What's all this about bling culture? Do South Africans really prefer smart clothes to good schools & health? Here's what a recent study left out. Researched by Sintha Chiumia for AFRICA CHECK.
Reports in the media last month conjured up a striking image of what South Africans want in life.
"The South African dream," reported Times Live, "is more about buying a car than owning a house. And we are spending less on education than on clothing."
"Spendthrift SA: We want better clothes, not better education" ran the headline of a piece on eNCA, written almost word for word the same as the one in the Times.
The articles offered a few specific numbers to back up the headline claims. "Households with an income of less than R3,500 a month are spending 8% of it on clothing and footwear - more than on education and health combined," they declared.
People spend as much on their TV subscriptions as on their retirement annuities, they said. The poorest spend more on cell phones and airtime than schools. Even the wealthiest, they suggested, spend only about 4% of their income on education.
All in all, the claims led one commentator to worry that...