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Black Tax and coloniality – re-interpretation, emancipation, and alienation

Oppel, Annalena (2023) Black Tax and coloniality – re-interpretation, emancipation, and alienation. Social Identities. ISSN 1350-4630

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13504630.2023.2188183


This study explores the complex experiences of Black Tax in contemporary South Africa. It specifically seeks to understand whether Black Tax as a form of cultural re-interpretation of Ubuntu philosophy can be seen as a form of cultural emancipation or alienation. Black Tax is a colloquial term that describes experiences of family support in Southern Africa and thus in a highly unequal and formerly colonized context. By combining a theoretical lens of coloniality with omnivorousness, it draws out particular perspectives across the relationship between culture and power by drawing out three domains: ‘the traditional’, ‘the modern’, and ‘the navigation across’. The debate is informed by 26 essays written by South Africans on the subject matter. It highlights inequality as an internal conflict when navigating processes of emancipation and assimilation from African to Western values within the intimate space of family relationships. In that, it shows the lived reality and complexity when individuals negotiate their positionality, practice, and belonging. More broadly, it further proposes that contemporary political stances on capitalism and socialism remain colonial, thereby overlooking moral theories and philosophies from contexts of the global South.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2023 14:36
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2023 00:33

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