It’s Tough Being Black!

A few weeks ago I was directed to Africa Online (NZ) to read the review of the Celeb Wedding where Fortune and Zanele tied the knot. Reading through the review got me thinking about something someone said at an event where there were a number of Africans present. All that this person said shaking his head was, “it’s tough being black”! What he was referring to was the manner in which people arrived at the event and the manner in which they conducted themselves throughout the evening. It was a case of look at the car I am driving, look at who I am with, look at what I am wearing and so on. Reading the review of the wedding just got me thinking about how with so many black people it is all about the ‘show’ and ‘keeping up appearances’.

Going back to the wedding, to me it seemed like the wedding was put on as a show of God knows what for the guests. It is all well and good to celebrate such a day to the fullest and being a Zimbabwean wedding you can expect it to be a jam packed and joyous event. But, when it goes to the point of talking about how we did this, did that, had this, had that it takes a bit of light off what the day was about. Marriage is the union of two souls and when a wedding goes over the top it can take a lot of essence off of that.

You don’t have to try hard or even look far to find people out there who go to great lengths to make it look as if they have made it when that may not necessarily be the case. For a lot of them, they are struggling to make ends meet and trying to keep up appearances is fuelling their journey towards more debt. On the outside they may look happy and as if they have got it all together but in actual fact there may be amongst other things emotional turmoil.

This is something that I failed to understand in the early 90’s when I would observe young Zimbabwean’s in the middle of summer sweating up and down 1st Street for hours on end and wearing heavy jeans and a leather jacket. Regardless of the temperature, the leather jacket would not come off because I guess it looked good. This is the same phenomenon I am still seeing today almost two decades later but I still fail to understand it.

That there is where “it’s tough being black” came from. Some of these people are likely to spend their last few dollars on something to enhance their social standing than something more beneficial such as food. But, who am I to judge? People can do and are entitled to do whatever they want to do but what is the point when nothing meaningful comes from it?


5 Responses to It’s Tough Being Black!

  1. Barkha Dhar February 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    What a post!Honest and commendable.Liked it so much.
    Thanks for sharing
    Barkha Dhar

  2. fortune February 8, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    it’s tough being black….Yes it is this is how tough it can be when some people like me who work hard earn their money and take their time to plan on an event which only happens once in a life time do their best to have what the have dreamt this day to be ……but people or judges who think we putting a show come and think otherwise…just for the record all l spent was well within our budget we set goals in life for ourselves and try to meet them not to please people but for our future, am sorry if to you this looked like a show but l am already on tv enough times so believe me when l say show bizz is not good this was just a wedding which we and frendz planned and worked as a team to get our day to be something we and our kids can always look back to and not regret.

    pliz feel free to publish this advice who ever thinks it was a show they are wrong it only takes one with a dream and willin to wrk hrd to get what u wnt in lyf…for those keen on getting married we have a perfect wedding planner and other useful equipment for hire at Zim rates(l mean we can talk)

    Fortune 0211522203

  3. Reflections February 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    whilst I see the writers perspective, I can also feel and see Fortune’s point and frustration over this article. All I can say is that, as a writer, one has to be careful when using examples not to put everything in one box – even though your hypothesis is good and valid, do your reseach well when using live examples. We have to be careful about the message we bring out to the world, i.e. we have to be careful not to stereotyping ourselves. Take for instance, I come from a very conservative, down to earth Zimbabwean family; My parents always believed in using only the money they had (in cash). Even at those times when loans could be taken at a reasonable interest rate and all, e.g. my mother preferred to save up until she had the full cash for a small ordinary car to take her from point a to b. (my father always had an ordinary company car and he was satisfied with that), ps. note that with all the assets (e.g. house) they had, including good salary slips, they had enough collateral they could have used for a small/big secured personal loan for e.g. a bigger or more “flashy” personal car, or even a bigger house in a more “posh” area of our town, but all that just didn’t tickle their fancy!

    One thing they always prioritized though was food (which we as kids didn’t mind at all!!!) Our fridge was ALWAYS packed with all sorts of things. Including lots of fruits, mazoe orange crush/cream soda, fresh fruit juices and oh oh oh those lemon cream, Eat some more and Marie biscuits and biiiiiig packets of corn – culs (I guess that explains my love for food today!!!!) Sometimes after work, my dad would come home with bags of groceries from OK, whilst my mom came with more or less the same ingredients from TM after work on the same day!, so the “Ah handina kuziva kuti muchapfura ne kwa OK/TM” (translating into “oh I didn’t know you would pass by OK/TM after work – some local grocery chains) is something we heard way too often between the two in our home!

    Otherwise, generally, your (to the writer) reflections are valid and well written indeed and I hope they will give some people (be it black, white, indian, yellow …) who induldge in such personal destructive acts just to keep up appearances food for thought ;-).

    • fortune February 18, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

      thanx and sorry for making it sound personal its jus that the first tym l read this l felt as if people missunderstood my point for getting married that it was not for a good stage show or any similar reasons ,but just a day l worked hard and plan for which woever wants to do can do with out spending wot they dont have l will be open to the world now l did not apply for loans and has never applied for a credit card l wrk hrd make money run my own company l encourage many zimbos to do well have helped almost every Zimbabwean whom l Know who got married here in Newzealand for free with sound system transport etc …lve helped football teams with cash and uniforms…done alot out there not from loan funds or looking for my name to be published but coz l come from a hrd wrkin church family…all l can say we are black in colour but whites admire how some of us think and wrk so if we black brothers want to look flash lets wrk hard and get all we want dont be pulled back by people ‘if u dont do well people talk negative …if u do well they stilll find one or two negative things to say) so people lets wrk hrd and live our lives in our own way… thanx and sorry again for the first post u doing a good thing runin the website we will support this site

  4. Nina January 8, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    It’s all very well for fortune to say his wedding was not a show!! For those who doesn’t know him like I do, he is nolonger with the so called love of his life. Not sure how anyone can justify this. They live 2 countries apart and hate each other’s family and friends. Makes me sick just because you are on some new Zealand tv doesn’t make you a celebrity lol

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