Gooi duim bru, vang daai Boeing en emigreer…
But is the grass really greener on the other side, though?
Well comrades, that depends on your perspective. But rest assured, I won’t be descending into shamanistic babblings meant to cause equal levels of confusion and enlightenment to the recipient; instead, I will give a straight-up answer as to what I think about the tidal wave of South Africans who used to, and still want to emigrate because there is apparently ‘NO WORK’ for them in SA.
Many South Africans, the majority of which is white, are talking about emigrating, no not immigrating! Emigration is when you LEAVE a country; immigration is when you ENTER a country. Some of them wave around their threat to leave like it’s some big weapon; that or they are just looking for attention and hoping someone tells them to stay (not like many of them can leave—it’s not as simple as just saying, ek’s gatvol). Others simply do it in silence without drawing too much attention to themselves.
I will refrain from boring people with the story of my own exodus; I will, however, say this in passing; in South Africa, some expats have spectacularly succeeded in convincing themselves and other South Africans that there is something so damn special about life in SA. They think our country is the most beautiful one in the world, and they think our culture and customs are so unreplicably unique. Let me enlighten those still frolicking about in the mist of confusion, these assertions are pure NONESENSE! While SA has its charms, there really are quite a few countries out there that are more beautiful (a matter of opinion), certainly more organized (not a matter of opinion), supremely safer (again, not a matter of opinion), culturally more diverse AND unique (not a matter of opinion either), and economically more mature/stable (indisputable).
Those who have been across the pond, only to come back with their tails between their legs, are the ones mostly pushing this particular flavor of self-deceit that SA is the BEST country on earth, with just a few issues to sort out, like crime, etc. I’m referring to a group of young, again, mostly white South Africans who went to the UK on a 2-year working-holiday visa back when the UK still offered it to citizens of its most recently lost colony, South Africa. I have coined the saying; no country but the UK can make a disgruntled South African fly back home after two years signing de la Rey, de la Rey!
What a damn spectacle it was to behold this for myself. There are primarily two main groups of WHV (working holiday visa) expats: the ones that went over and became so posh one could—in no clear way—distinguish them from the rest of the pommies, and those who came back to SA, rejuvenated and almost intoxicated with the perceived uniqueness of their own culture and history. A history which many of them cannot even lay claim to.
I can speak endlessly on the latter WHV expat because I am the older brother of one of those South African youths that falls into the spectrum of the rejuvenated. My bro left SA many years ago, as hardegat and gatvol of SA and all its sh!t as you can get. After a stint in the UK lasting about four years, his butt is back in SA and he is nothing like the person that boarded the airbus back in 2005. He is now a hardcore ‘Afrikaner’, despite the fact that he does not come from an Afrikaner family(I would know). Now he’s the typical Klipdrift and coke drinking, de la Rey singing, stoep-sitter Afrikaner outjie with a lekker vuil bek, and an obsessive desire to hunt wild animals.
He spends his evenings having a braai as often as he can, and takes the Afrikaner tradition of drinking until the neigbours call the cops on you to new extremes. He does not strike me as a person who enjoys his culture; he strikes me as the sort of person who’s trying to get back those four years he lost in the UK, by going extreme BOER on us.
I’ve not witnessed such a dramatic change in someone before, especially considering how hardcore his attitude was when he first left. My opinion on this matter is that the hard life in the UK, and the completely alien culture makes some young South Africans living and working there become overly heartbroken, and then view what they had with rose tinted glasses.
For those who need a little more clarification, think of it as how a terminal illness can all of a sudden make people realise what is ‘most important’ in life. This is nonsense, of course; a terminal illness only makes one realise what is most important in the time one has left!
As an expat (albeit nowhere near the UK), I know the lure, the fear, and even the somber regret one feels when you have completed your first week in a foreign land. It is rough, lonely, and not an experience everyone goes through unscathed. Immigration is not like your first day in school, or initiation at Uni. It is a lot tougher and it does not end later in the day to give you a breather.
In my brother’s case, a whimpering call home with the audible ‘I want to come home mommie’ was the first indication to us that kleinboet wasn’t acclimatising so well. Some good and honest encouraging from the family helped him make it through the first year there. It’s mos that South African mentality: die kind moet groot word en waai.
In my opinion, this is where the problem starts. Look, if there is one thing about the typical white South African parent that I detest, it is their inability to stop themselves from turning their children’s lives into their own parental success stories. The ever proud and ever gloating mother of a recently emigrated youngster is the life of the conversation of all chitchats at tea parties and work functions alike.
Jirre tog! I had my fair share of parties and braais where there was one mother who could not stop talking about her wonderful child who has been in the UK now for the past 6 months.
