Nomzamo Mbatha. (Photo: Getty Images)
“In the past, I’d end up buying all kinds of things for my
13 nieces and nephews, along with toys, school uniforms and stationery – at
times, to ease the load on my siblings, I’d even pay school fees. But I’ve
learned from experience that if my well runs dry, I can’t care for myself, let
alone anyone else. So I’ve cut my spending and I’ve started holding my family
accountable,” she says.
She says she now manages her extended family’s expectations
by saying no, “Foremost I think it is such a great privilege to be in a
position to be able to help others, especially my family. But I’ve had to learn
that at times its best to say no – which in most black families we’re taught
not to say. There’s a difference between needs and wants and I’ve learned to
prioritise the things my family really needs. I try and assist in little ways,
but I’ve realised that by not capping the black tax, there’s a risk that some
of my family may become fully dependent on me. That doesn’t empower them; it
incapacitates them from ever achieving financial freedom and self-sufficiency.
I prefer to empower my family by paying them to do real jobs for me or by
sponsoring their educational pursuits,” she explains.