Black tax is a concept with which the actress is all too familiar.
Like most young professionals, Mbatha understands the importance of uplifting her family, but over the years she’s learnt that sometimes you just have to say no… and that’s OK.
“There’s a difference between needs and wants and I’ve learnt to prioritise the things my family really needs,” she says.
“In the past, I’d end up buying all kinds of things for my 13 nieces and nephews, along with toys, school uniforms and stationery. At times, to ease the load on my siblings, I’d even pay school fees, but I’ve learnt from experience that if my well runs dry, I can’t care for myself, let alone anyone else.”
Mbatha is a firm believer in the “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” approach to life, so empowering her family is her top priority.
She’d rather spend money on educating relatives and hiring them for real jobs, than splurging on lifestyle-related items.
Putting your foot down, she says, is an effective way of managing expectations and holding your family to account.
“I try and assist in little ways, but I’ve realised that by not capping the black tax, there’s a risk that some of my family may become fully dependent on me. That doesn’t empower them, it incapacitates them from ever achieving financial freedom and self-sufficiency,” Mbatha explains.
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“I prefer to empower my family by paying them to do real jobs for me or by sponsoring their educational pursuits. If I have a project in my hometown during the holidays, I gather my unemployed cousins to assist. In return, I give them a small stipend, and they gain a skill.”