Menial concerns

Ok, here are some of my menial concerns about moving country, and about moving to South Africa in particular. I am just going to brainstorm and see what I get. This could get long. Moving country is a stressful thing.

Let me just say that for all the things worrying me, there are many wonderful things and good reasons for moving back to South Africa, or I wouldn’t be doing it. This is about the angst. I have not forgotten the reasons why I want to do this.

  • Crime. This is actually the least of my worries. If you have already decided that you want to live in South Africa, you have to accept crime into your life and take it as part and parcel of the deal. You either accept it or not. I am going to miss feeling safe and carefree, I won’t lie. It is wonderful. I do hope that in my future life in SA I may be able to afford to install some security measures to help me feel safer, because when I was living with my family in Durban we could not afford any safety measures at all, and were consequently robbed far too many times.
  • Having servants. I don’t think I can do this. I cannot imagine being the boss of anyone ever. Nor am I sure I can feel comfortable having someone clean up after me. I know it is good, almost vital to employ servants if you can, to boost employment in the country. But it will not be something I want to do. Anyway, when we first arrive we won’t be able to afford it, so I don’t have to worry about it yet.
  • Driving. Driving is far less safe in SA than in the UK. I know three people who lost parents to road accidents in SA in the last few years. According to Wikipaedia, in the UK there are 3 road fatalities per 100 000 people per year. In SA there are 33. That is a huge difference. And I am a sketchy, nervous driver at best. I almost feel I should take some lessons when I get home to learn how South Africans drive. That is if I can ever figure out how to change my licence when I get there. I have heard that it is very difficult.
  • Jobs. The BFG has become highly specialised in his time in the UK. The industry that he focuses on now does not exist in SA, so all of his training might go to waste. There may not even be any jobs for him at all! (a big fear of mine). I am terrified of us going to Cape Town and taking him away from his great job here, and then he finds nothing. Erk. As for me, well, jobs in my field at my level are more than scarce. And so badly paid in comparison to the UK. But to be honest, I would do anything, take any job I could find. I will have to. The chances of me finding a job like the one I have now are just so slim. We may not find anything. I am trying to prepare myself for that. And hoping somehow that we will be lucky and all will be well.
  • Expenses. In the UK healthcare is free. Education is free (Ok uni costs have gone through the roof). There are no bank charges for anything. Things are very affordable if you have a job. If you don’t have a job, you have the dole to keep you going. In South Africa, you need money to survive, more money than here. And salaries are lower, which is a bit freaky. Cape Town is ridiculously expensive.
  • racism. Like I said before, I find the UK to be far less racist than SA. I feel like I have been living in a gentle bubble of fake happiness. I need to get ready for the onslaught of South African bluntness and calling spades “fucking shovels”. I have been hearing things about Cape Town that I never would have imagined when I lived there. That certain restuarants and clubs have an unofficial quota for black people, and once that quota is fulfilled, they won’t allow any more black people in, will even nullify reservations, all in aid of keeping the white patrons feeling “comfortable”. I can’t believe this stuff goes on, it must have gone on while I was there, but I was obviously blind to it. I hardly think Cape Town can be picked on though, because when I visit Durban, at the restaurants I went to there were no black people at all. And then there were the conversations about the “ratios in schools” that made me want to run out of the door. I am aware that the ANC is focussing on Cape Town as a hotbed of racism, merely because they have lost the Western Cape to the DA, and in my opinion the focus on racism will only make things worse between people, not better. So I need to prepare myself for all of that.

I think all of my major concerns relate to costs, finances and money. I think I will write a blog post (or two) about why these things send cold chills through me when I think about them.  The other things that I have mentioned are minor, not really concerns as much as points to ponder. But I never knew financial security in South Africa, and so my brain assumes that I never will. This is as much a psychological issue as anything else. Nothing a quick whack over the head with a  hammer won’t sort out ;)


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Helen
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 09:00:29

    Are you definitely planning on moving? And definitely cape town or anywhere in South Africa?

    Your concerns are legitimate, private healthcare is really expensive, and even though our cost of living is lower here generally, our salaries are nowhere near what you get in other countries. I don’t know about the racism – I know that there is a lot of residual brainwashing from so many years of indoctrination, but most people are racist without being aware of it (with exceptions of course), but it took a long time for our country to get as bad as it did, and it will take a long time to come right. I’ve never heard of restaurant quotas, although I don’t live in Cape Town so maybe it’s just out of my bubble. I doubt that that sort of thing would happen in a province where everyone is looking for racism though.

    Driving is an essential, and I have near-death experiences daily. But you get used to it. The trick is to find back-roads so you don’t have to deal with stupid drivers as much.


  2. poseamonkey
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 11:26:29

    Hey Helen, thanks for all your responses! We are planning to move to CT because the whole point really is for the bfg (and me) to be near his mountains and to do what he wants to do in them before he gets too old. All of the jobs I have found for him and for me have been in Joburg (or Durban!), which is a bit of a problem, because the CT thing is pretty non-negotiable for us. As to the racism, I was just reading a blog full of comments from young black people and their experiences in CT. The thing is I feel that CT is actually one of the least racist places in SA (everyone seems to rate Gauteng as the least). I mean, I have been to Potchefstroom and Bloem before. Eish, you can’t even compare.

