The reality of the Black tax in Zimbabwe!
So are you that person that expects your sibling to provide for you and your family even though you are also an adult? Are you that adult child that goes to your mother to push her to get your sister or brother to help you out time after time? Are you the sibling that never contributes to family issues choosing to instead dump all such responsibility to another sibling? Are you an onlooker whenever there is need to all hands to be placed on deck?
Are you that person who takes your children to your parents’ house without thinking for one minute about what they will eat while they are there because as far as you are concerned; your other siblings will take care of it?
Are you secretly hating on your brother’s new-found love because to you, she will start controlling his money and as a result affect how he has looked after you and your other irresponsible kin up to now? Do you meddle in your sister’s home and relationships just because she has a well-paying job and you believe that you have the right to say how she must spend her money?
Are you that person that is not living with disability and is an adult but you still expect others (children born out of your mother and father just like you) to take care of all your needs?
Well if you answer ‘yes’ to any of these then you must check yourself. There are many men and women who are increasingly burdened of this phenomenon called ‘black tax’ where it seems as if one must pay and pay for having been born. Just for having siblings and relatives one must pay and pay until kingdom comes.
Some people are heavily stressed because as much as they are not only children they bear the disproportionate burden of looking after and fending after everyone and taking care of everything. Parents with more than 5 children in most cases are looked after by only one or two of these children while the other ones are going on with their lives.
Here we are not talking of those with no capacity. We are talking of those with real capacity to also chip in who just do not.
Where does this practice come from; of expecting one to do what you yourself are not willing to do?
Gertie who is based in Mutare says while she has four siblings it has always been up to her and her husband to take care of the bulk of her parents’ needs.
“I have siblings who even have better paying jobs than mine but they are just not bothered. It took me to renovate our parents’ home and it is me that takes care of their medical bills as well and now I feel really burdened as I hardly have room to take care of my own family.
“My younger siblings always say they have their own issues when asked or they just observe from a distance only to comment on things once they are done,” she said.
Sarah said black tax is a reality of life that many black people cannot seem to escape from. “It seems to be a phenomenon for most of our families because of the extended culture phenomenon where people look after each other.
A first born almost always raises younger sisters or brothers and that is how it starts because his or her income must always be split amongst all those people. This is why when people marry in most of these instances; sometimes friction arises because there is that lack of appreciation that this person now has their own family and must discuss and decide on financial matters with their spouse. So the daughter in law becomes hates.”
She also said being well-off ends up almost being a curse because the one who is well off ends up being expected to do everything.
“Don’t you see how certain people are the ones who are waited for whenever there is a funeral or even an illness. They do not choose these roles but just find themselves thrust into the role of being the organisers and the ones who settle the bills. While they may not say it, at times they are truly burdened and end up comforting themselves with the ‘to whom much is given, much is expected mantra”
Rufaro had a different take saying black tax was demonic because it stood in the way of development.
“Every time you save to do something for yourself, something happens in the family to drain you to zero. And while all this will be happening, some siblings will be just watching like spectators,” he said.
Brenda said as long as some people looked to other family members to give and give without learning skills to earn their own incomes, the cycle would never end.
“Let us also help those whom we are giving a helping hand with funds to start income generating projects so that we can break this cycle of co-dependence on hand-outs.” But don’t you know those who have been supported to start projects several times with no progress only to gossip about their better off siblings.
Rolyn said there is a generation that is stuck with this black tax and it was up to them to draw a line in the sand by creating safety nets for themselves so that they too do not end up relying on their kids for survival and becoming burden-some. We need to put away something for that time,” she said.
So which type are you? Are you working to leave an inheritance for your children rather than expecting them to look after you when you are no longer able to fend for yourself? Are you doing your best to contribute to family issues or leaving others to it?
However with many people; providing for their parents is not an issue. It is actually a blessing to have your parents alive and to be able to spoil them for many. It is the other able-bodied men and women who take advantage of siblings , relatives and parents to get other siblings to look after them while they just sit that seem to be the issue.
“Can you imagine my sisters in their 30s going to South Africa and coming back with children that they dump with my mother without any form of support. I must look after these children and yet I also sent their mothers to school so they could have better lives,” complained Max from the UK.
That is what I am talking about.
Let us not be the people that cause others untold misery and suffering to others. We all have the same 24 hours and no adult should expect others to look after themselves unless they are incapacitated. There has to be a balance and boundaries somewhere. Or am I off the mark?
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The girl was found by her siblings after six days on Saturday at a house in Kuwadzana 2 where she was allegedly being injected with a drug and raped on several occasions…Full Story