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Waves of Migration

25 January 2013, 13:01

I was wondering if folk emigrate from SA in waves.

 The first wave was long ago when folk left SA as they were left wing anti apartheid folk; some were even banned from SA. Amongst them were prolific writers, artists, sportsmen unable to participate in world class events, liberal intelligentsia, extradited activists, as well as folk in ‘mixed marriages’ who were banned from being in a relationship in SA.

 I assume the second wave was when apartheid was disbanded and there were folk who felt that the NEW SA was not a viable option; some folk left as lost their jobs due to BEE, others left as they may have been apartheid supporters who probably did not want to fall under a new regime, while others may have left as their passports may have become more user friendly regarding visas and access to travel destinations previously difficult to have access to, due to the global stigma of apartheid.

 My husband and I emigrated in what would be the third wave; about fifteen years into the New SA, primarily due to our disillusionment at the spike in violence, crime and corruption as well as the decay in service delivery. Things did not look rosy. There seemed quite a big exodus around that time, after folk had been part of the reconstruction and had contributed to the development and reconciliation - and had invested hope, energy and passion into SA. We said ‘Africa is in our bones’ like everyone else said.

 The world recession led to numbers of migrants returning to SA, discovering that the grass wasn’t necessarily greener on the other side and that migration sure ‘aint for ninnies or the faint- hearted. That pang for Africa remains so strong in every migrant’s heart, however much he may have felt violated, threatened, betrayed, let down or rejected.

 If I hazard a guess I would say that now, 18 years into the NEW SA, when the babies who were born in 1994 have completed Matric that 2013 is another water shed year. We discovered that the world didn’t end on the 21st December 2012 and that now in 2013, with the alleged dawning of the Age of Aquarius, it is meant to be a year where things turn towards the light; towards healing, hope, renewal and spirituality… Instead, to date, the unrest has gone bananas in the Wine lands and in the Sasolburg area and we are a month into the year…The fat cats continue to get fatter on banquets and lavishly spending more Rands feathering their own elaborate and ostentatious nests, while the poor have probably become poorer, exacerbated by the weakened Rand, equating to their rand not going as far to buy the basic essentials. Could this fuel and ignite the impoverished majority to become more agitated and ripe for any strike or mass action at the drop of a hat? I am just surmising that the situation is delicate and requires well orchestrated management, proactive planning and incentives, combined with calming ways to defuse the situation.  It’s not rocket science. It’s a numbers game and it’s about ensuring that the majority are cared for and are not discontent. Whether this will be the fourth wave or not, I’m not sure. I’m no projectionist or doomsayer. In fact I used to be a born optimist! For now I’m just a person pondering, questioning and wanting things to work out for everyone in a passive rather than a reactive way.

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