A PORT Elizabeth development forum is encouraging black people to buy products and services from people with the same skin colour to boost economic activity in their communities.
The Black People Development Forum hopes the quest to buy black will confront the challenges of poverty and inequality.
The forum met for an imbizo [dialogue] at the Lillian Ngoyi Centre in Kwazakhele on Friday.
The forum's founding member, Ayanda Yani, spoke about restoring what most black people had lost.
From businesses like spaza shops to taverns and the manufacturing of traditional clothing, the independent NGO said opportunities were being lost.
"If you want to buy traditional clothing, for instance, you have to go to Chinese shops," Yani said.
He said the forum wanted all goods and services linked to black culture to be sold by black people.
"More than 90% of tourism in Port Elizabeth is run by white people. They bring people to our heritage burial sites and buy us beer so that we can dance for them."
Yani said the history of black people's heritage and culture was not being told by black people.
"We are tired of people who come to the township and tell us who we are.
"We are consumers of products [but] we do not know where they come from," he said.
Yani said colonialism, which was based on self interest, was still relevant today.
"If you look at the definition of colonialism and look at the situation we are now in, they are similar. Your time is not even your own time. It is owned by your employer.
"They say we must celebrate Heritage Day, but how can we do that when everything that has to do with out heritage is lost? All of our spaza shops and hair salons have been taken away."
Yani said black businesses had collapsed and the state responded by dishing out containers.
Training programmes were crucial to change this and bylaws needed to be amended to protect smaller businesses, he said.
"It's not magic how other people succeed in business ... we can also do it. We just need to get organised."
Yani said an independent platform needed to be created for black people to confront the challenges of poverty and inequality.
He said the organisation was encouraging similar businesses to organise themselves into associations.