Some say it’s black tax. I call it Voluntary Social Investment (VSI).
I call it an investment into the future of black child. Into my own blood that runs through my veins. The same blood that contributed into making me who I am. The same blood that made my wildest dreams come true.
Why is it tax? Was it not investment when it was someone’s turn to pay it for me?
I grew up curious and secretly meddled up in my parents, aunts and their friends’ business.
Camping in my parent’s bedroom when they leave the house was my favourite pastime. I’d roam through drawers, read their payslips and bank statements; try to understand their many insurance policies and what they mean, how they work. sometimes one would also listen to their conversations about their challenges and their future plans (what does an ear do when its idle? It listens).
I learnt a lot in this time. I got to know what it took for everything to be so beautiful and rosy. I was privy to the tensions of needing to get things done and the universe saying NO. I overheard mom’s conversations with her friends trying to support each other, figuring out how to change the story from one of abject poverty to one of bright positive change.
They did great, here we are, living proof! Those Mashonisa journeys and endless stokvel deals of who is doing what for whom have paid off. Most of my parents’ circles and families have had opportunities to change the story from one of lack and poverty to one of education, success and riches for some.
I saw families and friends come together and support one another. This exchange has continued to produce noble citizens, educated loved ones and a few riches too! I realise when I look upon the generations before them that, it has been quite a generational journey, making means to make tomorrow better than yesterday for society.
So, when it is my turn to do same, I always think to myself,
“Dear God, why do I owe such honour? To be a tool that advances a fellow human being into their future!”
Now, I say this knowing that I have not always seen things this way. One has gone and neglected some parts that contributed to where we are because it was easier and convenient to do so. Thinking that one needs to satisfy oneself more therefore someone else will do it. It does haunt me though sometimes. I guess I always think to myself, I wish I had chosen differently. I recognise also that I did not have today’s wisdom then. So I endeavour to forgive myself every time regret surfaces instead of vilifying myself with perpetual guilt.
It is sometimes easier to be in the receiving end than it is to be in the giving one. Giving takes heart. This is because for you to give sometimes, it means pausing something in your own plan.
It means recognising that someone needs more than you want therefore you choose for them to have what they need instead as a gesture of Ubuntu.
When the heart sees that gesture as tax, then maybe you should not even bother! Blessed is the heart that gives freely and lovingly. It is an investment in a human being. Not a liability in your balance sheet.
When you give freely upon your own recognition of need and your decision to change that story, the universe rewards you immensely.
I know this because I am living proof of God’s mercy and investment in his people. I know it through every gesture of kindness that lands on my lap just as I need it while scratching my head trying to figure out how to move ahead in this journey called life.
Thank you for life, Jah.
Thank you for every human being that sees my need and decides to change my story. I hope your investment in me pays off and reverberates for generations to come.
I thank YOU❤.