As mentioned some weeks ago, one of the ever-increasing numbers to play a part in the South African statistics game is the ceaseless flow of emigration. There are all sorts of facts and figures, myths and rumours abounding. The only thing that seems certain is that folk continue leaving the good old country in their droves.
Why? The simplest of answers is to propose the direct correlation between two statistics. The growing emigration figure is inexorably linked with the growing crime threat. Simple. Yes, there are other factors, the state of the governance, corruption, nepotism, and… do I dare throw in reverse discrimination, to name but a few.
The way of Africa, other’s would say. Yes, I’m afraid this seems the norm. It seems not to matter where in Africa you find yourself… there’ll be folk leaving for safer shores. But back to the Saffers. Why are we all on the move? Why have we been on the move for a few decades now?
First it was apartheid that drove some away. Some fled for their lives, others left because they were able to and yet others because they couldn’t face conscription or the thought of living under the rule of an unjust government. Some pushed off to further their Marxist ideologies. Usually these pursuits were coupled with violent intent. Plainly put… they went off to communist terrorist camps, later to return to South Africa to fight their dirty battle. Even now some of these trained members, now of the free community, are still using knowledge gained back then… to further their violently criminal agendas.
So, more South Africans leave… to any shore deemed more peaceful. The current SA government is unable, or unwilling, to keep accurate statistics. I fear they may themselves even be shamed if they should admit to their mass expulsion tactics. Well, mass expulsion is better than mass murder. Only… the murder still continues, which in turn leads to further outward movement… and so the wheel keeps turning.Back to the statistics. It depends greatly where you look to find information and who you want to believe. The figures vary wildly. Anything from 700 000 to 1.4 million folk of SA origin are said to be in the UK alone. If you add in all the other destinations of choice then the mind boggles at the potential number of Saffers scattered across the world. If this sort of thing happened anywhere else on earth it would be called gross ethnic cleansing… surely?
Everywhere I go in Ireland I am reminded of the flight of the South Africans. The Irish are used to the concept of Diaspora… they’ve been at it for centuries. Now, we seem to have taken over from them. Where once the Irish work ethic was sought after I now hear folk saying things like… “We gladly have you Saffers around, you know how to get things done…”
I’m also reminded of our new role as roving ambassadors of a sunshine lost. Folk often say things like… “My brother’s girlfriend is from SA.” or “There’s a Saffer family living in our street… they sure know how to party.” or, “Do you also BBQ in the rain?” or, “When was the last time you’ve been home?”
My standard reply to the last question is usually, “Last night, why? Don’t you go home at night?” I’m used to the looks by now. Yes, Ireland is home… we’ve been here for more than 11 years now… our lives intertwined with the green land. Here we can live rich, fulfilled lives… chase our ambitions, make use of the opportunities, even in a repressed economy.
Here my sons and grandsons have a future… here, even though I’m almost always cold, I can go walk the countryside in peace… I can leave home in the morning and take the gamble, about 4.5 million to one against, that when I get home my good lady wife and the rest of the family will all be in one piece, nothing more traumatic may happen than the boiler run out of fuel, or someone leaving a car window open and my seat is wet…
Yes, I know this isn’t paradise… far from it! Sometimes I think this place is more backwards than bad old SA… the infrastructure is still in a state of change. Ireland was only coming out of the twentieth century when the recession struck… motorways are now becoming accepted ways of getting about, even though someone forgot to include pit stops in the initial planning. Imagine taking Johnny and Suzie down to Cork for the weekend with nowhere to pull over for little Johnny to shed the bulk of his fizzy drink…
We joke about much… the politicians take a hammering, the Church takes a hammering, justly so, many say… the roads, rail services… airports… the hospitals and leaking schools all get a tongue wagging. The waste of water, the lack of free school books… the long waiting times at hospitals… but do you know what?
I don’t care a rat’s posterior… when I say my thanks for the day gone by and put my head down at night I know I stand an exceptionally good chance of not being murdered in my bed.
Ces’t la vie! God Bless!