HLUMELO BIKO: This is the key to eliminating white privilege
'Scaling up existing SMEs in the informal sector should be one of the key economic interventions of President Cyril Ramaphosa's new administration'
The biggest victims of this privilege-preservation machine are those born into poverty. They are overwhelmingly black South Africans. Those not lucky enough to be part of families working in the civil service or the few chosen to be part of corporate South Africa are locked out in what we call the informal sector. They lack not only capital and earning power, but the mechanisms for building sufficient trust within relevant quarters of society to generate economic opportunities. They are thus forced to live in a marginalised state of subsistence commerce.
The informal sector generates the majority of new jobs in South Africa. For example, the informal food sector is a R400-billion market, making up 40% of the food sector. The informal sector is chiefly responsible for any semblance of socioeconomic stability. Yet we don't think of the entrepreneurs in this sector as "normal" business people. They are. On average, 63.7% of general dealers have been in existence for more than five years, compared with 36% for spazas and 19% for hawkers.
It is under-appreciated that in any society, members of the group in a privileged socioeconomic position will do anything in their power to maintain that position of ascendancy. Racism is a proxy for privilege protection. Whiteness has been accurately described as a collection of unearned assets transferred from one generation to the next. The chief asset that comes free with the privilege of whiteness is trust. If one believes this to be true, then the corollary must also be true. Blackness puts us in a position where the one major asset valued by society - trust - is practically impossible to earn. In South Africa's history, different historical periods have handed socioeconomic privilege to different groups. As many apartheid apologists like to hint, this predates European invasion of our beautiful country.It is true that for some period in our history Bantu tribes dominated Khoi and San tribes. It is also true that the Mfecane further reallocated privilege across Southern Africa...