Black Diamonds

In Johannesburg, South Africa Black Diamonds are booming. “Black Diamonds” is the new term for South Africa’s growing Black middle class, whose numbers have jumped by about 600,000 in just 12 months. This upsurge has resulted in unprecedented spending power for the first generation of post-Apartheid Black South Africans, say Professors John Simpson and Neil Higgs;

Combined annual spending power of the black middle class had grown tremendously from R130 billion at the end of 2005 to R180 billion at the beginning of 2007. Perhaps the most important figure here is that 12 percent of South Africa’s black population – that is Black Diamonds – account for over half (54 percent) of all black buying power…
– read entire article here.

This information raises a few questions. On one hand, a small elite segment of the population controlling more than half of the resources reeks of the economic structure of Apartheid, which was overthrown little over a decade ago. Will the Black Diamonds perpetuate these same disparities in Blackface? On the other hand, Simpson suggests that a large percentage of Black Diamonds return to the townships on a regular basis, maintaining strong relationships with their communities of origin. But how long will these bonds last? When the Black American middle class assimilated into mainstream culture, it was to the detriment of the greater Black community. Is South Africa destined to the same fate? Or will the Black Diamonds use their newfound resources to uplift and empower the Black community?

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Published on May 24, 2007 at 9:47 am. 28 Comments.
Filed under Africa,collective action,news/politics.