Poverty in South Africa
At our Diversity Dialogue on 5 May, the topic chosen by the participants was Poverty in South Africa. The theme of conflicting values came up throughout the dialogue. We realised there is a conflict between the values we aspire to generally for our society and what we are aiming to achieve ourselves, e.g. we want poverty alleviated as long as we don’t have to sacrifice something ourselves, as women we want leadership positions for ourselves but we don’t necessarily want women in authority over us, we want to encourage black people to value themselves but we prefer white teachers or schools for our children, we say we value menial labour as much as university careers but we are not willing to pay the salary that reflects that value.
How do we live with this inner conflict?
These are some of the questions we started chewing on:
- What do we actually value? Money, which people, what type of jobs, education, land, space, language …
- What are we prepared to sacrifice for what we value?
- What do we do with our conflicting values e.g. for others and what we want for ourselves …
- What are we prepared to sacrifice as privileged people to make a difference for those stuck in poverty?
- What can we do that makes a permanent difference to poverty and does not just create dependence?
One of the key actions identified as part of the process is that we as privileged people need to get out of our bubbles and into the spaces of those less privileged than us.