I am writing this in response to the following article: http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Notice-of-Resignation-from-RSA-20120828 and the response article http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Resignation-from-RSA-A-response-20120829
As someone also on the verge of leaving, of course these articles caught my eye.
Let me start off by saying that I am and always will be South African. Nothing and no one can change that. I love this country. But now the time will come that due to my choice I will be called a traitor, a coward, not South African and many other choice names by my fellow countrymen. I would like comment on that.
So to everyone who would say this, let me first say why I would want to leave this absolute haven that South African currently is according to the comments to the first article and then the second article I refer to above.
The reality is that I live behind bars, jump up at night when hearing a strange sound in the house and look over my shoulder coming home at night. An uncle and a work colleague of mine were shot in the head for their cars. Between me and immediate family and friends there have been multiple housebreakings, some even while they were at home, a number of hijackings and hijacking attempts, smash-and-grabs, car theft and the list goes on and on.
When I exit my place of work I have to have eyes on the back of my head to avoid accidents. I get pushed off the road for wanting to enter a lane when I need to, have to avoid taxis driving on the wrong side of the road and get sworn at on a regular basis for wanting to obey the rules of the road.
My tax money is spent to fund cars and parties and blue light brigades instead of uplifting ANY community. Business has to come up with initiatives to fix pot holes in the roads instead of local government as they clearly have no tax money left after all the parties and cars.
When my wife has to work late I sit close to the phone just in case and everyone in the family has the habit of letting someone know where they are going and when they are there should something bad happen. Should this not only be done when you go out hiking in the sticks? No here we do this when we go down to the mall a few kilometers away to buy bread.
We all know what makes the country great as well so excuse me if I do not go down a politically correct balancing act just to be able to justify what I said. I don’t hate South Africa, I wish it all the best, I hope it succeeds and I will always be interested in what happens here and will be visiting as often as possible. I will remain a great ambassador to this country and many people will visit from my new country of residence because of what I tell them.
To the author of the original article, I salute you. And to the detractors, everyone deals with this kind of move differently. Going through it myself I know you are most certainly not a coward. The real cowards are those that may end up in regret.
To the author of the second article, you who speak with such authority, I say that I find you a contradiction, Sir. Very few people can say they have travelled to 85 countries. From your profile picture I would love to know how you even managed that! From actual experience I know that you need at least a week to get a reasonable feel for any country so we are talking at least 85 weeks of travel here before you can even start to compare these to our situation. This puts you in an incredibly privileged position. Either it means you can leave at the drop of a hat if it was for work, or you are in a position where anyone would stay with the status quo if you can afford that much leave.
This is before we come to the various inaccuracies mentioned. The one I would want to highlight is that it is NOT accurate as a blanket statement to say that it is cheaper to live here anymore. This is an old reality that has rapidly changed over the past few years. Calculate living costs in some European countries, for example, and the end result will astound you. You cannot take costs, convert to Pounds or Euro and try and draw a direct analogy. You have to take into account things like Government assistance on home loans, public transport, safety to walk and cycle close by, sliding tax scales and so forth. This is even before we talk about the things that are much cheaper there to start with. I have been forced to make these calculations as I am leaving soon and you are dead wrong.
So in the end this article is really for the naysayers. I am not saying everyone should leave, I am not saying I hate South Africa. But what I am saying is that I will rather risk failure than risk identifying my wife in the morgue. I will rather risk coming back with my tail between my legs and be able to say I tried and have another adventure to tell than experience what a bullet in the gut feels like.
Yes crime happens everywhere but we live in a country that has the highest rape rate in the world, where it is estimated that a woman has more chance of being raped than learning to read. We also feature strongly in the Top 10 murder rates in the world. So to you Mr Naysayer who constantly quote other crime headlines, please remember statistics. Someone always wins the lottery even when the chances are 1 000 000:1. Can you honestly tell me that living in a country where the murder rate is orders of magnitude less is just as safe as South Africa simply because crime still happens?
So I have made my decision, and the die has been cast. I am not a freedom fighter, never have been. My skills lie elsewhere and they are not less useful. I look forward to reading a book in a park and walking my dog. I look forward to not looking over my shoulder the whole time. I look forward to seeing the world through glass unobstructed by jail bars. And even though I am moving to a much smaller country I suspect my life may get a whole lot bigger.
“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.” - Thoreau
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