“My daughter is working in ENGLAND as a sanitation inspector at a world-renowned resort.” Slap that am-I-posh-or-am-I-local Capetownian accent on that quote for proper effect! The mother then continues, “She left as soon as she finished at university because SA has no jobs for whites,” but her daughter is 20-years old, and has NO work experience whatsoever. She also doesn’t even know what sort of work she wants to do. Usually this kind of youngster continues to send their C.V. (painstakingly and unprofessionally composed in notepad, I might add) to any company where excessive spelling and grammatical errors might tip off the employer that the applicant really is somewhat useless.
Let me now completely remove the synthetic aspect of these stories. It should go like this; my deadbeat daughter finally got a job cleaning countertops at a hotel on the Isle of White because migrant workers are cheap labour. She dropped out of Uni because she keeps partying with her friends, so I possed her ass to the UK for R30,000 to save myself the effort of dragging her drunk ass back into the house every night at 2am in the morning. Since her arrival in the UK, my daughter hasn’t eaten a piece of meat because over there it is too expensive, and the tart must save money so she doesn’t come to live with me when she returns. She shares a room with two construction workers from India, one farm worker from Pakistan, and a few illegal aliens from Wolmer, Pretoria, who are desperately trying to stay in the country after their Visas expired. Not one sleazy British woman could be convinced to marry one of these aliens, and women there usually don’t have tremendously high standards for marriage partners. The main aim of many a young woman there is to get pregnant without contracting AIDS, and living off government funding without the need to work for a living.
Daarsy, sonder die aangeplakte |<@|< was so wydverspryd is onder ‘die tipes’.
If you are the type that felt compelled to go ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at everything these people had to say, now you might feel a bit like a p03ph0l. But rest assured, the Contrarian is here to give you this life altering information.
I will spare just a few more words about this particular variant of the South African border jumper. It is usually the Afrikaans, hoogs regse, ek vokkin werk nie by SPAR type that decided to hop the fence and seek greener pastures in the only country (and gone are those days) that would allow someone to work on its soil without so much as a high school diploma to their name. This might also explain why so many white South Afrikaners are still ‘trying’ to emigrate almost as hard as they are ‘trying’ to get work. Dis bietjie moeilik om the ‘IMMIgreer” as die enigste woorde wat jy reg kan spel jou naam, van en address is, ne?
Maybe the practice of giving this information to the arresting office at another of your driving under the influence arrests is why you can even spell your own name, surname, and address. And don’t worry, we know, you are proud of every single DUI you chalked up last year, and plan to set a new record this year!
You also never have money because the old Greek at the café is constantly outsmarting you with a tired old trick. How many times did you fall for this one, “What change? Take Chappies!” Maybe if you actually read the Chappies wrappers you’d have something smart to say in a job interview.... I don’t know, like; Koala bears are actually not bears at all.
I know that everyone wants to be so sympathetic and supportive to these societal melanoma’s that whites produce in such great numbers. I know that one might support their big dreams of finally being able to make some money and buy their own Datsun bakkie, but we must keep in perspective the history of these youngsters, and why they are unemployable—even with the massive advantages their white skin ensured them EVEN today.
This is the typical white youth that would skip class because it made his chommies think he’s cool, and who shot the English teacher with a peashooter, securing another trip to the headmaster, and another lesson missed on how to spell and form simple sentences. It is no wonder the words P@#$, V*&, D#**&# and B$*@&#^ are the words you most frequently hear escaping their mouths.
You did not have to go to Oosmoot or Brits hoer to know one of these ‘ysters’ either as there was more than one in every class in every high school in the country.
I recall one chap in particular from my time in high school. I will simply refer to him as Yster. I watched him moer my friends at the fietsloots on numerous occasions (always the fietsloots), and I saw him get detention at least three times a week. His grades were so low that when the teacher read them aloud, everyone in class knew they should act as if they didn’t hear anything. That or someone was going to be made an example off by Yster. This ape felt the need to remind some of us that brains count for nothing when he has arms like a mutant bodybuilder, and can’t feel pain.
One particular parent evening at school was quite a treat. Finally, I got to see Yster’s parents! His drunk father crashed his tow truck into the school’s front gate, and the normally drill-sergeantesque L.O. meneer was reduced to prancing about like gay lad on a pride parade, “Ag moenie warrie oor die verpletterde skoolhek nie meneer Boshoff, hahaha, ons skors sommer `n paar seuns volgende maandag en se dit was a.g.v. vandalisme van skool eiendom ha ha ha.” Blerrie bangat, but hey I wasn’t much of a hero either when it came to confronting Yster about his conduct.
