Is the grass greener on the other side, away from South Africa?

Toxic Weeds

Sometimes when the grass appears to be greener on the other side, when you get there you find that what appeared to be lush green grass is nothing more than toxic weeds.

While cutting up breadrolls on the morning of International Day at our school on Saturday morning, I was pondering the question, "Why do South Africans turn their backs on the country of their birth?" I suppose, when you are the only South African on the staff of the school who is prepared to admit they're South African, and you're faced with 200 breadrolls to cut open, this is the kind of thing you think about. As I cut open each breadroll to make boerewors rolls with my homemade boerewors (as you can't buy anything like that where I live), I felt myself becoming more and more patriotic. I'm proud to be South African. I'm quite happy to single-handedly represent my country and do all the work and man a stall by myself on International Day. I can't understand why the other South African teachers on our staff helped at the New Zealand stall. It pains me when they mock the Springboks and support the All Blacks. It kills me when I see their Afrikaans sounding names on our school website, with the New Zealand flag next to it. It hurts me no end when they tell all the other staff how bad South Africa is, how bad the crime is and that the country is going to the dogs. It upsets me when they make fun of me for staying a South African. I find it amusing, that these so-called Kiwis only stayed in New Zealand long enough to get a New Zealand passport.

South Africa has many positives and so much potential. It is a beautiful country with amazing scenery and vibrancy. Whenever I arrive at the airport in South Africa, I nearly cry with joy. People are friendly, helpful and smile at you. You feel welcomed. We did bad things in the past, but so did many other countries. We moved on from it. Other countries are trying to learn about reconciliation from South Africa. Where else can you fire a president and have a smooth transition a few days later.

I have found that many people who are negative about South Africa, are only doing it to try and justify why they ran away. They'll tell you the same horror story about a friend of a friend of a friend who was carjacked, that you heard three years earlier from somebody else. The same email about a baby being raped 8 years ago is still doing the rounds. South Africans are their own worst enemies and aren't doing a very good job of promoting South Africa to the media.

So, is the grass greener on the other side? After a messy divorce, I wanted to put a lot of distance between my husband and myself. I packed up everything and headed to New Zealand with my children. I left a vibrant country to enter a grey world. New Zealand, especially Auckland, gets a lot of rain. People wear grey and black. They call South Africans Jaapies and mock us even though we won the Rugby World Cup and they are the chokers. The children are rude and obnoxious. Teaching in South Auckland was one of the most horrible teaching experiences of my life. The standard of education is not good. Compared to South Africa, the cost of living is very high. Both partners have to work and you can't afford a mortgage on a single income. People are surface-friendly, but prefer to stick to their own, resulting in pockets of South Africans living close to each other and socialising mostly with each other. The houses are leaky wooden boxes that your furniture you bring with you won't fit in. I stayed there for six years as I didn't have the money to pack up and leave. Longer than the other South African family at our school. I have to be honest, I did get the citizenship forms. I couldn't bring myself to fill them in. I will always support the Springboks.

If you think you are safer elsewhere, think again. Every lawnmower I ever owned in New Zealand was stolen. I had my first break in after I had only been there for two weeks. They stole all my sons clothes and the TV remote and left behind the TV. The big burglary, the year before I left, they cleaned the house out completely. I opened my front door and all that was left was the dust that had collected under the furniture they removed. They have huge drug problems, domestic violence and you read about babies being beaten to death with toilet brushes. Crime is increasing. I was never a victim of crime in South africa.

Now I live in China. People are generally unfriendly, push you all the time, hoik and spit right next to you. I've had 2 cellphones pick-pocketed, a camera pick-pocketed, a laptop snatched while I was having lunch at Burger King, and a break-in where they stole my new camera, laptop and cellphone from next to my bed while I was sleeping. Oh, and they stole three meat cleavers which the police say they would have used on me if I had woken up. So, is the grass really greener elsewhere?

