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Tell Me Why You're Broke

A brand new book on financial literacy is about to hit the shelves. Titled “Why Are You Broke? When there is so much information about MONEY” is the latest in a series of books about financial literacy.

Written by veteran SABC news anchor Collen Lemawane, the book seeks to challenge the state of broke South African’s, despite available numerous volumes of information advising consumers about finances.

“The book is about personal finances. Personal finances are very important; it’s something that is an integral part of our lives on a daily basis. It’s a book that is about the jealousy of the money that leaves our wallets. It’s about strategic personal financial management,” says Collen.


He says you find that at a certain stage, you have money; the next stage the money is gone. “So it means that within that process, something wrong is happening. So I would like to contribute to society by questioning the status quo, by doing a personal reflection. Despite the volumes of information out there, most people cannot access it. As a journalist I have leveraged of access to information,” he says.

Collen says it is also critical that information that is out there on financial literacy be illuminated and made simple enough for a layperson. “The information is there, but it’s not illuminated, its jargon, so economic jargon excludes many people who do not have financial literacy,” he explains.


According to latest data from Debt Rescue, a shocking number of South Africans are flat broke. The data shows that the largest amount of debt in South Africa is between 31 and 45, who collectively owe 53% of all outstanding debt.

The data shows that South African men and women have now become almost equal in the R1.64 trillion debt they collectively owed to creditors. Men made up 49% of the indebted consumers, while women came in first at 51%.

The statistics by Debt Rescue identified three areas where outstanding debt is most prevalent among South Africans, namely:

  • Personal loans (94%)
  • Credit cards (84%)
  • Store cards (76%)

Of major concern is that more than half of all consumers owe 75% or more of their income to creditors. Debt Rescue approximates that 23% of South Africans have any more left at the end of the month, while the other 76.58% are flat broke.