“There are three things I value more than anything in the world – my partner, my son and my Range Rover. If one of those should go, the toss-up will be between my man and my son. That Range Rover is going nowhere!” jokes a friend when I tell her about the article I’m working on.

I say “joke” because she laughed, but I also know that deep down, she was serious. For my corporate building manager friend, the idea of downgrading is not something she’ll ever consider because she believes she’s “earned” her seat at the sushi table — and there’s no way she’s going back to peanut butter sandwiches and black tea.

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“I get that,” concurs another friend, an entrepreneur steadily working herself towards an unashamedly nouveau riche lifestyle of exclusive estate living, insanely expensive private schools, and million-plus Rands worth of German engineered wheels. “If I ever had to choose between a Range Rover and a man, you’d best believe that man’s got to go!”

My friends may come across as shallow and even a little callous, but one would have to be living under a rock to not know that the Black Diamond dream is a sham and that the South African middle class is drowning in debt, living it up on credit cards and bank loans. The monstrous estate home, the sleek beast on the driveway, the international holidays that are painstakingly recorded and curated for your social media viewing pleasure — most people starring in these self-made fantasies are deep in debt and constantly fighting panic and anxiety. 

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