I know people in the UK who battle to make ends meet as the cost of living is so high. I've met many South Africans in New Zealand who want to go home but can't afford to. I know of South Africans in Canada who want to go home. I'm not sure about Australia, but then, they are clamping down on immigration. With this current global crisis, I think home might be the best place. So, is the grass greener elsewhere? I definitely don't think so. Every country has its problems, maybe South Africa has more than others, but why don't you rather work at helping to improve the land of your birth, rather than running away to a life that might end up far worse than you've got now.

Land of my birth

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Comments 49 comments

Teddybear1000 profile image

Teddybear1000 7 years ago from East London, South Africa

Thanks for the insight it was a good a really good hub Thank YOU


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Hope this helps!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Super, super Hub, cindyvine! I too love this country which we share and in particular the city of my birth, Cape Town.

Sure we have our problems here and the crime is too high. But what great compensations - the weather, the scenary, and most importantly, the people.

I have often thought, especially during the awful apartheid years, of moving, but then I've been out of the country and couldn't wait to get back.

There is an energy, and a vibe here that is not matched anywhere else, I believe.

The whingers would whinge anywhere, so let them go.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I wish you all the best in China, which must, for all its problems, be a fascinating place to be (at least for a while).

Love and peace

Tony


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks Tony! I'll be back in Cape Town for a month in June. Can't wait!


Up up and awaaaaay 7 years ago

Have you not considered that your desire to return may just be home-sickness. Perhaps if you were here your horror stories would be a little more current and closer to home. My girlfriend was smash & grabbed 3 months ago and 2 weeks ago while parking her car had to duck bullets while police chased after robbers who'd carjacked someone else. Stories used to be a friend of a friend...nowdays it's me & you. You mention an email of a baby being raperd 8 years ago and a carjacking 3 years ago. Do you honestly beleive no baby raping or carjacking has happened since then. With our stats, one of each probably occurred while I'm writing this

I gather you're from Cape Town, please remember this is hardly typical of SA. It's one of the few towns not run by the ruling party. Why not embrace the true SA dream/nighmare and move into Durban city centre with it's condemned buildings, crumbling roads and filth which is getting worse by the day. You've been away 6 years, are you in for a surprise when you get back.

You seem really anxious to embrace a country that has little desire to embrace you. AA, BEE and political mutterings are constant reminders of this. Because you couldn't bring yourself to fill in the NZ citizenship papers is also a sign you never truly left SA and didn't embrace the country that extended a hand when you wanted it. Maybe this has more to do with not being accepted there than you'd realise.

The firing the president and "smooth transition" you mention may also be general apathy. Perhaps you've forgotten the constant administrative bungling, rampant corruption and the bottomless pit you'd be ploughing your taxes into, never to see much in return.

All your positives revolve around scenery, weather & (the very vague) "vibrant people". Call me a whinger if you like but I cannot be positive when I see no positive signs around me. As for the stick around and make things better notion...I wish you luck changing the world. Why not change the world where you are though, it may not be as much of a monumental task?

There's a monastry near where I live. They have an outreach program that schools & feeds the needy. You'd think this would earn them respect in the community and nobody would mess with a good thing. Guess again, after about a dozen armed hold-ups & roberries they decided to call it quits and closed down parts of their means of helping.

Call me whinger...I'll accept that, but you seem to whinge a fair amount too.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

I accept what you say. The point I wanted to bring across, is that wherever you go there are troubles and no place is perfect. Some people go over to NZ believing that it's paradise. They get a bit of a shock when they realise that NZ isn't all it's made out to be. Every place has it's problems. You can move to the States and get shot in a diner.


Up up and awaaaaay  7 years ago

Of course there are problems everywhere. If any place were paradise troublemakers would instantly flock there. Nobody expects paradise, but a home one can actually feel fairly safe in is a good start.

What you asked was whether the grass was greener. Crime-statistically it certainly is. SA has one of the highest crime rates on the planet. As for the weather, one can live with it, bullets are a bit harder to live with.

