“Bazo thini abantu?” What people think of us still matters

A man is not an island – our South African traditional cultures have taught us this sentiment from the stages of infancy, Ubuntu – the spirit of togetherness.

The opinions of those we hold dear to our hearts and the community at large matter. We live in a zeitgeist that vehemently vouches for the “bazo thini abantu” (what are people going to say) syndrome. This can go two ways; it could either be pear shaped or good.

The sense of belonging comes along with demands that can cost the pocket for those who do not necessarily have disposable income to play “the catching up with the jones games”. However, with the “abantu bazo thini” syndrome consumers carve out a way for things to happen.

Fresh graduates, who are fortunate enough in our current economy, get there first jobs and experience this pressure or longing. Amongst the black community, there is a need to show that we have conquered poverty. Thus, ones taste in food and drinks, apparel and technological devises changes drastically even when responsibility outweighs social living standards.

Those living in the townships resort to living at their parents’ house until who know when. In order to afford to a car that has a return on investment where the community praises them thus feeling a sense of belong.

About the author

Khanya Mali is a marketing and brand communications enthusiast with a penchant for building brands on both client and advertising agencies and a “creative” in his own right. “Insights are the bark to every wondering creative work”