When life gives you Zuma...

2015-03-02 14:52

Let’s be honest. SONA 2015 was a disaster, and the current electricity situation sucks. But is the grass really always greener on the other side?

Recently, I have had the privilege to move to Germany. We didn’t leave because we hate South Africa. We were presented with an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. That being said, are we planning to move back to SA? Absolutely.

Limitation Breeds Innovation

In South Africa, we had to make banking more accessible to more people. This is why we can send money to our loved ones via cellphone banking and mobile apps like Mxit, even at the local grocery store. Delivery is almost instantaneous.

I rarely carried cash anywhere and most shops happily accepted my free swipes. It’s become something that I miss.  In Berlin, after you apply for a bank card the first time, you get about 6 separate letters:

- A letter with your card

- A letter with your pin

- A letter that explains online banking

- A letter for your online banking pin

- A letter with your telephone banking details

- A letter with your TAN (Transaction authentication number) (They are basically printed version of the One Time Pins that you carry around.)

Oh how I miss the simplicity of FNB. I now have almost a ream of paper and have no idea what to do with it. Furthermore, need an ATM in Berlin? Get the app – it’s simpler and cheaper. If you draw money at an ATM that’s not affiliated with your bank, you pay a transfer fee of 5 Euro (R66)! That would be R10 max in South Africa

Chivalry Isn’t Dead

South Africans are well mannered. Who knew? I have never appreciated ‘Ladies First’ until now. Time waits for no-one and some people will push past you without a second thought. Give the old lady with the stroller a chance to get off the bus. Pushing past me to get through the door first at the stop where I am getting off too. It’s not an isolated case, it happens every single time. I used both the MyCiti and the train in Cape Town, and this is definitely on another level.

You can sign up for services easily enough, but if you wish to cancel the service you so recklessly requested, you need to send a letter via good old snail mail. Needless to say, we were a bit surprised. I can give you my card details over phone, but cancel via email? Not a chance.

Be thankful for grocery baskets too. Big trolleys make you want to buy more, even when you just popped in for bread and milk. For some reason, the extra shopping cart space makes you remember things you need for all kinds of future occasions. And before you know it, the two hands full you planned are two too few.

Yet some things never change.

Telecoms service. They will keep on referring you to another agent, until you put the put the phone down in frustration.

Sure, the Germans do have some things that count in their favour, such as great transport, amazing chocolate and a boring government. I definitely don’t regret this yellow brick road I find myself on. Granted, my experience might be vastly different to someone else. My point is simply that South Africa isn’t as bad as everyone pretends it to be. Every country has their ups and downs, and we tend to overlook this.

So here’s to a beautiful country, friendly people and lekker biltong.

News24 Voices Terms & Conditions.


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.