Before you return to live in SA, take a really long holiday, travel and marvel at the changes...whatever you decide, I wish you the best


Domelia profile image

Domelia 7 years ago from South Africa

Well, 'Up up and awaaaaay' if it wasn't for our horrid apartheid we wouldn't be in this mess. You will probably say to me 'oh blaming the past again, blaming apartheid, blaming the whites', but it's just a fact that apartheid brought about the social and economic imbalances that the new govt has to deal with. In the past white people lived safely in their suburbs being supplied fully by strong police presence to keep them safe and protected, had adequate municipal services, the poorest whites had housekeepers they didn't even often pay with money but other things like cigarettes or alcohol. Meanwhile, kids in the disadvantaged areas received poor education, didn't eat properly and farm workers in rural areas were abused, killed and raped by white farmers and nobody gave a damn. Nobody even dared take them to court or lay charges because case dockets would mysteriously disappear or the farmer or whoever it was would just somehow get away with it and go unpunished. Now those same starved and undereducated kids, who virtually received little chance to succeed in life now resort to crime to survive. Most people who get involved in crime don't do it because they want to, but for many it seems the only way. They are so dehumanised (a strategy of apartheid) that now they dehumanise other people and guess who the victims are.

You may hate me for saying this but karma is real. Crime is never right but remember apartheid was a crime against humanity and this a crime against the black (black, coloured, indian) people in this country. Even today in interpersonal relationships between whites and blacks, some whites still have a superior attitude and treat people of colour as objects without feelings.Saying this doesn't make me a racist as you might think, but it's simply true, because that's how their minds were programmed to think that way.

The new govt and SA society has a huge task in addressing the social and crime issues and it will take time for the economic scales to balance between the have's and have-nots.

When I watch international news, such as Al-Jazeera, and see all the political unrest, the poverty, war-torn countries, children forced to do labour or even forced into slavery to help supply the west with goods, I think despite the high crime we South Africans, even the poor, are damn lucky to at least have a stable society, and increasing opportunites for the youth to further their education. In countries like Columbia it's common for most tourists to get mugged, it's so bad there that women get forced into joining gangs or they die. It's not that bad here.

Let me tell you what happened to me. I took a trip to Nelspruit by bus earlier this year and had to go via Pretoria. I left my bank card at home and by the time I got to Pretoria I didn't have enough cash for a private taxi, with all my luggage. Being a female alone in a place I visited for the first time, with 2 large luggage bags, anything could've happened to me. A black car guard came to help with my bags and put it in his trolley to carry to the taxi. I tried to negotiate with a taxi driver after one refused to accept the R43 I had on me and wanted R60 instead. Then the car guard started negotiating with another taxi driver to accept the money and he settled for R50, and the car guard gave me the remainder R7 of his hard earned money. So where in the world will you get a complete stranger, a car guard, to help negotiate for a lost young lady of another race/ethnic group and still give her some of his hard -earned cash. He joked that one day when I see him again I can help him out also. I was SO lucky that day, it was like he was a guardian angel.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Domelia, I agree with you totally! I was catching a plane from Cape Town to Joburg, and when I was checking in, I realised that I'd left my handbag with all my money, cards and passports on the ground next to my car, where I'd put it when I was taking all the suitcases out of the boot. I raced back to the car expecting the worst. Imagine my surprise when I saw a car guard standing guarding my bag. "Thank God Madam!" he said throwing his hands up in the air in despair, "I was worried when I saw your bag lying there as someone could take it. So I guarded it knowing you'd return!" I quickly picked up my bag, checked the contents and all was there. Of course I gave him a tip which was worth every cent!


Up up and awaaaaay 7 years ago

OK Domelia so basically what you're saying is injustices of the present are forgivable provided there are past injustices. Next time one of your friends or family gets mugged, raped or murdered just chalk it up to the evening-out scorecard. At 18000 murders last year, shame I didn’t realise it was the poor dehumanised killers who were actually the real victims.

Domelia you comment "if it wasn't for our horrid apartheid we wouldn't be in this mess", this is actually pointless speculation. How do you know this and who knows what might have been? It's very naïve to think that before the white man came to Africa all the local tribes were dancing, singing and playing in joyous harmony. It just seems that much like other killings in Africa, when it’s black on anyone, there’s no comment. However, should a white even slander a black, that’s justification for a knife in the throat (which is what actually happened at a SA school recently).

