My biggest worry is the weather...

I constantly get asked by my relatives and friends back in South Africa how I’m coping with the weather.  I marvel at the fact that keeping warm has become my greatest concern. Not “am I going to get hijacked today? Is my daughter going to be raped? What are our corrupt government officials up to now? Are the police going to help me or attack me?”

People here in England have accused us “Saffers” of exaggerating the crime - I only wish that were true. I realise of course that this is not a crime free society and one still has to be sensible and cognisant of the dangers that lurk around corners, but family’s safety no longer consumes my every waking moment.

I no longer sit round the dinner table comparing the latest horror stories with friends who have become one of a long list of people we know who are “victims”. I was a victim. I am forever scarred and traumatised by my attack.

I relate my story to people here and they are horrified and stare at me in disbelief when I tell them that my story is commonplace. I marvel at headlines of murders and rapes that warrant national outrage. No back page small paragraph detailing a horrific crime that has left some family devastated.

Here, I can post a letter and it will arrive the next day. By choice I don’t have a car because the public transport is good enough to get me where I want to go, when I want to go, at an affordable cost. I may have to wait in the cold for a while, but I’ll get there safely.

I don’t have to go without medical treatment because I don’t have medical aid. I may have to wait, but I will get the attention and treatment I need when I need it. I can walk wherever I want to, on my own, in the dark.

When I phone a government department for assistance I get prompt, courteous attention and a result.

I haven’t seen the sun for ages; I have to do all of my own housework. My money has to stretch much further and my home is small and I have no back garden.

South Africa is a beautiful country and the weather is glorious. South Africans are terrific and I miss them and my country.

So, as I don my scarf, hat, gloves and coat and open my door to face freezing wind and snow, I ask myself, is the sacrifice worth it? Without a doubt.

- Are you a South African living abroad interested in sharing your views? What is it like for a South African living in a foreign country or how do you view South Africa from a distance? Send us your columns to and you might get published in our new Beyond Borders section.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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