05 July, 2009

Living well through the crisis...

Yesterday I attended yet another THINK!!FEST event at the ARTS FEST, called 'Living well through the crisis' with Bobby Godsell. Thoroughly informative I must say, but it was not what he had to say that really affected me but rather the demographics in the room.

This is of course no fault of Godsell's but a room full of old white retired men and their equally aged female counterparts is perhaps not the kind of person that should have filled up the room. "It was like preaching to the converted" as he himself pointed out. There was a handful of young black people, mostly Journalism students like myself and non of the young black elite who could have faired well with a little advice from someone who knows something about money.

Disappointing still was the realisation that much of his talk, would have been lost to the ears of the ordinary black person selling chips and sweets on the streets. Living well through the crisis, suggests that you have money in the bank to spend, but what of the large South African majority that has not a cent to rub together. I posed this question to him, and besides him acknowledging that South Africa has a major poverty problem, he could offer me no real answers.

Seriously though, how are the very poor meant to survive an economic crisis which has bought much of the upper and middle classes to their knees. Jacob Zuma would you like to answer that or is Shabir Shaik more qualified to provide the right answers. Yes yes I know that is a low blow, but its a question existing, needing a serious intelligent answer.

In fact lets look at the middle class, which is made up in bulk of teachers who already get a low salary and are dangerously in debt. Of course Godsell, tried to sell the idea of a debt councillor to help those in a large amount of debt, but seriously I can't imagine any pride-driven black person going to get counselling of any kind, let alone debt counselling. I have a vivid image of my own mothers reaction to the absurdity of that idea. Lets face it "real black" people don't go for counselling and yes it's a very loaded statement but I stand by it.

Essentially what I'm trying to say is that the economic crisis is yet another burden for the black person to carry. Aluta, the struggles continues.

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