In fact if one looks at the downward spiral South Africa is experiencing with unprecedented violent crime, one might say that if this is the situation apartheid was preventing, maybe our forefathers can be forgiven for their actions. As for your “Karma is real” idea, this is a load of clap-trap. If this were real then atrocities against blacks would have been because they deserved it. Try your karma theory on the Jews and Russian gypsies of World War 2, families of decapitated humanitarians in the Middle East or the parents of a murdered school kid.

If I as a white person am expected to take personal responsibility for atrocities performed decades ago by others with the same colour skin, can I then expect to be given credit for technological inventions and luxuries brought here by people with the same skin colour that make black peoples’ lives better. You know little things like electricity, running water, medicine, education and books etc. Can you honestly say the average South Africans life is worse today than what it was before Europeans arrived in Africa? In fact the average black South Africans life was probably better in 1994 than the average white Europeans life was before they arrived in Africa.

Domelia you say "The new govt and SA society has a huge task in addressing the social and crime issues", and yet at the expense of the ordinary man in the street, they throw million rand parties, buy exorbitantly expensive cars, flout tender regulations, permit corruption to grow, commit millions to bottomless pits, turn blind eyes to politically connected people's crimes, appoint unqualified useless friends into positions of power and permit them to run the civil service and institutions into the ground. Institutions like Eskom, SABC, SANDF, police, education, health care etc, the list is endless. I suppose this is OK. Previously protection, quality education and hospitals (amongst many other services) weren’t available to many South Africans, now it’s available to practically none. Now that’s an improvement, that’s real equality.

A criminal record isn’t even a deterrent to holding public office under the ANC’s banner, in fact it’s almost become a prerequisite. How does the ANC maintain the moral high-ground while supporting the likes of Ray McCauley, Malema, Boesak (OK not since he joined COPE last year), Mugabe and Gadaffi?

It's really sad that so many people such as yourself use apartheid as the yardstick of comparison for what's going on in SA today. Both of you (Domelia & Cindy) cite a positive experience with a car guard. Before 1994 there were no car-guards. In the days before ANC rule it was safe to walk the streets at night, there were fewer murders, no cash in transit heists or kids stabbing each other at school. But I suppose what are a few kids’ innocent lives when we can enjoy freedom behind burglar bars.

As for your notion “children forced to do labour or even forced into slavery to help supply the west with goods”, like SA politicians you won’t for a second point a finger at the east like China who actually permit sweat-shops and child labour on their very own soil, oh no, that’s the West’s fault too. Grow up, open your eyes and take a reality check of the world. If Africa hadn’t been colonised by Europeans it would have just been a different race, probably the Chinese who’re renowned for their tolerance, compassion and kindness to animals, oh hang on…no they’re not. Even Africa’s colonisers were themselves colonised, those nations probably wouldn’t be what they are today had that not happened. You don’t see them squealing and moaning, pointing fingers with begging-bowl outstretched.

Domelia you also said "Saying this doesn't make me a racist as you might think". Firstly, I didn’t even raise the topic of racism before this reply, but since you brought it up, you seem to be of the opinion (as every single one of your examples illustrates) that racism is only committed by whites on blacks, which in itself is a racist notion. Secondly, you clearly posses incredible powers, capable of knowing what “I may think” and even more incredibly you’re also able to predict non-existent potential past futures (if it wasn't for our horrid apartheid we wouldn't be in this mess).

Perhaps you should use these almighty powers of prediction and instead of predicting a blinkered utopian past, try predicting the future and what yours and your family’s prospects might be in this environment, or is having your daughter raped OK because some guy raped a black decades ago?

http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/Politics...


SXP profile image

SXP 6 years ago from South Africa

More than 1.5 million have left already and most have no plans to return, so it seems that things are better away from RSA. Wait till middle of 2010, when electricity prices will rise sharply and the econmy will take huge strain...then even more will look for greener pastures.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

SXP, many places in the world face the same stresses, and I have met many South Africans who moved who either wish they could move back but can't afford to as they place they moved to is so expensive, or they have moved back or have plans to. Then again, I have met South Africans who enjoy living away, as long as they can visit from time to time. Then I have met many Brits who have no intention of ever living in the UK again. It's all a matter of perspective.


