The Star Late Edition

Law student analyses the concept of black tax


THE Urban Dictionary defines black tax as “the extra money that black profession­als are expected to give every month to support their less fortunate family and extended families”.

This is the topic that author Marcia Ramodike, 24, from Mamelodi seeks to explain in her second edition of From An Empty Pride To A Full Price.

When asked what inspired her to write the book, the unassuming author, who originally hails from Tzaneen, said black tax was something that almost all successful young black people had to deal with.

The second-year law student at Unisa said that, surprising­ly, much of what had been written about black tax had focused on the negative aspects thereof.

For example, the financial struggles faced by many black profession­als have been blamed on those profession­als having to pay all their earnings to cousins, aunts and uncles.

“I must admit, I also thought black tax was a burden until I lost my mother and had to take care of my siblings. It was through the sales of the book that I managed to help my siblings through school.

“The reality is that black people have to pull each other up because of apartheid and its limited opportunit­ies for black people,” she said.

“When my mother passed on, I was 18, unemployed and had to take care of my siblings with the help of my grandparen­ts.

“That is when I realised that giving back at home can change lives and make a difference.”

She said her book was aimed at the youth who were most affected by the black tax, since most of them considered it a burden.

The book paints a picture of her life as a young person grappling with adult issues.

She describes her pain after her mother’s death and her constant battle with the legacy of the difficult socio-economic conditions under which she grew up.

Ramodike said her book affects many young black people and graduates who have to support their families when they start working. The book encourages the youth to improve the economy and country and give back to their communitie­s.

“I want to demonstrat­e to young people that we can change our home situations by giving back to our communitie­s, and that life is not a competitio­n; you don’t have to be under.”

It took her four years to finish the book, even through difficult times such as her mother’s death.

Inspired by stories of unexpected life changes after graduation, she tells the story of an impoverish­ed black female graduate, Nthathi, who turns against everything for which she hoped and worked so hard.

When Nthathi graduated with 10 distinctio­ns, her mother burst into tears of joy since she had raised her single-handedly through daunting conditions.

After two months of struggling to find a job, Nthathi (with money from a loan shark) heads for Pretoria, where she gets run over by the car of a man she thought was her future husband.

She then sacrifices her family to a traditiona­l healer for this man but regrets it afterwards. Only later, she realises that he is a monster. In light of all these events, she suffers a stroke.

Asked how the first edition of her book went, she said: “It was a disaster, but also a learning curve for my second edition.”

She said – from the cover book, grammatica­l errors, to a plain table of content – she did not know any better.

“Both myself and my publishers were amateurs, and we needed to do our research first.”

But even though the first edition was not in tip-top shape, she managed to sell 700 copies countrywid­e.

African News Agency (ANA) ?? MARCIA Ramodike from Mamelodi with a copy of her book, From An Empty Pride To A Full Price.
| THOBILE MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA) MARCIA Ramodike from Mamelodi with a copy of her book, From An Empty Pride To A Full Price.

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