Fear and loathing in a Joburg gym

2018-07-15 10:15
Travellers can now use a smartphone application to find gyms to work out. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Travellers can now use a smartphone application to find gyms to work out. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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One advantage of working for a Sunday paper is that you don’t work on Mondays. As everyone else is at work, I spend Mondays at the gym, during the day, which is when retirees go there.

Last week a conversation between two old white men in the dressing room caught my ear. I was minding my own business after my session when I overheard a conversation between these two madalas. The conversation was about life in South Africa or, rather, about life on the other side.

I took my time getting dressed so I could listen in. What fascinated me was when they spoke of “their” people in Australia and what these people thought of South Africa.

With the calls for expropriation of land without compensation and debates around the issue under way in different provinces, it was interesting to hear their perspective.

I had to lean in to hear it. The closer I got, the softer they spoke. But I got the gist.

It was clear that they were worried about the land issue, and had communicated their frustrations and concerns to their friends and families on the other side of the Indian Ocean.

They spoke of how they were encouraged by those who had already migrated to Australia, to pack their bags and join them.

I’ve always thought talks of many whites wanting to leave the country were far-fetched, but not any more.

It suddenly dawned on me that these discussions are really taking place as many of them no longer feel safe in the country of their birth.

From this conversation it was clear that many white people are really contemplating emigrating. It is rather worrying though that they would even think of this instead of staying put and integrating.

They were so passionate about it and it was clear they were entertaining the thought of joining their families in Australia.

One said his brother was telling him how great life was on the Gold Coast and the other one responded by saying his own family in Perth had also shared the same sentiment. I must say my spirit was a bit down and sad after eavesdropping on this conversation.

Running away to Australia and New Zealand would not solve the land problem. Let’s all confront our demons and tackle this land issue once and for all – for the betterment of the country for everyone.

But, if they want to go, let them go! Now I have to go back to the gym around the same time – not just to sweat, but to hear how the pending relocation to Australia is going.

Read more on:    johannesburg

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