Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Law of Diminishing Returns For White South Africans

I am not quite sure what to make of David Bullard's article. It is written in the typical pompous style of the excrutiatingly class-aware Englishman.

He does make some very valid points. Where do you go? Life is very different, sometimes very hostile and very difficult no matter which destination you choose. I wonder how many South Africans are returning. My anecdotal evidence suggests not many. It isn't a common theme around the dinner table in my corner of the universe.

What is telling, though, is his concluding remark, that South Africa will become the new Zimababwe. If that is true, which I have no reason to doubt, why would Saffers return to South Africa? Is it a case of "Better the Devil you knew".

I was only paying scant attention to the radio while shaving this morning but I’m sure I heard a news story about white South Africans returning to this country in droves. The news bulletin suggested that, for many of them, it’s because they want to. “Bollocks” I thought to myself as I splashed on some bracing after shave and went in search of breakfast.

I gave a speech last week at a very enjoyable all male lunch party. The guests were all successful businessmen and over brandy and cigars the subject of emigration came up. The real puzzler these days is not whether to go but where to go. A decade ago it was easy. You decided that South Africa had no future under the ANC and tried to get Canadian, Australian or US citizenship. Or you rummaged through the family papers in the hope of finding that your grandmother held an Irish passport which might entitle you to one. Pretty well everywhere looked a better bet for a whitey than South Africa under the spiteful, racist presidency of Thabo Mbeki. The Mandela magic had worn off long ago and replaying the rugby victory of 1995 over and over again wasn’t convincing anyone that the country was destined for future greatness.

The UK was an obvious choice for anyone with a British passport and a bit of money. All you had to do then was find a job that would give you the same standard of living you enjoyed in South Africa. If you were able to speak a foreign language you could choose to live in sunnier parts of Europe and escape the constant grey skies of the UK.

The US was also a possibility (unless your middle name was Mohammed) and they even ran a green card ballot for those keen to escape to the land of opportunity. Prior to 9/11 it looked a pretty good bet but the attack on New York made it clear that nowhere is immune to attack.

Plenty of people packed for Perth and went off to a new life in what is probably one of the most boring places on planet Earth; once described as Bloemfontein on sea although I think that’s being a bit unkind to Bloemfontein. The early emigrants to Australia who left during the first wave of panic in the eighties managed to get in and buy property before the boom. But anyone arriving from the mid nineties onwards would have found it difficult to buy a half decent property for a multiple of what their South African home would have fetched. And there are the Australians to consider. Delightful people individually but as a nation they are the most anally retentive folk outside of Switzerland. Your neighbour is your policeman and if you don’t put your green bottles in the correct wheelie bin he’ll probably report you to the authorities. You don’t really need traffic wardens in Oz because if you have stopped on a yellow line (as I once did) an Australian will come up to you and say “You can’t park there mate” and give you a lecture on how it’s your sort that cause anarchy and the breakdown of society. Anyway, who wants to live in a country where you can’t even bribe a traffic cop?

I had friends who emigrated to Canada but they were into mountaineering and skiing so that made sense. For anyone else it is worse than being a mole. Most of the year you are freezing and underground. On the upside there’s always….er…sorry, I can’t actually think of anything but I am sure there is an upside.

Even those who escaped during the golden years of the chicken run admit that it was a huge upheaval and life on the other side is far harder, even if you have some money. For example, you have to do your own laundry and mow your own lawn; concepts foreign to most white South Africans. When you pull in for petrol no-one comes up to fill your car, clean your windscreen, check your tyres and talk about football with you. It’s self service and the only person you will talk to is the miserable cashier in a glass booth. How dreary is that?

So it’s hardly surprising that South Africans are returning but it’s not necessarily because they want to. The global credit crunch has had a huge impact on the world and particularly the US and Europe. I know people who had romantic notions of wanting to go off and live on a Greek island. How smart would that be now? Spain and Portugal are also in serious financial trouble with high unemployment and Ireland, that great Celtic tiger of the nineties, is now a third world country. Britain is bankrupt and only hobbles along thanks to its relationship with fellow bankrupt, the US, and the knowledge that if Britain collapses then others will also fall. The economic prospects for the next ten years in the US and Europe are not great. Those returning South Africans are only doing what they have done before….leaving a sinking ship. Whether the prospects in South Africa for people with white skins are any better remains to be seen. If we’re really lucky we may have ten years left before we become the new Zimbabwe. But at least the sun shines.

20 Opinion(s):

Exzanian said...

As an ex-pat living in UK for nearly four years now, heed Exzanian's wise words: Make sure you kill every sentimental and nostalgic thoughts as they arise (and the ghosts will be relentless) Then you need to deal with culture shock: For two years or more, you will not have a normal emotion, you will feel like crying for no reason, you will have feelings of dread and an otherwise sense of indescribable alienation and "numbness" Your thoughts will be on a different wavelength, your comfort zone will be gone and a bottomless void will yawn underneath you; you will become convinced that you are being devoured in a heartless, cruel system where not even a number will be able to identify you.....

Once you have overcome these challenges (oh I pity you) then, and only then, can you fetch your passport from the embassy...

Then the real problems start.......

FishEagle said...

@Exzanian. I admire your courage.

Anonymous said...

An expat, been there, done that:

Those who return to SA never convinced themselves why they left SA in the first place.

