In many ways, being a foreigner in South Africa sucks. I’m sure it sucks anywhere in the world, but here is it rather frustrating. I have to just keep waiting for Home Affairs to grant me permanent residency, and until then Dean and I can’t buy a new house. It’s irritating. No, it’s beyond irritating. However, being foreign does have one big benefit – we can pick and move any time we like. It’s just a matter of getting on a plane and we can leave the country without crazy visas and applications. That doesn’t mean we want to do that, though. Emigrating may be an option, but it’s not one we’re thinking about.
Recently, a lot of people have been asking me why Dean and I are still living in South Africa when we could so easily move away. SA is going through a whole bunch of controversy, from the #FeesMustFall protests to the ever tumbling Rand exchange rate, the gravy plane, the issues with the ICC… the list seems sorta unending. People ask why anyone would CHOOSE to live here if they had the option to move overseas, and particularly why we would want to raise our future offspring here.
The reality is, there are issues anywhere in the world. The US is going through a huge shift in politics at the moment, to the point where governors are proudly pointing at the historic blight that was Japanese internment camps during WWII as a reason not to accept refugees. The candidates for president are pretty terrifying, the political rhetoric that’s flying around is even worse, and I’m just not sure that any place in the States that we could move to would really feel comfy at the moment.
We could always return to Europe, but they’re also going through their fair share of issues. Anti-immigration policies are on the rise and the fear of outsiders is making everything feel less welcoming. I don’t need a parade upon my arrival, but it seems that Europe is going to head towards another swing to the right wing and I’m not sure I want to be around for that.
Then there’s the safety thing. South Africa has a huge issue with crime, that is an established fact. However, just about any place in the world that I would want to move to has similar concerns. It’s the issue with urban living in global cities.
Yes, I know I could live a more “first world” life elsewhere. There are places with better internet infrastructure, where the electricity and water supplies are never in question. But those places aren’t necessarily as affordable for the lifestyle we enjoy – going out for random meals or getting my nails and waxing done on a regular basis simply might not be doable. And sure, I can live without those things, but why should I? There are wonderful opportunities right here in South Africa for work, education, culture and lifestyle. I will want to show Harley the world, but using South Africa as our home base just seems to make sense. At least for now.