Thursday, September 18, 2014

Oh South Arica dear Land ....


Last year I was lynched for writing a tongue in cheek blog post about the Jo’burg hop on hop off bus, I won’t go into detail about what I said, but where my blog never gets read by anyone or commented on, I suddenly had about 50 very harsh cruel messages for writing the post.  I guess sometimes I think that I only write to get stuff off of my mind and not that anyone will read it, and then when people do read and even worse leave mean, nasty comments – I suddenly feel like my privacy has been invaded, which is wrong.

I am not the best writer, and sometimes when I am just writing my thoughts I don’t realise that the person reading the post may read it in a totally different way to which I wrote it.  So my tongue in cheek post, maybe taken up by some person as being derogatory instead.

Anyway since then I am very careful about what I write, for fear once again of being chastised – however I do belong to a few South African pages on Facebook and I can’t believe the negativity that comes from ex-pats and people living there, it’s no wonder people get “gatvol” of reading and listening to people running down their country.

I am at the stage now though, where I hate hearing people run down the country I live in that has adopted me as one of their own, and I also hate hearing people bad mouth South Africa.   The worst I think are people who have decided they need to leave South Africa because of the crime, and go to their chosen country and run down South Africa, like it is the worst place on earth.  I want to take these people and put them in the middle of a shanty town in Columbia, Palestine, Lebanon or any poor African country.  Then to top it all after living in their new country for a few months, they start running down the country that has given them a new home, a new chance of starting a fresh.  Inevitably after a year or so these people return to South Africa with their tale between their legs, they missed their family and friends too much – but not half as much as they missed the Maid, Nanny, Gardner and all the other cheap labour they had in South Africa.

In order to leave your home country whether it is South Africa, Ireland, the UK or any country in the world, takes a lot of guts and bravery and most of all its HARD, emotionally, physically, mentally it is so damn hard.    You are torn between your “HOME” country and your new Country.

No country in the world is Perfect, Ireland certainly isn’t and neither is South Africa.   Yes South Africa has changed in the last 20 years, but it has only “righted” itself after all the wrong that the government did to its people.    Growing up I was always taught to be proud of my country which I was, but unfortunately we were brain washed, we never knew what apartheid meant and I don’t think we even heard of the word.  Yes we knew there were curfews for the Native people, and we had a maid but so did everyone else.  I grew up in the South of Johannesburg and went to an English school, so we had kids from all different nationalities in our school; we probably represented every country in Europe both East and West, parts of Africa and even Australia.    You just took things the way they were, and did not question, as soon as you started questioning the government, you would have been branded a traitor and siding with the Enemy.

We could talk about that forever, I always believed it wrong, so when I was old enough I could vote for a party that was looking for change, which I did.   And each time there was a vote to help the majority I voted for them, so why did I leave South Africa?

When I tell people now I think it sounds quite cheesy, I had been married 5 years and all my husband’s colleagues were taking up jobs overseas, this was round the time of Y2K – making loads of money and coming back to South Africa and buying a house cash.  Our plan was to do the same, come over for 5 years, enough time to get a foreign passport as you always need a plan B if South Africa became like Zimbabwe and we are forced to leave, not that I ever think that would happen, but you always have to have a plan B or as they say plan for the inevitable.

But I guess the advantage that his colleagues had, was they went with very little, stayed in a house share with like 10 other people, they were very frugal lived on Baked beans and toast and saved every penny they made, did not travel, use public transport or enjoy themselves.  I guess that was our first mistake, we found an apartment in a good area, and it’s not as simple as renting in South Africa all the utilities are then placed in the name of the renter, and things are by no means cheap! And of course being that far from home we wanted to travel, and then before we knew it I was pregnant and we had something else to take care of.  So now it was just a means of being able to survive, enjoy life and take care of our family.   The Foreign passport was still the number one priority, but unlike the UK it took 9 years to achieve, by that time we had bought a house, the housing market had crashed, we were living in Negative Equity, had a daughter who spoke her mind and was not willing to leave Ireland as this was the only home she knew.   So I guess those were the factors for us not leaving or returning to SA, and by God there were numerous times I would have packed my suitcase and gone to the airport and climbed on the first flight out of here!  Especially after I was made redundant and it was so hard to find a job.  Jobs were for Irish people, they didn’t want foreigners, even if you did have that Shiny new passport that said you were a citizen of the country and you no longer had to stand in queues at the department of Immigration waiting for a work visa.

Did you notice I totally deviated off the point of this post!

Even though I am living in Ireland now, South Africa is still my HOME and will always be, I never ran away, circumstances just led us to not returning, we’re happy, content, get frustrated with the government and the laws, there is lawlessness here too – People go through RED traffic lights (Robots), they hardly EVER stop at STOP signs, the only thing they do well here is Traffic Circles, they know how to use them and don’t treat the like 4 way stops which they do in South Africa, don’t know how many times when visiting SA I have nearly had an accident at a traffic circle! 

They like to Protest, Strike just like they do in South Africa, the government is somewhat corrupt and plenty of people getting very rich on tax payer’s money.  There is an element of people who feel they don’t have to work because they can get everything for nothing, house, utilities etc.  What really gets to me is when you see people who live in council estates driving brand new cars.  Young girls fall pregnant so they can benefit from the State Welfare system!  But here people aren’t branded by colour.

What really gets to me when I read comments on Facebook and News24 is it doesn’t matter who you are or what you say, but if someone doesn’t like it you are branded a racist …. Lol. 

Suzi:  I went to the store and the woman behind the counter took ages to serve me because she was chatting to her friends.

Mpho: Well aren’t you just a racist expecting to be served straight away, why don’t you just leave the country.

Conclusion:  Mpho assumes that Suzi is of a different colour to the lady serving in the store, and assumes the lady serving in the store is the same colour as he is, so therefore because she is making a statement that is not positive she is racist! Ké???? 

This is just a made up stupid comment, let me see if I can find some real ones.

But what I guess I really wanted to say is that I believe in South Africa, I believe that this beautiful country will still be the heart of Africa in 100 years’ time.  I believe that it will go from strength to strength, and like every country in the world will still have an element of corruption, crime and lawlessness, but South Africa will always be in my heart and will always be one of the most beautiful countries in the world.   South Africa has a uniqueness that you will not find anywhere else, the smells, the sounds, the colours, the people – its diverseness and Rainbow nation for everyone to be proud of.  I am now even more proud of being a South African citizen than I ever was in my life, I can honestly say I am an ambassador for SA, encouraging people to visit and discover MY beautiful South Africa.

South Africa has its dangerous parts where tourists should be aware of their surroundings but so does Ireland, Australia, UK, America and every single part of the world.

All of this is debatable though and of course everyone is going to have their own opinion, this is just my opinion of course, and just something I wanted to get off my mind.   I know that South Africa is still 2nd in the world for the most murders (according to the Huffington Post), 1st by the way is Columbia, but you can see the top 10 list here.

South Africa doesn’t even feature in the top 10 countries with the highest crime rate.

In my opinion I think South Africa’s biggest problem is immigrants, not those that contribute to the economy of the country, but those that come to South Africa with the intention of committing a crime and getting rich on unsuspecting people.

Once you have been to Africa it is always  in your blood.  

1 comment:

Jordan jordan said...

I am a Cameroonian from birth but have leaved in South Africa for 12yrs in pretoria and now a permenant south African national. I love travelling. Am an IT technical and wish to work Ireland. I speak English & French. I was browsing the Internet am read yr website. I will appreciate if you could assist me. Yr kindly assistance will be of much appreciation. Thanks Emmanuel. My email: okobic2000@yahoo.com