Even the goddamn headmaster was scared of old Yster’s parents. My comprehension of biological science wasn’t as good then as it is now, but I still felt like reporting that I had found the missing link and that it was not extinct! Yster’s parents fit the exact form of what I would expect a half-man-half-ape creature to look like. Yster’s dad looked like the vrystaat version of Brock Lestner, and he was dressed in full AWB uniform—khaki van hoed tot plakkies. Yster’s mother was even hairier than her husband was, and her voice was deeper. She seemed to be a land whale of sorts… I had never seen anyone with such a body fat ratio before.
Then, finally, in standard eight, the bl!ksem stopped showing up at school. Word around the campfire was that he got old skaam Elsie, who works as a till operator at the fruit and veg store, pregnant for the third time and now has to go and get a job at the local pub, or else his parents will kick him out of the house. And so, perhaps, another white border jumper was born.
Fast-forward 5 years after thousands these Ysters and their chommies dropped out of school and I bet it sounds something like this...
For Yster and his pelle, weekends are afbreek sessions. Like wild apes in a cage, they cannot sit still come Friday. Booze, caravan-park cherries, and dad’s vrot Cortina, there they go.… Six hours later the birthday party at Dirk’s place is now a full-on block war that got started by a fight with the neighbours. It’s a good thing they decided to stop at the ou griek’s café to stock up on papsak: at least they can use the containers as inflatable pillows as they spend the night in prison (Yster’s 3rd arrest this year).
Twelve hours later, Yster is released from prison on R2000 bail and is sporting several cuts and bruises that need medical attential. He is back home but still so drunk he can walk through a thorn bush and not feel anything. “Die blik$##&# bloublase het nou weer opgedaag vir nog `n ‘sting’ operation, hahaha”, he slurs. Another R1000 borrowed form dad, and a trip to Med24 for stitches, and now the miscreant is ready to go raid the nearest bottle store and repeat the whole incident from scratch.
And people wonder why Yster is still jobless, and now wants to leave the country but can’t.
Prior to the UK’s cessation of handing out WHVs to SA citizens, Yster could at least go clean tables or scrub pots to make R10,000 a month (in pounds of all things). This is a a fortune compared to the construction company that offered him R4500p/m despite the fact that he has no work experience and can hardly communicate with someone whose language does not consist mostly of swearwords. Then it’s still a ‘white man’s pay’, not like the poor black guy from Soweto who actually did make it through Matric, yet got offered R3800 for the same job, and he also has 3 children to take care of.
So there is Yster now in the UK. They overlooked the delicious English he speaks because he needs only roughly understand where to sweep the floor, and no response is necessary. As long as the pots are clean and the tabletops are shiny, he can finish his two-year stint and go home with enough cash to get him into rehab and possibly even get his Datsun bakkie. That is if Yster can keep himself from drinking out every cent he had has, in the UK pubs, before he’s due back home.
And yes overseas that brandy and coke really does cost R80 for a single. Heck I regularly fork out R60 for a lousy Frappuccino at Starbucks here in Singapore!
Here’s my advice to you, Yster, since the above is just hyperbole and you actually can’t go to the UK anymore, why don’t you try to humble yourself and do the sort of work you are willing to do overseas? Let me be specific, go and apply for that work that you commonly refer to as a K@##!r’s job! Maybe then, once you stop thinking that some jobs are meant for some skin colours, you will realise that there are plenty of work opportunities for you in SA. Starting at the bottom is better than not starting at all, but you want the manager’s position, a company car, R20,000 p/m and a medical aid before you feel it’s a worthwhile deal, don’t you?
Take it from me; life overseas is not as easy as you may think it is. Just getting here is a 5-year commitment that involves working on your education + getting useful experience that actually counts for something overseas. Even then, the cost of things here is insane. The lotto’s R20mil will barely get you a house with a pool and two new cars in the driveway here in Singapore. And property is even more expensive in other 1st world countries. Get ready to pay R15/l for petrol (R12/l doesn’t sound so bad anymore, does it?), and remember to pull those vleis tande chom, hier kos `n 500g steak sommer R1000 by a nice steakhouse. Booze is also heavily taxed and getting drunk in a first world country on a Friday night may just leave you without enough money to pay the rent, especially if you’re not earning an doctor’s salary!
Best of luck to all those who are trying to emigrate, but I do hope that those who can’t do so just yet will count their blessings in SA for a change. I’ll say this plainly, before you can ever hope to enjoy success overseas, you first have to be able to make a success of yourself in SA. No overseas company is interested in sponsoring a refugee; foreign companies want skilled workers who can provide the talent they need to grow. Don’t let people who go overseas on a dependent pass, which prohibits them from working, but allows them to reside with their family, tell you otherwise. If you are not lucky enough to have family overseas (as was the case for me), then the only way here is to make a success of your time in SA. That will be the catalyst to your freedom.
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