    When I lived in SA I was unaware of any racism really at all in CT. But the perceptions of young black people seem to be that it is a racist place, and the ANC isn’t helping with that :(((


  3. Paula
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 17:39:03

    Fweeeee-EEEEEEEEEEP my happy balloon imploding.

    Oh my. I guess its always scarier when you’re not living here. So here’s my opinion: It doesn’t matter where you are. These things could still happen. What I’m trying to say is- although the chances of being raped, murdered and your house rob while someone gets into a car accident outside your house are higher here in SA the same thing could happen anywhere. And all you can hang on to- is the hope it doesn’t happen to you.

    racism is everywhere. You just really have to deal with it. I’ve even met a black man who’s racist toward black people. And a black man who hates white people. OH MY WORD and a coloured who hates black people. I’ve met people who won’t even talk to me or help me in malls or will not accept my help. And its okay. you let them live in their ignorance because there’s nothing you can do or say to change them.

    I only know one person in an accident. Car wise. okay maybe three. one death, the rest accidents. and um, yeah, hellen and back routes is right but also i take taxi’s. so actually i can’t add to this conversation.

    Bottom Line: Things are definitely easier in the UK than here. Safer, cheaper, faster, et al. But I still love it here. Everyday I risk my life but I am living it and enjoying it. I mean… you’ve given yourself an advantage by considering them and therefore finding the areas which are safest Dunkeld in JHB has a crime rate of 0%. find a house close to work. try not to be racist yourself. Find a well paying job before you leave. Get a helper, practise being a boss- much as you may not like it- it makes life easier- and you can get those one day a week helpers.

    You’re south african : Maak ‘n plan.

    Although- i’m making it sound easy. It isn’t. And those are very real concerns. but there is a south african who probably is like you in every way and lives here. And has lived here. and will carry on living here. It always seems worse when you’re not here. But you realise that every statistic shows oppoturnity/hope. Like 10% of people cry at the office. You could be in the 90% who don’t.

    Okay all maturity out the way: I can’t wait for you to be here. Knowing how shy you are we probably won’t meet. But really, the chance that we could is so exciting.

    Although, consider coming back more. You don’t have to come immediately. Maybe when the markets open for BFG or when things this side- like a job and home seem more firm and are safe.

    Okay. That’s me.


  4. Po
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 18:17:43

    Hehe thanks Paula! Don’t worry, those things I mention, most of them just cross my mind in an idle way, things to consider, things to get used to again. They don’t really concern me at all in terms of actually living. As you say, I lived surrounded by racists of all types before, the only thing you can do is not be that way yourself. I just know it will hit me hard at first when I get back, because I have been living in a more padded bubble. I think I will need at least a year to readapt.


  5. Po
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 18:19:25

    P.S I am open to meeting all the people in my computer! I have met two bloggers so far. Only two I know, but that is a start.


  6. sleepyjane
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 10:55:05

    Well, when you put it like that…

    Haha. I totally understand all the things you mentioned but like a few have mentioned: you live with it. It’s not something you think about all day (about all of the above). You just deal with it.


  7. poseamonkey
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 21:55:14

    Sleepyjane: you are so right, when I was living there I didn’t think much about anything at all. But now I am just trying to mentally prepare myself, cos I am old an unadaptable and just trying to get myself into a new mindset, which is really just an old mindset that I need to find again.


  8. Tamara
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 09:31:27

    Hardly menial concerns. Yes, SA is hectic in some respects. But it’s worth it, IMO.

    And honestly, the saffers I know who’ve lived in the UK reckon that the cost of living is higher there. Ok, this was mainly based on the cost of a beer here vs. the cost of a beer there, but there are financial advantages and disadvantages in both countries.

    And driving in CT is a breeze compared to driving in Gauteng :-)


  9. poseamonkey
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 11:56:26

    Tamara: whenever I come home I am shocked at how expensive SA has become. In terms of an SA tourist in the UK things will be expensive but living and earning things, everything is very affordable. When I lived in SA I couldn’t afford to buy things like CD players, TVs, just stuff like that, and here I can. Add to that no healthcare fees and no school fees and it is much easier (in my experience) to survive here. But I think my opinion is clouded by the fact that my family really struggled financially in SA, so it was always a battle to survive financially.


  10. T
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 05:36:44

    Duuuuuuude. That CT racism thing is so overexaggerated IMO. Came out during the run up to elections which means it’s highly suspect already. But yeah, I’ve lived here my whole life so what would I know I suppose.

    The rest I’ll agree with you on though. Can vouch for the expenses thing since we’re moving in with the folks to help them, you know, actually live. Employment, yeah since I’ve just been retrenched I’ll go with that too.

    Now move quicker. It’ll be more fun knowing you’re on the other side of the screen but closer. Close enough for pancakes and stuff.


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