Having a pocket estimated to be about R400-billion deep, the black middle class has made its mark on a number of sectors such as retail, vehicle sales, affordable housing and education.
Although it has been growing steadily for 10 years, the black middle class received a major boost over the past few years with the government doubling its wage bill in an attempt to cushion the impact of the economic recession.
The University of Cape Town's Institute of Strategic Marketing, in a report titled "Four Million and Rising", found that not only is the black middle class supporting retail growth in South Africa, it is also investing in housing and education.
"That this market continues to grow and prosper is crucial to the health and future of the economy," the institute said.. .
Lisa Steyn is a business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She holds a master's degree in journalism and media studies from Wits University. Her areas of interest range from energy and mining to financial services and telecommunication. When she is not poring over annual reports, Lisa can usually be found pottering about the kitchen. Read more from Lisa Steyn