Ayanda Manqoyi

PhD student in Anthropology. In Urban South Africa the concept of ‘Black Tax’ colloquially describes various struggles when one has ascended to institutionalized black middle class. As a scholarly and media discourse black tax’ is framed as stifling economic growth which is determined by growing black middle class. Even though the term is not new, ‘black tax’ is used to describe the ways in which first generation black professionals (educated and with well-paying jobs) are obligated to family and other relations through remittances and other forms of support. While ‘black tax’ is discussed widely in the media mainly from shared individual stories, black tax as a feature of black middle class remain subject to empirical interrogation. For my project, I address questions around (a) When and how did family obligations become tax? (b) For whose interest do such ideas serve? Through this, engage with debates around how black tax allows one to also understand the state and the economy by focusing on the neo-liberal view underpinning national policy to achieve economic growth through expanded black middle class.  Ultimately, my project contributes to addressing questions around how Black South Africans navigate life in a post-apartheid context.