Black Friday and our consumer debt crisis: Part 1

This past weekend (24 – 27 November), South Africa recognised Black Friday once again. It’s been three years since this retail style of promotion invaded our shores.

South Africa is no stranger to importing meaningless American traditions, less than a decade ago we saw South Africans going crazy about Halloween, an irrelevant and totally insignificant tradition to the cultural fabric of the country and Southern Africa.

According to my observation, Black Friday is a senseless and somewhat apathetic campaign which undermines any efforts towards aimed at encouraging savings over wasteful household expenditure. It targets gullible consumers who are willing to spend money they don’t have on products they can do without.

The ordinary citizen is plagued by dwindling salaries, high unemployment, administrative corruption in government institutions and ever increasing living expenses. But more so, South Africans produce very little of what they consume daily and while subsequently spending more than they save. Over 11 million credit-active South Africans are currently over-indebted.

In 2016 Debt Rescue reported that only an estimated 23% of South Africans have any money left at the end of the month. While an alarming 76% have more month at the end of their money – they are flat broke.


Black Friday promoters disregard all of this because of profits. This year is even worse, on the same weekend as Black Friday promotions, our economy was being downgraded to junk status.

(I would recommend that you read this article – and find out what junk status means for you and your money in a South African context).

Imali-matters reported that store cards are among the biggest debt traps for consumers. These are the same cards used to buy goods with money that consumers don’t have, especially during promotions like Black Friday where impulse purchase is encouraged.

The South Africans population is fighting to live, whilst at the heart of Black Friday promotions are intentional efforts to empty already leaking pockets of underpaid workers. Our conformist mentality of perceiving any First World trend as progressive dis-empowers local institutions like the National Debt Council from equipping consumers with the necessary financial information to support basic household expenditure. Leaving this institution and many others in reactionary mode.

South Africans use low salaries to buy luxury goods which many cannot afford because they want to seen as wealthy, not knowing that wealth cannot be calculated in monetary terms. Wealth is what you have within you when everything around you is taken away.

Click here to read part 2 of this article

3 thoughts on “Black Friday and our consumer debt crisis: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Black Friday and our consumer debt crisis: Part 2 | Anele Nele Matshisi

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