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Black Tax: Burden or Ubuntu?

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  28 reviews

‘The real significance of this book lies in the fact that it tells us more about the everyday life of black South Africans. It delves into the essence of black family life and the secret anguish of family members who often battle to cope.’ – Niq Mhlongo

A secret torment for some, a proud responsibility for others, ‘black tax’ is a daily reality for thousands of black South

Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published September 12th 2019 by Jonathan Ball
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  135 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Claire Hondo
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book Review: Black Tax Burden or Ubuntu???
The untold feelings of black culture-Black Tax the good, the bad and the ugly

It took me a week to read this because I had so many mixed feelings towards this topic. I understand it from all its angles. "The thing is, many people, regardless of their race or background, support their families, but the difference lies in whether its a choice. Some choose to help, others have to" i think this brings out the clear definition of the black tax culture, were y
Zinhle Ngidi
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it

As an over 40 black female in this country, everything touched in this book, I have experienced. From accepting not to get what you want because you are over 10 kids in one household and there is one or two people working to support all of you, receiving assistance from distant relatives and some community members as you are on your way to fulfill your dreams, working and having to look back and support home, getting married and having to look back and support home. This is all what as a black p
Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
'The real significance of this book lies in the fact that it tells us more about the everyday life of black South Africans. It delves into the essence of black family life and the secret anguish of family members who often battle to cope.' –@niq.mhlongo

This anthology brings together a diverse choir of voices that sing at different tempos about Black Tax. It is a rich hymn of the myriad ways in which we experience the song of Black Tax.

The melodies of these pages have Voices writing about Black T
Chiseke Chiteta
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An interesting read.

I came to know about this book through a Zambian book readers 'club' Twitter account. Every week, someone runs the account (what is called curating) and poses different questions about books and all. Though this book is written in the context of South Africa, as a Zambian I could relate with the various essays in the book. I believe every other African would relate as there is a similarity in cultures. This is an interesting topic and I am glad someone thought of putting it u
Rolland Simpi Motaung
Great books that will make one angry, sad and proud all at once

Angry due to the realization of how ego drives some people to feel entitled to be given credit all the time, how they are entitled to your salary and even your soul

Sad, because we live in a socioeconomic context that has broken apart family structures and communal notions of helping one another, instead we have turned to be individualistic, arrogant and egoistic.

Proud, that some people have been (still are) rooted in ubuntu/humility
This book gets repetitive very quickly. I was on page 106 and thought but if this book doesn’t change gears I might not finish it. The cover asks the question is black tax a burden or Ubuntu yet most, if not all the essays (all 26 of them) are geared towards it being “Ubuntu” with no one giving an OPPOSING VIEW of its burdensome nature (with people having committed suicide as a result of carrying the burden of BLACK TAX) and how new ways can be sought to try and uplift the black family. It shoul ...more
M. R Phora
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: project-40-reads
I find the coinage of term "black tax" offensive, it's Ubuntu and basis of black culture. However the concept needs a thorough planning for black economy's sake. ...more
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because so many of the stories are very relatable. There are some parts of the book that left me frustrated like when some of the authors used the essays to discuss if black tax should be called that, that the name had a negative connotation. I felt like that was an unnecessary argument to have because they should have rather used their essays to discuss whether it was a burden or ubuntu, as the title of the book suggests... even if it was called white tax, or family tax, or ...more
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book is a collection of essays from different authors relating/regarding the 'Black tax' topic and what each person thinks of it basically.

Each author has a story to tell and each story even though somewhat similar in motive to many others, are unique to each family/individual. Some would believe it to be a burden while others would see it as a continuation of a legacy to keep the African family going. It's ubuntu to some and a burden to others.

Some authors are also recipients of said blac
Rirhandzu Rissenga
I could relate so much with the stories that most people shared in this book. The key takeaway from the book is the definition around black tax and most contributors really said that to actually give it such a term of “black tax” sounds so wrong some referred to it as Ubuntu, Compassion, helping other family members out of poverty, the art of investing. I liked what Niq Mhlongo suggested we should call it “family upliftment” because to most of us that’s the only form to help each other out of po ...more
Tsholo Molopyane
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Growing up I thought I had it really tough ....then I read this book and realize that some of my fellow black people have had it harder and against all odds they managed to make something of themselves.

