Nomzamo Mbatha on black tax

We sat with actress and model, Nomzamo Mbatha, to discuss her experience of black tax as a young professional and to get her perspective on dealing with it successfully.

black tax

Have you had to deal with black tax?

Yes, black tax is definitely a reality. I experience it in my personal capacity, but over time I’ve learnt to navigate through it in creative ways so that it will be to the benefit of me and my family members. 


Creative ways? Tell us more…

It begins with thinking of my family first. If I’m doing a project and need an extra pair of hands, I don’t hire a stranger. Rather, I employ that cousin or family member who is sitting at home and needs the extra income. In this way they earn money through legitimate work and learn a skill in the process. It stops a dependency cycle from developing.

When it comes to lending money, I’ve also learnt to give family members only what I’m prepared to lose. They may ask to borrow R5 000, but I’ll give them just R1 500 because chances are good that the money is not coming back.


How do you deal with black tax over the holidays?

To be honest, I don’t experience a lot of black tax when it comes to holidays because I plan way in advance. I put aside a set amount that I want to contribute to my family and then manage their expectations around that amount. When the amount is used up, it’s finished. I don’t let people stretch me beyond what is healthy for my finances.


How do you manage your extended family’s expectations?

By learning to say the big, fat ‘NO’.

I believe if you really want to help someone, be there for them at the 20% mark, and allow them to deliver their 80%. They need to show me that they are also proactive in finding a solution. I won’t go the extra mile for someone unless they are putting in some effort themselves. Otherwise it’s not good for them.


Do you have advice for other young professionals impacted by black tax? 

Absolutely. I always use the analogy of a cup. What is in the cup is mine, anything exceeding the brim, or the overflow, I can assist others with. I put myself first, otherwise I cannot be the best version of myself and then those who are dependent on me will also suffer.

I always ask myself: Are my dreams financed? Is my well full?

I should be able to do the things I’m really passionate about, without feeling guilty about the next person who can’t because of their financial standing.

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