense of Ubuntu.
This is in contrast to pre-1994 times when Blacks were condemned to live and support each other because of the Group Areas Act, among other oppressive laws.
It was easier to pretend to pledge or practice black solidarity and espouse rethorical black unity.
Also, to be seen as sharing and showing an outgoing concern for fellow blacks provided a measure of social protection.
It also helped to gloss over the inherent class differences that have always been part of black division.
But once white government repealed racist laws, blacks did not hesitate to show their true colours: dark and black!
Once they could move to live where they wanted, they did not hesitate to turn their backs to abandon illusionary blackness based on skin colour.
There is now, increasingly, clear class divisions in the black community that separates and divides the privileged from the underdogs.
The false bonds of black solidarity and unity have, at last, been shattered.
The desire is to assimilate into white mainstream society to entrench and promote capitalist values.
Worse, the only time privileged blacks will tolerate being in the same space with black poor is at family gatherings like funerals, weddings and other familial functions.
Otherwise there is a strong thick line that divides the black community according to class now, even at family gatherings.

 

Those from the suburbs with fancy degrees from Ivy League, designer labels and cars from Europe are given preferential treatment.
Blackness defined by skin colour as espoused by the likes of Andile Mgxitama and Jimmy Manye has been thrown into turmoil.
Instead, privileged blacks who have embraced capitalist values do not hesitate to display the same contempt to the black poor.
The connectedness to capitalism does not define brotherhood in terms of giving but what one can get at a cheaper price from the other.
It is a system of domination based on better-than-thou values.
But the self proclaimed exponents of blackness like Mgxitama and Manye do not want to call attention to class and how this has shattered the myth of black unity and solidarity in a pro apartheid society.
For privileged blacks, their class position has helped smoothed up opportunities to integrate into the supremacist capitalist system.
As a result, for them the priority struggle is not the fight against class differences in the black community but racism.
For the privileged integration into a supremacist capitalist system is more worthwhile that demanding radical changes to the unjust economic system.
Thus over-the last 25 years the black middle class – whatever black means – is eager to orchestrate transformation that closes the gap with whites than forge closer relations with black people.

 

In fact, the inequality gap I’m within black African community is the biggest in the land.
Indeed, black achievement and advancement is in relation to integration into a white capitalism.

 

There is now enough evidence to confirm that the apartheid strategy of divide and rule has shifted from the ethnic paradigm to class.

 

In fact, class divisions are to be found in all tribal and or ethnic groups.
So when black activists talk about racism and desire to confront the much vaunted ‘white monopoly capital,’ they are not interested in addressing the increasing economic inequality in the black society.
Capitalism breeds economic injustice and perpetuates inequality thus making it difficult for social cohesion to take place.
But the preoccupation and obsession with racism in the black psyche makes it easy to condone the economic system.
However, it is increasingly becoming difficult to explain black solidarity and black unity as political concepts when the inequality gap is so glaring.
The capitalist values and ethics of individualism have had an adverse effect on black unity.
The likelihood of black solidarity and unity has now been permanent thrown into the dustbin of history. It does not make sense to babies born in 1994.

• Sandile Memela is a writer, cultural critic and public servant. He writes in his personal capacity.

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