Izzy Anne profile image

Izzy Anne 6 years ago

South Africans should put migration in its international context. This is a global world and people migrate all the time for many reasons. The concept of the "center of the world" or "dynamic city" or "place to make money" draws people from many countries to big cities like London or Paris or New York or Beijing. At the moment Italy is complaining about a brain drain.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Izzy Ann, I agree with you 100%!


Up up and awaaaaay 6 years ago

Izzy, your comments are off the topic. Obviously people migrate for many reasons. The topic here was basically do people leave South Africa because they find another country attractive or do they escape because they find South Africa repulsive and is the move worth it (ie Is the grass greener?)

I originally came across this post while researching other peoples comments as I was in the process of migrating myself. I didn't want to leave my friends, family or business I'd spent 17 years building, but living behind tall walls with electric fences and burglar guards, alarms, armed-response and still having to deal with crime didn't seem like living to me.

I left SA 5 months ago because I just couldn't take the instability, crime, crumbling infrastructure, violence and aggression any more. So far it's been an absolute pleasure, I live in a house with no gate, fence, burglar-guards, alarm or armed response and I've never felt safer. Sure there have been adjustments I've had to get used to, but none that would make me consider the move a mistake.

Maybe in a few years, like Cindy, I too will be writing nostalgically about how wonderful SA is while living far removed from it's troubles and realities.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Up and Away, I've been burgled repeatedly in New Zealand, burgled and pickpocketed repeatedly in China, and now burgled in Tanzania. No crime ever happened to me in South Africa, and the cost of living is much cheaper there than anywahere else I've stayed. it's always a matter of perception.


SidneyMorgan profile image

SidneyMorgan 6 years ago from Australia

I moved to Sydney Australia 8 years ago, last year was the first year I return back to South Africa for a visit. After hearing some of the doom and gloom stories from other people visiting South Africa recently I was pleasantly surprised to find the many positive changes I found. If was great to spend some time revisiting the places where I grew up. Cape Town is still one of the most scenically beautiful cities in the world.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Yeah Sidney, I am pleasantly surprised by how good it is there every time I go back for a holiday!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Just stumbled upon this! The 'grass is greener syndrome' afflicts a lot of Indians too and they rush off for greener pastures as soon as they graduate usually...though it seems to be happening with less urgency now that India is trying to catch up with the rest of the world. Each to his own, as long as they don't denigrate the country of their birth, which distressingly, a lot of them do!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

I agree FP, it's okay to be a global citizen and live in many different places, but celebrate the land of your birth because it helped to make you who you are!


Piglitza profile image

Piglitza 6 years ago from South Africa

I've been born and raised in South Africa. I've been here most of my life. I have tried going abroad, and its not always as easy as it seems. Yes, Here in South Africa you might have corruption and violence. But your living costs are affordable. We pay for fuel through our noses, but there is always public transport. Sometimes you have to sacrifice safety to make ends meet.

When I moved to Northern Ireland (Belfast), I barely survived, Its a wonderful place to go visit, or to stay, but be sure you have a job when moving there. When I got there, I was suddenly out looking for a job. 3 Months later, I scraped together just enough money to pay for a ticket back. back here, im finally in a decent job after job hunting for months.

It may be hard to find a decent job, but heck, it beats starving. Always remember when going abroad: Where you came from, that's where you know people, that's where your friends are and that's where your home is. Its not easy just packing up and going. Stick it out, and you learn to appreciate what you are fighting for!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Piglitza, what you say is so true!


Up up and awaaaaaaaay 6 years ago

@ SidneyMorgan, visiting Cape Town doesn't give a true reflection of SA in general. Yhis is such a common misconception that most people on this blog fall for. I have relatives in CT and am I grateful they're there. The Western Cape is the only province not run by the ANC and it shows.

