Black Tax: Africans In The Diaspora Recount Their Experiences.

Finance June 02 2022

By: Tobi Abiodun

440,000 Africans migrate to several parts of the world each year, and the United Kingdom is one of their choice destinations.

‘Black tax’ is a duty ascribed to Africans who support their extended family back home financially. E.g., health and upkeep bills from their elderly parents, taking their siblings through school, building family homes, funding their sibling businesses, etc.

We caught up with 5 Africans in the UK who shared their black tax experiences with us, and how they’re dealing with it.

Daniel, 25- Kenyan

How much do you earn in the UK?

I earn £200-£300 per week. 

How much do you make In the UK?

On the average, Black tax consumes as much as £400 from me per month. I have several siblings back home in Nairobi and an ailing mother that needs to get her insulin injections regularly.

Can you tell us your Black Tax Experience?

Although I’ve got several black tax experiences, one that got to me was the one that happened in November, 2021. I had just lost my job and I was hunting for another.

That day, after getting another rejection mail, I got a call from a distant cousin and he’s asking me for £1000. He said he wanted to use it to start a business in Nairobi. I tried to explain my predicament to him but he flat out told me that I'm lying.

What did you do ?

I’d never been more shocked in my life. Anyways, I schooled him on his entitled nature and hung up afterwards

Salami, 35-Nigerian

What do you do in the UK?

I’m a PHD student but I work at a old people’s home on the side

How much do you earn?

I earn £2,900 per month. 

Tell us your Black Tax Experience

Although I'm married with kids here and have a mortgage to pay, I still get calls from several family members back home in Nigeria.

Although it's not frequent, one experience I had with black tax that has stayed with me was that of my friend. 

Fine, before leaving Nigeria, I promised him that I’d be supporting him in any way I could because he was in a bad place financially then. However, since I told him I got a job, he’s made it a habit to ask me for some form of financial support per month.

I was beginning to suspect that he was milking me as a cash cow. My suspicions were confirmed when a friend that went back to Nigeria told me that my friend who’d always complained that he was broke had completed his house, bought a car and was moving into the new house soon.

Were you shocked?

You can’t imagine my shock. Alas, I blocked him on all platforms without looking back .

Rigobert, 30: Cameroonian

How much do you make per month?

I make £4000 per month

Where do you work?

I prefer not to say

Can you tell us about your black tax experience?

Well, for me, I send money back home each month to support my parents. They’re aged and I have to support them. Sometimes , it is not entirely convenient but they need me so I’ve got to show up.

Djanny, 30- Congolese

How much do you make per month?

I make £1016 per month 

Where do you work in the UK?

I’m a student here but I work as a research assistant

Can you tell us your black tax experience?

Although the amount varies, I send lots of money back home and they sometimes demand too much from me. I’m still a student and I'm working as a research assistant to see myself through school.  

I guess, regardless of how you make them understand, most people back home feel you’re stingy once you don’t respond to all their requests. 

Adwoa, 31- Ghanaian 

How much do you make per month? 

On average, I make £450 monthly. Black tax takes about £150.

Interesting. Where do you work?

I am a student at the University of Teesside. However, I’m a hairdresser on the side. 

Can You tell us your Black Tax Story?

Phew! My parents, and extended family in Tema know that I’m working to sustain myself through school. However, the requests keep coming, some I honor, most I don’t,  I don’t know if they can help it or not but they just keep asking forgetting I am still a student.

This “Black tax” phenomenon mainly affects middle to lower-class families. In the actual sense, black tax was supposed to be a positive thing, initially meant to propel African families out of poverty. However most Africans would argue that it has become a burden weighing on their happiness and livelihood.

Majority of the black tax experiences of Africans in the UK are like the ones shared above. We encourage families back home to understand that it's not always easy for their relatives in diaspora. They've got responsibilities too.

If there is a mutual understanding and empathy, sending money back home would no longer feel like a chore and burden. It would be approached as a responsibility, enjoyed by the Africans in the diaspora and appreciated by their families in Africa.

Let’s continue to be more understanding.


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