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Black Diamonds (ON)

Oupa Nkosi/TwentyTen

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

In the wake of apartheid, as the government has sought to empower the once downtrodden black population, there has been an uprising of financially secure black professionals in South Africa who are contributing significantly to the economy. Black spending power has affected most sectors of the financial market. Clothing retailers, furniture shops and food outlets have all recorded an increase in black customers in the last decade. There has been a notable migration of the black middle class to the more upmarket food stores such as Pick’n Pay and Woolworths which demonstrates an increase in their expendable income.

When events such as the Whisky Live Festival are held in the chic suburb of Sandton, the clientele is significantly more racially mixed than in years gone by. These occasions appeal to a broader cultural cross-section, and the different ethnic groups socialise easily and on an equal footing.

With Soweto Township benefiting from 14 years of development, many of the local businesses can boast impressive turnovers. The area is fast becoming one of South Africa’s top tourist locations for the opportunity it gives visitors to sample the local culture and cuisine. Many businessmen and women in the township have come from very poor backgrounds and have worked hard to be where they are today.

The money that is being generated by this up and coming black middle class, is being pumped back in to the local industry, with vehicle finance, insurance, property and the banking sector registering increased sales from this particular group. According to a survey by the Newspaper Advertising Bureau, black property ownership has increased by 700 per cent in the past five years.

“One in every two buyers is black,” said a staff member from a leading estate agent.

The statistics speak for themselves. Despite years of oppression under the apartheid government, a generation of born frees is rising up to take top positions in the business world, lead companies, buy houses, earn top notch salaries and become the leaders of tomorrow.

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