@ Feline Prophet & Cindy, why shouldn't I denigrate the land of my birth? I'm more qualified to slate or praise SA than any other country. I'm quite entitled to say whatever I like about SA, so long as it's true. This should actually be welcomed since if one were only permitted to write only positive comments they'd be biased & worthless as everyone would know the contradictory opinions were subverted. Imagine if such an idea were legislated...bye bye freedom of speech.

@ Piglitza, pity you didn't have a bit more of a cushion to survive a bit longer. I've beem out of SA for 7 months and have struggled to find work so I've started a small business which is very slowly starting to pick up steam. You're absolutely right though, it isn't easy emmigrating (staying is very easy...it requires one do absolutely nothing different) but I feel emmigrating is totally worth it. Who wants to bring up a family or grow old in the prevailing SA environment.

I'm amazed at how patriotic everyone here is despite the place rapidly going down the tubes. In the vast majority of places roads are deteriorating, traffic-lights are disfunctional, police are more corrupt than ever, education standards are slipping, health services are crippled, Eskom is teetering, the defence force is a shambles, air-force and navy are just for show, road accident fund bankrupt, large percentage of municipalities hemmoraging cash, SABC has become a political mouthpiece, politicians get preferential blue-light red-carpet treatment while dipping their greedy paws into the public purse, government hands contracts & positions to unqualified friends and family, nepotism is rife, no end in sight for affirmative action (even kids who went through their entire schooling after the fall of apartheid are subject to AA) and of course violent crime is at insane levels. In fact practically every service has gone downhill with the exception of SARS...big surprise. With the track record of the current pres and the future one being touted as Malema, I'm not quite sure where all this optomism stems from.

When things get so bad even the blind can see the writing on the wall and the ruling party starts losing it's grip on power I shudder to think what will happen. Anyone who looks at our politicians current conduct & thinks that transition will be smooth and dignified is living in dreamland.

As for SA being cheap, it's not so when one works there. Earning an overseas salary and visiting SA is a completely different ball game. Property in SA is relatively cheap, cars outrageously expensive, plus you cannot rely on state medical facilities so you need very expensive medical aid. You also need to spend a small fortune on insurance & armed response. The cheapest thing in SA is the value of life.

If wearing blinkers helps one get through the day then wear them by all means, my advice is to get out before the place becomes Zim 2 and beat the rush, I miss family, friends and weather...nothing else.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Family, friends and weather is a helluva lot.


victim 6 years ago

Yes u got robbed in other countries that happens everywhere but in sa u dont just get robbed they murder u and rape your wife and kids wtf wait till u have been a victim in that way then ill promise u the grass is very greener on the other side obviously u will miss the nice weather having a braai etc but like i say only real victims of violent sa crimes wil feel that way wake up they not robbing us they are killing us in sa


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Victim, you are right. I have never been a victim of crime in South Africa, so I don't know how that feels. But I have been a victim of many crimes in New Zealand, including stalking and harassment of my family, not to talk about the burglaries, and also crime in China, on one occasion if I woke up we would have all been killed as that is what they do there. So those experiences impact on my perceptions and are what I comment on; the same as your experiences impact on your perceptions. Because of different experiences and points of reference, it stands to reason we'll have different perceptions, and that is okay.


Up up and awaaaaaaaay 6 years ago

To bsically talk about crime and use SA and NZ in the same sentence is a testament to how out of touch with reality in SA you are.

I'm in NZ, the road in which I live is 400m long. Only 2 houses have a gate. Most including mine have no fence or burglar guards either. You compare that to a country where armed response and razor wire are mandatory. A place where the government wanted to go to court to argue its right to run around chanting songs about shooting a minority group.

They don't only sing about it either, several ANC officials are facing charges of leading thugs on a rampage in Durban that resulted in the pushing of Zimbabweans out of flat windows, making them fall to their deaths below. They've been identified from CCTV footage. Of course since they're ruling party members, nobody really expects them to see the inside of a jail.

If things weren't getting worse all the time I'd have hope. Unfortunately they're not. The ruling party is becoming more and more militant, radical and threatening.

