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VENTURES AFRICA – A kid is sitting on the sofa in the upper middle-class of a South African suburb. A family laughing together as they recall the good memories of the year past – in their “RDP” houses in South Africa. Another family gathers around their TV – the rest of the house is in darkness as their illegal electricity connection is only enough to power the television.
In another neighbourhood, a small family gathers around a fire to keep warm – yet you find them laughing, sharing memories, stories with good verbrations rubbing off on the next.
Many homes will share similar “phantoms of the Christmas”.
Further north a father a son have just returned from herding cattle oblivious to the commercial significance of what Christmas has turned into.
Today, I took time preparing and researching for this article by observing people one day before Christmas – in a shopping mall. No one stopped to help another – there was no giving spirit – only a taking spirit, especially if taking meant it could be achieved with a plastic card.
There was few good spirits in all the hustle and bustle, in a shopping mall where you could not walk more than one meter without bumping into someone else.
Is Christmas still relevant? What does it really mean to even many Christians across the African continent?
Provoking thought, garnering on the hinges of commercialisation and misleading – possibly. Christmas has become the only time in the world where, honestly, we don’t care much for those on the other side of the river – in the deep despair of poverty.
Christmas has become the most successful business cycle for commercial trading, yet an inefficient and cyclical vault of (years) poor personal spending. Most spending within the cyclical period of the “festive spend” is made by a third party. Debt could never find a better friend than Christmas.
Personal spending is arguably made under duress over the Christmas time – for those of us with earning capacity. Yet those who are on the other side of the river never succumb to the volatile cyclical habit of a yearly inefficient Christmas.
Where did we leave the cross-over point? Can we turn around and go back to point where Christmas had meaning with limited consumerism and more sharing and caring?
Maybe if profits from such inefficient cyclical spends were ploughed back into the development of communities across the river, increasing the cash holdings and improving overall savings, Santa the debt trapper will be able to continue the farce.
This brings to light that the other side of the river represents the greater part of humanity and poverty – etched deeper and further away from economic mainstreaming by Santa and the oblivious cyclical spenders – ordaining the dependence on debt.
Christmas is a commercial fairy-tale – thanks to Norman Rockwell – who left us with an embossed subconscious of Santa Claus and his sleigh.
It is from this strategic angle that the commercial strategy tapping into the psychology of spending evolved. Business psychology informs that the human nature finds a stress outlet through spending – debt has become the invisible friend to many.
It is this disparity of income earners– inefficient business cycles that profit business – yet place them on a knife’s edge from consumers who cannot but default.
Sometimes, the adverts of Santa speeding away on his sleigh may represent him selling something on debt and leaving as fast as possible before the consumer desires to return it instead.
Santa – has brought not brought a single gift for anyone – as far as my research shows. Santa is the undercover agent for the underworld of the financial system that entraps consumers in a perpetual cycle of consumerism craze.
Many businesses raise revenues over Christmas largely proportionate to any other period in the year and yet, the world has never improved because of this period – stolen from an event so humble – for those on the other side of the river. Either way, Merry Christmas Africa!