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Is South Africa a wonderful country?

On return from Scotland after 5 years.

Why did I come home? Well because it’s home. We didn’t want to be 40, sitting on the porch in our comfortable home in Scotland thinking, “Would it have made a difference if we’d gone home”.

On return I realized all the positives about South Africa: The opportunities, family, weather, nature just to name a few.

Unfortunately I also noticed the negatives:

Crime, service delivery and rampant disregard for the fabric that binds a society together — respect for the rule of law. The one thing that I miss about Scotland is the “cosmopolitan-ness” of it. We think we are diverse here but in reality we grew up within a few hundred kilometers of each other and are separated by a language and color, although both fences are falling down slowly. In Scotland you have South Africans working alongside Indians, Pakistani and African- Vietnamese-Americans. And the only thing that binds you is your language.

I do feel that I am making a difference in South Africa; I pay my taxes in full and on time. I talk up the country, in a balanced way, whenever possible to other South Africans living abroad. I support various CSI initiatives, at home and professionally. But I haven’t adopted an Aids orphan and don’t work at a soup kitchen every day. I try to live my life with my eyes open and without the rose-colored glasses.

My message to South Africans living abroad; Come home and make a difference, it’s not that hard to have a positive impact — just getting a job and paying your taxes is enough. Live rugby trumps watching a replay in a smelly pub anytime.

My advice for others wanting to come home; Remember that there are no wrong choices and only do what you know, in your heart of hearts, is right. It’s okay to be scared and uncertain and it’s not a sin to live overseas if you want to. South Africa will always be your first home and is not going anywhere. But we could sure use your help here! When you do get home, remember that you are in Africa, not London or New York or Sydney. Things take time and often don’t work the way or as fast as you might have been used to. But that doesn’t make it a bad nr evil place. You’ll just give yourself an ulcer if yon view the country from that paradigm.

South Africa’s future this is tough; There are so many extremely positive things, and yet some very very wrong things that are deeply disturbing. But things are going well and if we all get behind the momentum we can probably swing the pendulum our way. This is more of an observation and learning. ‘When I arrived in Scotland it stunned me that people (generally) wouldn’t cross against the light. They obeyed the law and it protected them. Things worked and people made sure they did. At first I took this for a sign of extreme civilization and culture, indicating that Scottish people were just much more organized and, well, better, than us. Time, however, helped me see that this was the actions of a society at a different place. They weren’t smarter or more cultured just because they didn’t litter or drink and drive. It just meant that they had time to appreciate the importance of those things, and their society, economy and history had afforded them the luxury of having those, and not other, more basic, things as the issues that occupied their minds. And just because local politics dominated conversation, it didn’t mean that they were any worse than South Africans for whom ‘local politics’ consists of using a R50 note to avoid a speeding fine and a bank shooting is page 4 news. It just meant that we are different, and have different things to worry about.

Visit Explore South Africa to view some Facts on South Africa and to see why South Africa is a wonderfull country.

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