In the 8 months I've been away, 7 of my friends in SA have been robbed, hijacked or held at gunpoint in their home. My perception isn't based on some romantic decade old notion of Cape Town, but very recent real personal experiences and 1st hand accounts from family & friends still there.

I can honestly say, that a few months of being away has made me a happier & less stressed person. My thoughts and prayers are no longer for my own safety but for those I left behind. Anyone thinking of jumping ship, my advice is to do it. It's very hard especially in the beginning, but the benefits will eventually outweigh the sacrifices.

Cindy, you may have been lucky in SA and unlucky in other places you've lived but luck always changes. You made the right decision to leave ages ago, you just haven't realised it yet. If SA is so wonderful and with all your country-hopping, why wasn't SA chosen as a place to return to?

I think absence really does make the heart grow fonder.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Up and Away, my family all live in South Africa and that is where my heart is. I'm an international school teacher and that's why I'm not in SA, but when my youngest finishes school I will return. My experiences in NZ were not good ones at all. We left there fearing for our lives as we were getting death threats, waking up in the morning and our doors wide open even though we had locked them, and other scary stuff. Look up Shane Wenzel in Google, and you'll understand why we left NZ.


Up up and awaaaaaaaay 6 years ago

Shane Wenzel

Shane Wenzel appears to like threatening and intimidating people. According to this HoS story, he has:

* tried to take a camera from a Herald on Sunday photographer

* physically shoved a reporter

* tried to strip a mobile telephone from the hands of a reporter as he tried to call police

* verbally threatened National Party MPs Katherine Rich and Judith Collins

* demanded that Bob Clarkson’s office supply personal information about complaining students and when refused said he would ruin Mr Clarkson

I see he also has his own address www.shanewenzel.com Read it too.

Cindy, you compare this to the masses singing "shoot the boer" with the ANC's blessing which is literally a call for state sponsored genocide against a minority.

In every country there will be nutters, just in SA they seem to earmarked for politics. Here's a clip of SA's predident in waitings conduct http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b72HV2UM_H0

Surely after watching this you have to admit there's great cause for concern and not a place you'd want your kids to live in. Trust me it's not an isolated incident by a single individual either.

As a teacher and a patriot I'm surprised you don't return to SA urgently, they're desperate for your skills there.

Out of curiosity do your family in SA honestly say all is well there and that you should return?


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

As I said before, we base our beliefs on our experiences. I experienced intimidation and Shane's monkeys from his gang connections. It was not pleasant. My children were terrified, it obviously gives me a different perspective of New Zealand to the one you have. You had different experiences in South Africa to me, so you have a different perspective. I'm not sure why you are trying to persuade me to change my perspective. We are allowed to have our own perspectives, surely. And for the record, my family are happy in South Africa. Every country has its ups and downs, South Africa is not unique, and yeah, they are keen for me to return.


Up up and awaaaaaaaay 6 years ago

One shouldn't need to experience cancer to know it's bad.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Well, I experienced cancer and have lived to write about it. Read my hubs on breast cancer.


Up up and awaaaaaaaay  6 years ago

Just a metaphor Cindy, as I'm quite sure you're aware.


Up up and awaaaaaaaay 6 years ago

Although we may not agree, I really have to give you credit for not just deleting my comments and opinions which are in stark contrast to your own. Lesser people would have just taken the entire page offline.

For the record that's not a sympathy comment because of your history with cancer, I did feel that was a bit of a low blow. Still I'm probably guilty of a few myself.


Lyn 6 years ago

Thanks for your article. I'm a South African living in Dubai. I'm going back home in December for good, and i cannot wait! The grass is not greener on the other side, and I have learned that first hand! Athough Dubai has not been terrible, i really appreciate south africa alot more! Everybody says our crime is out of control, and I'm not going to disagree, but I spent 21 years of my life in SA and nothing happened to me personally (touch wood) it was when i was living by myself in Dubai that men have tried to force themselves into my apartment, followed me in the street and harassed me, and this is supposed to be the safest country in the world!

South Africa is such a great place.

