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sean
 
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SA Expat-should you criticise or defend your COB?

11 May 2012, 12:55
What sort of expat are you really? The type that sometimes and justifiably so goes overboard criticizing your country of birth or one that does the other opposite extreme where you vehemently defend your place of birth with a sunny weather defiance to it regardless of the facts?

Whether you're a white, black, Indian or coloured South African expat living abroad ,the vast majority of the time there are no good or positive news to tell folks you hang out with when our former country makes a news headline now is there? Its always the crime,corruption,cruel whisper smear campaigns by party politics,racism,the dreaded "k word",etc that almost gives us living abroad a licence to be critical of South Africa and rightly so.

For those of us that now have a passport from our adoptive country,it very hard to still see ourselves as South Africans with this in mind. More so,like in my case, where one have lived longer outside of SA than we did it in it. Still should we just roll with it whenever newer expats we happen to run into by chance or force of circumstance starts their all out verbal attack on poor old South Africa and just hesitantly say "I'm glad I got out we I did".

Is life really such a bad b***h nowadays in South Africa that no matter what it will never truly become the liveable country for all its people that the great Madiba spoke about just 18 years ago? As far as the majority of expats are concerned we fear the worst and fear for their lives just thinking about the country and the goings on.

Each expat that decided to leave South Africa did so for their own reasons and we have no right to judge them for doing that. The push-pull effect or countries that offer so much better living conditions than what South Africa did at the time and probably still does, is the strongest motivating factor most of us did move in the first place.     We got pushed from one end in our own country and got drawn or pulled by the many foreign advantages from the other end. As author John Brown wrote in his piece The Un-melting Pot :   "Migrants prime objective has always been to make money. And they make it by working hard and well in their new adoptive country".

The "Japie" communities in New Zealand and Australia that sometimes visit this News24 forum,always seem to patting themselves on the back for having made the right decision to leave SA and who, when they do get together, launch blistering attacks on South Africa and all its injustices? Is that right and fare though?       Why pick on all the bad news emanating out of South Africa as reinforcement for your criticism that country is indeed falling to pieces at the seams? Sadly South Africa is dominated by ANC politics and by the look of things that is not going to change anytime soon.So from this perspective the japies do have a case.

With the ANC's grip of control on South African poltics comes deteriorating services, decreasing standards at schools and universities, very bad public healthcare system especially in rural areas, a mockery of a judicial system and the never-ending corruption by officials from the police and all the way to the Cabinet.

So many reasons then to be apprehensive and not enough good reasons to be positive about South Africa. Is there a growing number of expats though that despite all this are returning back to South Africa from Europe,Canada,Australia and New Zealand or is this talk just false rumours? The global economic meltdown especially in the EU and America has meant that nobody's job is safe anymore no matter how highly skilled and qualified you think you are or how much more you try to undercut your asking prices or lower your salaries.Emerging economies of which South Africa is a part of is where work and growth lies according to the experts on global economies.

Should we become more involved in local politics in our own area to make things better before we think to resettle onto a new country? Is politics not your thing and moving is the only option available to you? Why should we bother with trying to improve or rescue a "sinking ship" when nobody in power gives a rat's *** to what you asking for or speaking about?    

Some of us that have moved abroad whether it be 35 years ago like me or just the other day had to daily deal with unwanted prejudices, suspicions, and intolerance in our new country which are all just the realities that being a foreigner is all about.

The mysteries and narratives of everyday life in South Africa is that the rulers,past and present have made the country far too complicated to be understood. By them still referring to "our people"(that is black people) or the plight of the particular skin colour and race,like the Afrikaners in power did before the ANC took over,South Africa it seems are unable to master any real and relentless optimism about all its own people and the country at large,regardless of what race,creed or colour skin we have. Whether or not we would be able to do so in the future is a question that will take time to resolve.

Despite the complexities of being an expat, can we foreigners turn our experiences to our own advantage and make an effort not to be that critical of our COB?

References:

1.Daily Maverick.

2.The Guardian Newspaper.

3.US News and World Report.

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