Buzz Feed has compiled 28 middle class problems that have been shared on Twitter over the past few months.
It made me roar with laughter. Personally , I’m having real trouble harmonising my love for ratchet hip- hop music with my university educated, 9-5, young professional side. Apparently I’m part of a new breed of 20 something year old females referred to as “sophisti- ratchet”. After feeling offended by the term, I realised it’s just plain true.
My playlist currently comprises of Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Drake, Lil’Wayne and Kendrick Lamar and yet I’m up to date on current affairs and breaking news. Awkward.
Definition of Sophisti- Ratchet:
For no reason at all, a few girl friends and I booked high tea at the Westcliff Hotel.
It was just the kind of uppity activity we had missed while at Rhodes University. Perhaps we’re making up for lost time but who doesn’t want to indulge in a “lazily feast” that includes “tantalising delicacies”?
Whilst politely sipping on my ice tea- I couldn’t help but overhear the table behind us speaking about how irresponsible cyclists have become. It seems black cycling gear has become quite a fad and is causing real outrage in northern suburbia. As such:
Dear cyclists please wear light clothing. Maureen can’t see you coming from her E- Class Sedan.
And just when I thought the world had officially ran out of middle class concerns, the table in front of us whispered Happy Birthday. It was the first time I’d heard Happy Birthday sang like a hymn rather than belted out like a war cry.
Non the less fun was had, I learned to laugh like a lady rather than laugh out loud and I really need to work on my dining etiquette- elbows off the table and less clinking between my crockery and cutlery.
I have to credit my dear friend Gugulethu Mhlungu for introducing me to this term. It has made me so aware of South Africa’s quick acclimatisation to ‘la dolce vita’ since the end of apartheid. The 60 year long divide between races seems to be a footnote in the daily lives of middle class South African’s.
Perhaps I should begin by defining the term in the context of the blog. It is a satirical look at the worries that plague South Africans once they are in a higher income bracket and change social habits. Things, which are really not important, become imperative. My first entry is about the shock I experienced when a friend of mine didn’t know who Oprah is. It’s only upon reflection that I realised this was a middle class concern (MCC) and why should I care so much when in fact Oprah doesn’t know me!
I hope this will inspire you to reflect on your own concerns (middle class or not) and view them in the context of high poverty rates, the spread of diseases, poor infrastructure, healthcare systems and education. As well as high unemployment rates and a welfare regime that runs parallel to neo- liberal practices lining the pockets of business tycoons who see nothing wrong with mixing corporate and politics.
I also expect anybody reading this blog to send in his or her own MCCs- if you don’t mind being the butt of a joke.
My French classmate and friend Victor Brunier has never heard of Oprah. As somebody who doesn’t miss an episode and cried when she announced her retirement as talk show host, you can imagine the shock!
The question though is why should I be shocked? Not knowing who Oprah is a middle class concern. After all she is a female- made phenomenon, famous for her give- away shows, judgmental interviews and a dodgy friendship with best friend Gayle King (doesn’t stop me from watching).
Victor can name all 53 African states, share a fact or two about each and he has recently completed his masters in International Relations. The fact that he doesn’t know Oprah is in retrospect quite meaningless. Surely global politics overrides cultural imperialism; I certainly wouldn’t have been shocked if he didn’t know SABC 3’s talk show host Noleen Maholwana-Sangqu. By the way she’s talking about Joburg fashion week tonight…or I’ll wait for Top Billing to cover it.
The point is, I’m blinded by the CNN effect; blasted with images of troubled child stars and possessed by new fashion trends. It’s a relief to know that the rest of the world does not think International Relations refers to Angelina, Sandra Bullock and Madonna adopting children from “Africa”. In some respects it makes me love the French for being French. They refuse to conform or change to global standards and are extremely protective of their culture.
We need to adopt a more ‘vivre l’Afrique’ attitude particularly with the changes going on in North Africa. Please join the Facebook page in support of a democratic revolution in Egypt: ‘A Virtual “March of Millions” in Solidarity with Egyptian Protestors’
Ps. Victor is currently making his way from “Durban to Damascus” and you can follow his French written blog about his travels.