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Pan Macmillan

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White Opulence vs Black Opulence: Prince Mashele on South Africa’s “Two Philosophies of Life”

The Fall of the ANCPrince Mashele spoke to Destiny Man about why it is seen as “unacceptable” for black people to flaunt their wealth.

Referring to a recent City Press article about Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s “life of opulence”, Mashele put forward that there are “two philosophies of life in South Africa”.

According to Mashele, white people organise their lives around the philosophy of “individualism”, so when a white person is wealthy, they are not judged for enjoying a life of luxury. Mashele believes this point of view does not extend to black people, however, especially in communities that are “defined by poverty”, where sharing and communalism are core tenets of the society.

["]Therefore it is not surprising that it is generally frowned upon when a black person enjoys a life of opulence in the sea of black poverty.

“Mamphele is enjoying her wealth. But has she pledged solidarity with the poor? If the answer is yes, then another question arises: Does she share her wealth with the poor? If she doesn’t, then there is a problem with this individual because you can’t only share at the level of empathy in our culture and not at the level of material comfort,” Mashele explains.

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