As for emigration ask "What can I do for my adopted country?" NOT "What can my adopted country do for me?"

Anonymous said...

We have now been gone for almost 9 years and have only now received our citizenship and passport for our adopted country, and as much as the thought of returning to South Africa to the warm sun and social life, one wonders that although we have been hit hard by the fall of the celtic tiger, one of us still have a job and I can always get contract work ... but what happens to jobs in South Africa after the world cup? It is a known fact that after the depression in 1929 it was only 2 to 4 years later that places like Australia felt the recession, the recession has been in the USA, the UK and Ireland and the rest of Europe for the past while, but only now are people in Canada starting to lose their jobs, the after effects will soon be felt in the Southern Hemisphere, just give it time.

VI said...

@ExZ. Were you reading my thoughts? It is very, very difficult; and, as my earlier poll indicated, for the most part you are on your ace. But go back? No way.

@Anon 6:33. Are you a Reborn Evangelical, drink from the Kool Aid, Christian? Your comments sounds platitudiness.

VI said...

@Anon 6:51. Interesting comments, and scary at the same time. I took a drive yesterday and was astonished at the number of retail places that have "suddenly" become deserted buildings. It's almost like the recession shock wave is only reaching us now (Canada); and yet the MSM is talking up a good game.

Anonymous said...

In South Africa, we will only be pushed out if we allow ourselves to be pushed out.

Anon.

Anonymous said...

@ VI: So what?

Anonymous said...

So what?

So we are on our own, and it is up to us to ensure we don't get screwed. If we fail to organise, or lie down, they will roll over us.

Believing the downer propaganda is the first step to lying down.

Anon.

Anonymous said...

What a shit article. Who uses the expression, chicken run, anyway? Only dumb fucks who can´t get out of that nigger shit hole called arseania. Would you live in a kaffir country anywhere else on the African continent? Of course not. So what´s different about SA? Nothing, nada, nix. A kaffir country is a kaffir country, period.
Get the fuck out of there pronto, chop chop.
And one last thing vanilla. Don´t you ever insult the Aussies ever again, you arse wipe. They are a wonderful people who have offered many South Africans a home, friendship and a great standard of living. Maybe they saw what a prick you were and told you to piss off?

Anonymous said...

VI: What is it with you and Christians? Can't you leave it alone? You said yourself that you prayed to god but that you didn't get what you asked for. That makes you a believer, or an ex-believer, now turned atheist.

We Catholics are perfectly happy praying to our Jesus and Mary, thank you. We enjoy our Lenten sacrifices and some of us even contribute to Helpende Hand even though we aren't necessarily Afrikaans.

We don't need more polarisation between whites in this country that you complain of so bitterly.

So I will repeat Anon 06:33's sentiment. Ask not what God can do for you, ask what you can do for God. It's a two way process.

Not that you aren't doing a lot of good with this blog, but try not to be so bitter towards Christians. Were you left in the lurch by a girlfriend or wife who went all happy clappy with the Hyper Rhema? Then your bitterness is perfectly understandable. I wouldn't call Ray McCauley a Christian, he's working for the opposition.

WHITEADDER said...

Right now its pretty tough everywhere. Yet not as insane as in Zimbabwe. So the choice now as well in some years will be : A tough starter time in a reasonable functioning country or down the drain in the new South Zim, a masochists paradise.

Ex Sadf said...

To Anonymous said, You have a point.We the white's seem to be in denial and sit on our arse's and take what comes our way. We need to stand up and stop taking this SHIT anymore. These koon's are basically stupid and cowards, and are shit scared of white's in general. Stand up and tell them to fuck off, they have always respected the warm klap.

Rose said...

@VI and Exzanian, a friend of mine in Canada has said the same thing, people losing jobs. We have made our new home and there is no turning back at this stage, mainly because the reason we left was not politically motivated but more because we wanted to travel, however having had a child who has no fear of anything and to take her back to a country where she will have to be locked behind electric gates and fences is just no fair on her. As much as I miss the homeland, I am here to stay for now, however when I retire that may be a different story.

Anonymous said...

"platitudiness" wtf?

PLATITUDINOUS

Christ almighty, I can see who didn't get educated by the Marist Brothers.

VI said...

@Anon 18:54. You are none too bright, so if you live in Australia, the standards can't be all that high. I didn't write the article, and I have the right and freedom to publish and/or write whatever I like. If you don't like it, get your news elsewhere.

VI said...

@Anon 19:11. Quite the contrary. I have nothing against Christians at all. I just like to put my point across. My friends and I debate similar issues without it getting nasty.

VI said...

@Anon 00:58. We have a pedant in the house with small man syndrome.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the first nor last serial emigrant. My father emigrated from UK to India to SA. I disliked UK, returned to SA, re-emigrated to NZ. Besides Saffers, stacks of Asians, Poms, Pacific Islanders emigrate to NZ. We have Asian, Kiwi, Indian and Niue neighbours. NZ is a secular country where religions are tolerated.

Jim Beam said...

Who does not want to return to South Africa?

Everyone wants to return to South Africa but what is it that you will return too? Crime. Are you willing to risk your families safety for returning home, get hijacked or your home invaded. The risks outweight the rewards. Its a tough one!

I miss South Africa but the risks are just too high.