Is this what we have decided success should look like? A black man could be drowning in debts and unable to provide for his family but as long as he owns a car, the rest of the community celebrate him as a success, why? Have we enslaved ourselves to materialism? Is the black community obsessed with looking successful rather than being successful? Before you accuse Absa of racism or the government of corruption, think long and hard on why the black community view success as having material things? Why would a bank find it easy to run such an advert? Why is the black community not the target market for wealth-generating investments? Yes, we are black and everything is racial with us but this post is by no means a racial war. Let’s for a moment blame it on racism but the question still remains, have we proven the banks to be wrong about us? Why do majority of black youths still live in their parents back rooms yet drive around in expensive cars as soon as they get a job?

 

These questions for the most part demonstrate issues that are not political.  A politician cannot write legislation to force anyone to invest their income as opposed to consume it or purchase a car within your means of income. We have very limited control over what politicians or financial institutions do. However, the decisions we make with our own finances on a day-to-day basis are completely within our own control. Therefore, let’s focus more on issues within our own control such as our obsession with material things. A decision to buy flashy cars or expensive clothing is 100% your responsibility. The government has nothing to do with that. 

The financial institutions simply cash in on that decision. They are simply feeding us what we asked for.  Every business conducts market research and run their adverts accordingly. So, from the business point of view this advert is based on market research. 

 

The black community is generally more interested in flashing what they have than other races. They are the first to buy the flashiest cars and most expensive watches. Black people look for that which says: “I have arrived” A flashy car, an expensive watch or anything that visibly demonstrates that one has money is the norm for most black people. A great number of black people have no assets other than a car. It is a known fact that black people worship at the altar of materialism. Yes, success means different things to different people, but isn’t it time for the black community to realize that there are other forms of success worth glorifying?

 

We must learn to prioritize our thoughts and our actions based on what is truly important. We should pay attention to the larger picture of our role and contributions to the society. A successful person is one who makes it easier for others to succeed. Flashing material things around does not inspire anybody but intimidates. What are we leaving as footprint for the next generation? Our children are looking up to us. Materialism is not a good enough legacy. Think hard on how and where you spend your money. We should manage our resources well enough to eventually start our own businesses or invest wisely in wealth generating assets. We should be willing to do whatever is necessary to create a stronger financial foundation for the future generations. 

 

The trap of materialism is that it celebrates the mantra, “live for today”. The reality is that there is posterity to consider. We must build a society that values making a positive impact for generations to come. An obsession for legacy building should replace the relentless worship of materialism in the black community. Why are other races ahead of black people? The answer lies in the way we think. Our mindset is holding us back. 

 

We should give up the chase for money and the chase for materialism. Change our mindset on money. Change our mindset on what we’ve been told success is. SUCCESS IS NOT MATERIALISM.  So, instead of chasing material things, chase building a legacy that will outlive you. Chase wealth for generations to come. Chase comfort and a security for your family. Chase owning your own time. Chase determining your own pay cheque. And then money will chase you. You will truly be happy and live a life of fulfillment when you give up the chase for money and materialism. 

 

In conclusion, there is nothing inherently wrong with acquiring material possessions.  The problem however is what we have allowed material things to mean, other than the fact that they are expensive.  The subliminal messages we are sending says: “I am because of what I have; I am because of what others can see I have” This is a dangerous mindset. Material possessions do not define the person who has them. 
 

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