Black Middle Class / Black Diamonds

The term “Black Diamond” originated in marketing and refers to South Africa’s emerging black managerial and professional class, a group that’s about 3 million strong. A recent report from the University of South Africa’s Bureau of Market Research argues that for “ the first time in South Africa’s history the emerging middle class is predominantly African, as they now actually outnumber emerging middle-class whites” The growth of this class is one of the signal successes of the post-apartheid government. The increasing gulf between the incomes and prospects of the rich and poor (which political and economic cronyism have only exacerbated) is its overwhelming failure.

In the wake of apartheid, as the government has sought to empower the once downtrodden black population, there has been an uprising of financially secure black professionals in South Africa who are contributing significantly to the economy. Black spending power has affected most sectors of the financial market. Clothing retailers, furniture shops and food outlets have all recorded an increase in black customers in the last decade. There has been a notable migration of the black middle class to the more upmarket food stores such as Pick’n Pay and Woolworths, which demonstrates an increase in their expendable income.

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