This book left me with mixed emotions...inspired, extremely angry at the challenges that black people still encounter in this day and age, grateful that God has blessed me so I can be a blessing to some of my family members.

Not sure of the wording black tax but it is infuriating when some of our
Lungi Manzini
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Black tax (Burden or Ubuntu)

This is a collection of opinions about black tax/family responsibility from various authors and journalists. The authors give their inputs on the history of black tax, question the negative connotations associated with the term ‘black tax’ and touch on the negative impacts of black tax on the middle class. The book is quite personal as the authors talk about their family dynamics and challenges along the way. I have my opinions about this topic, which I often refer t
Paul Lloyd
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it
This is a book well worth reading on many levels. It gives insight into the good and the bad aspects of "Black Tax"/ "Family responsibility". How it is used effectively and how it is abused. Split up into several different stories it is easy and interesting to read. With all these insights and understanding Niq also includes a small section about each author. In particular other literature they have written which has inspired me to read more of their books and more about these intriguing authors ...more
Silindile Mncwabe
It’s an interesting read to say the least it has a lot of stories that most black people can relate to one way or another. The book gets monotonous after a while. It does touch on a subject that is highly debatable “black tax” and it’s a conversation starter as you find yourself debating with the writers in the book and anyone who’s read the book. I’d recommend it for people to read it really is interesting to see the take on this from different point of views and black people from all walks of ...more
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would call it a mini 'Black Bible' understanding all things African..... understanding the African social construct. How did we get here? Why are we here? When did we get here? Whose fault is it? What happens next?
While so many events from the essays resonate with me on a personal level, some arguments roused a shift in my perspective on this notion of 'Black Tax'. It is not the same for everyone, although it affects and influences our everyday lives, relatively, irrespective of whether we ch
Megan Kelosiwang
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I found this book a little repetitive but I did enjoy all the stories of black tax and people’s individual thoughts on the issue, although no one had a definitive view. One of those grey areas in society. My husband was very definite when I joked about our son renovating our house ‘black tax stops with me!’.
Rhulani Netshivhera
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was worth reading this book about "Black Tax/ Family responsibilities that some young adult go through. It really is interesting to see the take on this from different point of views and black people from all walks of life. ...more
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking ❤️
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good book. Highlights through a number of short true stories Black Tax across all types of black families.
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Being poor means you have to always explain your situation to people"

Lovely contributions from black South Africans on stories that often go unheard of.
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Still missing some hard critique, but I still give high five to the brave ones that did try. I know too well from first hand its hydra faces.

Do you see a hellish setback or a fruitful blessing?
Charlotte Luzuka
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
The more stories we explore, the more we understand the depths of colonisations’ impact on society. Black Tax is a concept that should it exist. Helping out family shouldn’t be a burden.

But the far reaching tentacles of racism structures turns kindness into duty into expectations into burdens.

From pay disparities, to education barriers, to location disadvantages, there are a myriad of ways in which the black body is kept down and out.

This collection of essays on people’s personal experiences wa
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This book was beautiful and important. There’s a lot we do and responsibilities that we carry as blacks, without thinking. It really challenged me to be more aware of some of the implications of my blackness that have become part and parcel of it but are a unique aspect of it.
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Black tax, is it a burden or Ubuntu? This was my book choice for my month In the book club and I chose this book because of its title and I was intrigued with the underlying question of wether other Black people see it as Ubuntu or a Burden. I was lil tired half way through the book and felt like the essays where a little bit too repetitive but that just meant how common and similar we are in our different realities as black people.

Most of the essays were boarding towards Ubuntu and I totally ag
M. Ainomugisha
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Heart-reaching stories. The debate within is whether or not to term helping out black families and intra-community financial support as ‘black tax’ or Ubuntu.
Both sides were argued rather well with more contributors in endorsement of the Ubuntu motive.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book very much, mainly because I related to every story told by these awesome contributors who poured their hearts out on their experiences of black tax. They all had their different definitions of this phenomenon and how they explained their understanding was amazing.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book to build some understanding on South African culture.
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Mhlongo was born in Midway-Chiawelo, Soweto, the seventh of nine children, and raised in Soweto. His father, who died when Mhlongo was a teenager, worked as a post-office sweeper. Mhlongo was sent to Limpopo Province, the province his mother came from, to finish high school. Initially failing his matriculation exam in October 1990,[1] Mhlongo completed his matric at Malenga High School in 1991. He ...more

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