Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Where bad South Africans go

By 'Bad South Africans', I mean people who are not good at being South African, who don't like South Africa, but are nonetheless South Africans. They are not necessarily bad people, but they are bad South Africans.

I've known quite a few of them. Some of them are even friends of mine. Point is, they emigrate. The funny thing about South Africans, is that they will always act like refugees when they choose to leave the country. A friend of mine got a high-up job for Rolls Royce, but ask him why he left the country and he'll tell you it was because crime became intolerable (which is what all ex-pats say) rather than that he chose to leave because he was offered a jolly good job (which is what actually happened).

So, you'd think they'd be happy at all events. Greener pastures, etc, etc - but no. Let's take the example of Mr Rolls Royce. He left the country some years back. I get regular letters bemoaning the terrible weather in England, the awful people who complain about just everything, the crime (even that!) and so on and so on. So. It doesn't seem like he's all that happy does it? Why is it that I'm starting to think that the RR family are chronic complainers?

A lot of South Africans think they'll make more money elsewhere, and one will - at least on the surface. I have it on good authority that a Mc Donald's assistant in the States earns more than I do with a degree over here. I can earn what seems to me to be vast amounts of money elsewhere. Mistake. Taxes. Cost of Living. Especially cost of living... I'd be earing more than I can imagine at present and be as poor as a church-mouse.

A few of my friends have made that mistake. Some of them want to come back, but they can't afford to. Some say they're 'Doing it for their children'. One of them even said that they thought it irresponsible to raise children in SA. I offered to forward their mail to our mutual acquaintances (The ones with children) for comment, but they refrained from taking up my offer.

Point is, the grass is not always greener on the other side. If you have scarce skills: say medical qualifications, the offers are very attractive and you might even be better off after all, but for most of us all that waits across the water are jobs as overqualified and underpaid grunt labour.

Oh yes, but I was forgetting: SA expats are without exception refugees. Money and the desire to leave the third world in order to live in wealthier countries doesn't even enter the equation. Tch! Its all for the kiddies, isn't it? I hope they appreciate it.

And where do bad South Africans go? Canada, New Zealand and Australia mostly. Now you know.

Today's pic: 'I wonder if the next clover flower has more nectar?'


  1. Great point, and I witnessed this first hand! I lived in muizenberg for 6 mos a few years ago. I absolutely loved it there, but the afrikaaners were certainly disheartened by the state of things. The friend I stayed with left his cush job in the states to move back and of course nothing there was ever good enough compared to the states, and in Seattle he was always raving about the beautiful white beaches of SA. Ha.

  2. Beautiful photo my dear!
    I complain. There are things in my little slice of the world I'm none too happy about. BUT- I wouldn't live anywhere else. I appreciate where I live and love it here. Alas, there is no perfect place.
    I think you know exactly what I mean, because obviously you love it where you live.
    There is a thing I'll call moving therapy. If you move, everything will be better. The problem is, you tend to take your troubles with you. It's hard to separate those things out. Sometimes a move is a great thing, but not always.
    It's human nature to complain and think that the grass is greener on the other side. It takes work to be tolerant and grateful for your own grass. Let people make their excuses- it makes them feel better. Just think, the more people who move out, the more room for all the emigrants who really want to be there. It's a win/win.

  3. I see a lot of people in the US that move and do nothing but complain that there new place isn't as nice as their previous one. I could understand if it was for a job or better schools or something, but we get a lot of people who do things like a) decide to seek their fortune in Atlanta rather than New York, 2) decide their standard for everything is how closely it resembles New York, and then iii) complain because they discover everything in Atlanta is not identical to New York. I could see some of it, like saying they can't find a decent hot dog, but they even complain about how people are nicer here and they don't fear street crime as much.

  4. Good comments. I have a couple of ex pat SA friends here in Australia. Whilst they miss home they love it here. They have very specialized skills and get paid well.

    Enjoyed your site ;-)


  5. You know the irony of all of this, is that people from all over the world wish to immigrate to Canada, we apparently have such crazy soft immigration laws that even China has taken to sending ships of their "criminals" that they don't want over to the island I live on because we won't turn them down, we'll even give them hospital beds, but some one who pays taxes here has to be put on a waiting list for a hospital bed, and then they get here and all they do is complain, and want to change everything about Canada from it's national song, to its Royal Canadian Mountie Police uniforms, they drain our system by signing up for Social Services funds yadda yadda yadda, tad bitter I may be... Nobody is happy wherever they maybe, except perhaps me (although it could rain a little less now and then... LOL).

    You make awesome valid points!!!

  6. bad Americans flee for Canada to escape the death penalty... the death penalty has proven to be a great crime deterrent in the states (ha!)

    It's so true about the grass being greener... Hawaii seems so nice while you are visitng the resort area but when you venture to the areas where the locals are smoking ice it can be the scariest place in the world

  7. When I wrote this post, I thought: you're about to bore the socks off your readers, so I'm more than happy to see that it set off sparks after all!

    Ajax: You lucky devil! I'm not mad on city life, but if I had to live in a town, Muizenberg would be my ideal. I'll have a pint at the Brass Bell for you next time I'm there!

    PAMO: Agreed:moving can be positive, but it needs to be done for constructive reasons. I liked the 'moving therapy' thought. I suppose we all need a certain amount of dissatisfaction to 'drive' us forward. As ever, balance is the tricky bit. The grass here is fabulous (takes toke). Oh alright, that was facetious...

    Grant: Yup, and if they went to NY they'd be itching to be elsewhere too. One has to take the pros with the cons.. ah.. but the pros are a bit boring aren't they... so one can always complain about them too! I must try that. Lessee. Its the most terrible, moderate spring day here today, and the sky is a sickening blue.

    Chris: Oh yes, I didn't say all of them failed to be happy, it just irritates me that an awful lot of people wash their hands of this country and then kick it in the backside when better opportunities were their main motivation. Not all. Just a lot. Thanks for stopping by!

    Average Girl: Yes, its amazingly easy to become a Canadian. Had a mate who went over there one summer. Emigrated to Canada without ever having seen the place. Loved it! Adored it! Only lasted one winter though and came back because he was getting cold :)Truth to tell I'd love to see Canada - in summer. Sounds beautiful.

    Karl: Death penalty. Material for a blog post. Woot! Ah yes: superficial impressions and window-dressing. It happens a lot.