Black tax shenanigans

People normally talk about black tax and we shove it aside or just never get deeper into it. In some circles ‘Black tax’ is the name given to the struggle by young professionals to provide financial support to their family members who are not in employment, or lack an income. 

As a single mother, Martha did not receive many requests for financial help, but when she got married, it’s like she had gotten a job called ‘husband’. In the past and even today some African families would marry off their daughters in order for the rest of the family not to sleep hungry; dowry would be received in form of cows, it also means an extra home for one’s siblings and relatives and financial support because now they have been blessed with an in-law. 

 

Listening to Martha’s experience, I thought of them as minor compared to what single people go through. Whether man or woman, as long as one is employed or has a sensible source of income, they are not married and have no child, nobody will take the excuse of they don’t have money, relatives have the audacity to ask what you do with all your money. Truth is some people are single and childless because they don’t feel capable enough to look after themselves and a child or children. They have made that choice but now have to deal with a brother or sister with a child running to them for help, or expecting them to contribute more in case of a sick relative because apparently they have less financial needs.

 

Many of our families do not appreciate the fact that someone has started working and they need to build a life for themselves at some point.  

 

My friend Vincent noticed sacrifices his colleague had made and asked her who would be there to take care of her in her later days since she had given her whole to family, at that time she thought Vincent was being mean and did not value family. As she grew older that conversation made so much sense, her parents would need her more in their 80s if God keeps them alive that long than they do today in their 50s. So when one invests everything in them and not put up something for long term sustainability, they end up in a scenario where they did so much at a time they should have regulated so that in future when the parents are much older and she is frail, they will all afford to have meals and medical attention. 

It is a good thing to provide and be there for one’s family members that cannot provide for themselves fully, but as it is said, a beggar has no end, the giver needs to regulate the giving. And as a parent, don’t guilt trip the child with ‘I gave birth and raised you,’ that’s lame, did they ask you to give birth to them? 

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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