Articles that are posted by yet another soon-to-be border jumper that stands up to proclaim, “Fuck this! Count me out; I’m leaving South Africa,” seem to generate a lot of interest.
It got me thinking about my own ‘final flight out of SA,’ and I’ve decided to give my views on this obvious attention-seeking complex some imminent expats have. If you must leave, could perhaps you could do it more quietly and with a bit more integrity and maturity?
Your bold announcement will not give you much traction in your new country of residence. In doing so, you come across as a refugee, and the world is sick of refugees! Countries want professionals with extensive or very specialized skillsets. When you scream out your frustrations in public about your homeland and how much it sucks, you simply look like those people who always badmouth their former employer.
Perhaps a little introspection is in order. Sometimes, things don’t always work out with an employer, or even the country one lives in, but the more you bitch and complain about how bad your last employer/country of residence is, the more you actually harm your own image. Nobody likes or respects a whiner. Sadly, South Africans are the undisputed master whiners of the developed world.
Few countries offer its citizens so much and yet remains the target of so much vitriol and castigation as South Africa does. Consider how you attained the skills and qualifications to even be considered for a position in a foreign company. Where did those skills come from? And if you can gain comparable skills in SA, how is it so backward and useless that you claim you cannot succeed?
Keep up that ‘refugee’ mentality, because soon you will realize that no place will meet your expectations. The first six months in a new country are awesome! Everything is new, exciting, and refreshingly different. But wait until you start experiencing the invective of locals, the shortcomings in the political system, the social issues, etc. You may just realized that you have swapped one set of problems for a different kind.
And then, one realizes that if you had the same amount of positivity in SA as you horded up for your emigration, you might have also tripled your salary in SA. Maybe if you were willing to work twelve hours a day in SA, as you do in your new country, you could have raked in a comparable number of promotions.
South Africa is just another country; it has its troubles and it has its joys. If you can’t or don’t want live there, it is your human right to seek a country where you can be yourself. And this statement of truth brings me to the second part of my article.
There are those equally infantile people who suffer from another typical and equally shameful South African syndrome, namely xenophobia.
Expats are disowned and have their personality assaulted for leaving. In most cases, I’m sure, this is just envy expressed in the ‘I hate what I can’t have’ manner that is normal of people who usually can’t attain similar results. Those morons aside, there are those who could leave, choose not to, yet think everyone who does is a traitor.
The usual argument they slam on the table is that we expats are failures, or that we are ‘harmful’ to SA and are thus better off leaving as we may spoil the ‘pristine’ aspect of South African society.
Let me cut to the chase on this one as I am enjoying a momentary pardon from my addiction to overstate things. These disgruntled people are just pissed off that the taxman will now dig deeper into their coffers because another taxpayer left. The burden of having to stock the veggie-cart left behind by another expat makes them so mad they lose all sense of reason.
And this is where the big flaw of SA–the real motivator for why so many people leave it shores—becomes painfully apparent: South Africa is actually two countries in one. One country is for whites; one country is for blacks.
This social imbalance is at the heart of SA’s political, social, and economic problems. It is the grindstone around the neck of that country and it is only getting heavier with each successive decade.
White SA has been living in the shadow cast by Mandela. Perhaps As the man inches closer to, at any moment, being resigned to the pages of history; South Africans have become ever more wayward! The political landscape in SA has become polarized along racial and economic lines (as it was in the past).
White racism and their incessant mockery of EVERYTHING black, EVERYTHING African, and EVERYTHING ANC is shockingly prevalent (look at the news24 comments made by whites). Whites have washed themselves of the past and decided they will not take blame for it; they will not apologise for it; and they will not make reparations for it.
A misinformed expat leaves SA because of black people. A sensible one leaves SA because of whites. Whites have become the arrogant and oppressive ‘Royalty’ we’ve all read about in the history books. And soon, their heads will roll just as the peasants of yore extracted the kings and queens from their fortified castles and beheaded them in the streets like criminals. Perhaps this will not occur in the physical sense, the way they are actively hoping for, but most certainly in an economic sense.
I have NO, NONE, NAUGHT, ZERO, VOKKOL hope for or faith in the reformation and integration of ‘white consciousness’ in SA, in my lifetime; none! And this is why I think that most SA whites should go live abroad and finally cast off that all whites were wrapped in at birth by the apartheid system.
There can be no harmony where there is no equality. There can be no progress where there is discontent between the members of the team. There can be no peace where there is an economic war being waged. It is time for white SA to cast off their aristocratic view of themselves and take the hand of their fellow South Africans (black, coloured, indian, and our new Chinese friends) and build the country together.
Singapore did that; Singapore is doing that; Singapore will keep doing that… and that is why I am proud to call myself a resident of Singapore (and in future, possibly a citizen—though that will cost me my SA citizenship)! I am proud to walk around on national day here (or any other day) and see my new comrades walk, talk, eat, live, and laugh as ONE NATION; ONE PEOPLE. I am proud that I can trust my fellow countrymen here that they won’t rob me, steal from me, or try to harm me. This is the person I am; this is the society I was looking for, and until SA is the same, I will NEVER return—and I don’t need, nor care for the bitterness and verbal abuse directed at me or other expats by a bunch of bitter South Africans who want to call expats traitors. We expats are the only reason the world has not written SA off yet.
We expats are the ones that are changing international perceptions of what it means to be a South African and what people abroad thing of South Africa. People in the international community ask us what is going on in SA, they don’t ask you! You lot in SA just give SA more grief with yet another drug mule facing execution, or another mining sector strike that resulted in the deaths of dozens of people, or another horrific murder, or another corruption case, or another disrespectful and immature piece of pornographic art, etc.
So be thankful you have ambassadors abroad who can still sway international perceptions about SA. You have no idea how much business and money we expats sometimes divert to SA that would NEVER have gone there had we not made our employers aware of the businesses opportunities in SA!
Therefore, if only for a change of scenery, let me tell you lot xenophobic, bitter South Africans to SHUT UP and complain amongst yourselves! You have no right to damage SA’s image just because you are still living there, nor can you rob us expats of our SA citizenship and our voice!