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Alexis
 
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Most expats didn't want to leave

04 January 2011, 08:59  - Alexis
Judging by the strong criticism towards people who write in about their experiences immigrating, I think the people in South Africa reading these letters feel it is an attack on South Africa to be disloyal and not be proud of one's country and take it personally.

However, and I speak for myself here, there is a feeling of anger because I didn't leave, I was pushed out.

Everything I worked for for 20 years down the drain because of greed and crime. Often people said to me "wow you're so brave to immigrate" but in reality it was fear that drove me.

Those of you who have been a victim of crime can attest to that cold fear, that fear you can only know once you have been through it and if you're lucky survived.

I remember one of the cops who found me tied up after one of the incidents saying to me: "You don't get a second chance like this twice in life".

I have to say that I found all the other problems workable, we had a generator, purified our own water, had private health care, and way more staff than we required but were happy to do so in the upliftment scheme etc, so we were in for the fight of putting South Africa back together.

But by the third home invasion and second witnessing to shootings whilst simply shopping at a local mall we could no longer live with that daily fear any longer.

I had reached a point where I was surviving on two hours sleep a night for two years and we were literally taking shifts.

I can't say I miss South Africa because the lifestyle I missed is no longer there; one cannot braai outside without half an eye out for intruders, one can no longer simply sleep on the beach or the side of the road during holidays, nor really go for walks and enjoy nature, one cannot go out and enjoy a summers evening without constantly watching your back.

So while I do miss the days of doing that, I know that it does not exist for now in South Africa and therefore there is nothing to miss.

So for now I am happy doing my own laundry, it really doesn't take that long and is a good education for the kids,  I no longer have a drunk gardener I am terrified of firing for fear of reprisal, knocking on my windows and harassing the household when hes been drinking.  Or a security guard who may just turn on me one day.  Yes I do miss the days when people had respect for people and life in South Africa and life was good.... but that no longer exists there black or white.

- Are you a South African living abroad interested in sharing your views? What is it like for a South African living in a foreign country or how do you view South Africa from a distance? Send us your columns to feedback@news24.com and you might get published in our new Beyond Borders section.

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