We have so much to be proud of!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Hey Lyn I agree with you! Have never experienced crime in South Africa, but big burglaries in New zealand where they even stole my sheets when they stole my bed, burglaries in China and a burglary here in Tanzania!


Reality Check 6 years ago

Do you guys think the cops make up these stats to make themselves look bad?

Here's the official (read...watered down) stats)

http://www.saps.gov.za/statistics/reports/crimesta...

As Lyn says SA may be a great place, but with crime this rampant it's difficult to be proud of or enjoy the place. Crime influences everything you do here, from going to work to sleeping at night.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Reality Check, thanks for the stats. It shows that crime is decreasing! The thing is, is that South Africa is not unique when it comes to crime, you experience it in many places in the world. recently, a friend's husband was viciously attacked in his apartment in Egypt, a whole family was murdered by burglars in Nanjing China. You run away from the crime in South Africa and you are just as likely to experience it somewhere else. It's the age we live in, and it's a global problem.


Reality Check 6 years ago

You are not "just as likeley to experience crime" in other parts of the world, this is why SA is considered the murder and rape capital of the world. Those stats in a per capita context are extreme, in fact they excede many warzones. For someone living in another country to take pride that murders here have reduced from about 1 every half an hour to one every 33 minutes is laughable and insensetive to us that have to live with it.

In the past 18 months I've been robbed 3 times, 2 friends hijacked, 1 held up in her own home with a gun to her head, 6 friends homes burgled, 1 was followed from the bank after making a withdrawal and nearly rammed off the road, 1 has had his business held up and the same business was robbed a few weeks later, also a friend of a friend raped during a robbery. I could go on but those are the main highlights. Apart from the rape, these are all people I socialise with personally. This is not normal and shouldn't be trivialised because someone somewhere else was also unfortunately subjected to a violent crime.

Frankly I don't care what the stats say, this place is getting worse, just fewer people bother reporting crimes as the cops are so useless.

In fact it looks like I'm wrong, SA isn't the crime capital, Columbia is higher

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-c...

While I don't see Egypt's murder rate, you constantly cite New Zealand which is 0.01 vs SA's 0.49 . Even poverty stricken Zim is 0.07 .

This is reality, but until you come back you'll never understand or apreciate it.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Well, I guess one just goes off their personal experiences. I had 4 big burglaries in New Zealand (is that rate per capita? Because remember they only have about 4 million people in the whole country) 3 burglaries in China - one at knifepoint, a burglary in Tanzania. Never in South Africa have I been burgled or any of my family or friends, so maybe we've just been extremely lucky. I'm not saying it doesn't happen and I'm not trivialising anything. What I am saying, is that there is crime in other countries as well.


Shaun 6 years ago

Those stats from Reality Check are per capita, so poulation size isn't an excuse. Without adjusting for the population difference SA has about the same number of murders over a weekend that NZ has for the year, that's quite scary no matter how you look at it


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

I go back quite regularly and still plan to live there one day. It's a matter of personal choice. For me perrsonally, I love my country warts and all, despite crime it's still my home whichever country I might be staying in at the time.


brennawelker profile image

brennawelker 5 years ago

Wow.. glad to see this page, thanks for this.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Brenna, you only know what you had when you no longer have it!


Gabriel 4 years ago

So happy to have found this page.

Thanks for sharing your experience in China.

I can relate to the China experience for sure!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks for your comment, Gabriel!


Krista 4 years ago

My husband is from SA. I found your page to be very uplifting. I have been there twice, it gets under your skin. I hate leaving and am always anticipating our return. I fell in love with the Afrikaans culture and with my husbands family. Coming home is always a culture shock for us, not the going there.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Where do you live Krista?


nick 17 months ago

I am a proud south african, originally from Sandton, Johannesburg who moved 15 years ago to Melbourne, Australia.

The best decision I ever made.. Australia has its positives and negatives, but it is so good to have no high walls with electric fencing, no burglar bars, no dogs.. I am the only person on my street with an alarm system.. Australia has crime, but probably 1% when compared to SA.. on hot summer nights you can literally go for a walk at 2am around the neighborhood if you can sleep.. the only thing to watch out for are kengaroos LoL

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