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Hubert Khobane
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People that stuffed up South Africa.

05 June 2014, 10:17

People that stuffed up South Africa.

No one’s got a problem with people who choose to emigrate. We really do now live in a global village. Freedom of choice and freedom of movement are (practically) universal rights and the trade in human skills, or simply the expr4ession of human preferences, means that millions of people cross borders every year in search of a better, happier staying existence. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t. Either way it is considered normal behaviour.

In South Africa though, the emigration issue is fraught with angst and bewilderment. Given that we can’t even pick a sports team in this country, or attend a job interview for that matter, without a seemingly irrelevant politically motivated distraction to consider, perhaps it is just the way that this has got to be. But wouldn’t it be nice if it wasn’t? Wouldn’t it be much pleasant going to bed at night knowing that there weren’t scores of bitter and twisted expats out there trolling the internet forums, posting comments on South African news site and generally belittling the country of their birth abroad.

It shouldn’t be this way. Just think of the hundreds of thousands of emigrants who have disappeared across the waters, often to our great loss, and who haven’t looked back. Or who look back regularly, but when they do it’s with joy and magnanimity in their hearts. They love and miss South Africa – it’s just that they have found a more satisfying, more lucrative and more love filled life in another country, like so many migrants around the world.

There’s a good explanation for this vocal minority of disaffected Saffers living abroad, and it boils down to insecurity. They have made an effort, the have paid the money, they have uprooted their lives, and because they’re not really satisfied where they are they now need to justify their actions. A bit like bumping into your saucy ex down at the pub, and then spending the rest of the night explaining to your maters why you broke up with her. Especially its therapy – though it must be said, not particular effective therapy (in fairness, the nearly-as-vexing corollary phenomenon exists, too, the defensive stayer, who refuses to countenance any news or opinion on South Africa that is not considered to be 100% positive.

So one asks, how has the bitter expats stuffed up South Africa? Surely their departure is good riddance. Well yes and no. Yes because that’s one less bore at the braai to deal with, going on about ‘they’ and ‘them’ and the good old days. But no because these people are becoming our modern representatives to the rest of the world, cliquey narrow minded Saffers happy to do a hatchet job on the country they have left behind. It’s just not good marketing.

And besides, you can avoid those braais if you want – or at least you can call the individual in question on his comments, if the mood happens to take you. But the internet is not a platform for sheer, unadulterated madness. And sometime you must want to read the news or the sports or Thought Leader in peace. **
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