The long-awaited book launch of controversial social commentary book Black Man! Are You Stupid? was held on 19th November 2021, Soshanguve. The theme of the black economics book launch was really the launch of a revolution, to change the perspective of the black man, to grow the black economy and build sustainable legacies that will ensure the future generation escape the poverty that has engulfed black people.
No doubt the title of the book caused a stir on social media, the word provocative came up a lot, but that is the precise goal of the book, the rhetoric is intended to trigger the reader into self-introspection and appropriate action. Considering all our consumer behaviour, our attitude, our talk, habits, actions, and perceptions of ourselves as black people, are we stupid? expressed Editor Edwin Tawengwa in a brief book review. “There is a reason for the punches to come as hard as they are in Black Man! Are You Stupid? “This book needs to find itself in the hands, hearts and minds of every black person in the world”, Tawengwa.
The evening was filled exuberance and celebration of all things black, including black languages, guests came prepared with traditional attires and an event setting that reflected Africa’s heritage. “We are here to indulge in black excellence, to acknowledge black talent, support black business and appreciate black efforts”, Gcina Madonsela.
The book launch was set to ignite real conversation about blackonomics, which is the flow of money or wealth among black people. Hosted by Entrepreneur and Alex Fm presenter Gcina Madonsela, the book launch gave a voice to the message of book which is unleashing black power through black self-love. Unpacking and unlearning years of oppression and imposed self-hate, Author Sakhile Sibiya says before we go any further into black industrialisation, black people need to learn to love themselves and their culture and stop compromising their blackness for quick fixes that have no return on investment.
An unfamiliar book launch programme presented impact testimonials, from black business owners who run lucrative establishments and successful professionals who had been influenced by the message of the book before it got published and attest to its effectiveness.
“Sakhile Sibiya once said to me, I see you are working hard building other people’s empires. When are you building your own to contribute to the black economy? This was through a conference titled: Black Man! Run Faster or forever remain behind? That was a turning point for me”, Bongani Mkwenbane, Director Bumba Technos.
“For as long as we are still celebrating the production of other people except black people, we will remain stupid. If you do not have this book, you are doing an injustice to yourself and future generations.” Vusi Mahlangu, Director Vumah Management.
“Prayer will never substitute hardwork, I decided to embark on a journey to be the best of me, which I eventually become. Goals do not just materialise, you need to put in the work, block distractions, focus and action, these are my key lessons from Bishop Sibiya,” Phillip Mahlinza, Owner Logistics company.
“Vision takes sacrifice, black people are mainly emotional, and now need to be more intentional, we need intentionality, to breed the results we want.” Thando Sinkonkwane, Afrika Johari Initiative.
Testimonials were followed by trailblazer and business mogul Vusi Thembekhwayo who delivered an unmatched keynote address. Given the agenda of the launch and the message of the book, thembekhwayo shared about a pervasive and insidious mindset among black people, that black success is not legitimate, we are always looking for the faults in someone’s success and look for their demise, and that also precedes a belief that as black people we have an enemy, which Vusi strongly emphasised on the controversial argument that we do not. “There is no white man that’s our problem or Pakistan who is a problem, it’s us we are the problem. If you abdicate yourselves of the responsibility, we rob ourselves of the power to change it. If we blame others, when are we going to change? We cannot blame other races when we are wearing clothes made by other races, speaking a language from other races, using platforms made in countries by other races, complain using hashtags on platforms made by other races, on the internet by other races and you have the temerity to say that other races are the problem.” There is no enemy but an opportunity. Thembekwayo said that if we are serious about the agenda of advancing ourselves as a nation, we need to do what those nations who are advanced do, no need to wait for qualifications to do what you are called. Just do it, the qualification will come along the way.
It cannot be that everyone in the world sees Africa, even South Africa as a place of opportunities and money, except for Africans themselves. That everyone benefits from the land except the black people. It’s clear that we are a race in crisis. Africa is our birthright; we are the indigenous people of Africa. And the biggest mistake we have made as Africans is to trade our birthright, which is what we have done with our posterity as Africans for convenience. We need to put an end to our gullibility as black people; we are keeping empowering other nations with our money but not our own. We produce millionaires of other nations but not our own. “This book is meant to awaken black people to use their economic power to propel black people, so we stop lingering in poverty, in unemployment, crime, drug use, drunkenness, and the endless black self-destruct list because of hopelessness and we can bring that to an end. Its high time we start investing significance in each other”, Sakhile Sibiya
Black people are a powerful force, and they have purchasing power, and they need to use that ability in the black community. Black people need to get to a point where a black man’s success is not an offense but an honor and a responsibility. It’s our responsibility to ensure we succeed as a nation, ensure that we do not our future generations to plunge into the same hopelessness we have ourselves in. We cannot continue to depend on a minority of 5Million white people to feed 50 million black people in South African. But black people remain a are strong but powerless majority.
“I’m calling on a revolution, we need to revolutionize the way we think. We need to prioritize, each other as black people. We need to change the narrative, own our mind, make our Africaness trend, we need to think black. We need to own something in our land and be part of each other’s success story. Buying is not just a financial transaction it is an exchange of power. We need to be willing to be to start from scratch, building ourselves as a race, we can do by being conscious about how, where, and on whom we spend our money.” Let’s turn the tide. We cannot rest until the land is in the hand of black people until the wealth is distributed in proportion of the demographics of this country, and we are the ones to ensure that it happens”, Sakhile Sibiya.
Enclosure Author Sibiya launched the #25% Black Buy Black campaign, encouraging Black people to spend 25% of their disposable income on black-owned businesses. The revolution has begun, and it will be manifest in how you spend your money. It’s now or never. The evening ended with jubilee from, now or never, a legendary song by Sankomota whose lyrics grasp the message of Black Man! Are You Stupid? It’s now or never.
Black Man Are You Stupid is available for purchase at www.sakhilesibiya.co.za.
Sakhile Avril Harold Sibiya is a Pastor, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, diversity consultant, and community builder whose driving passion is to change the black man’s perspective of self, his fellow black men, and the rest of humanity. Sibiya is the founder of Batho Bathso Bakopane Bathekgana(B4).