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Old Dec 4th 2007, 11:14 am   #16
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Interesting about that last bit. So, did you have to re-qualify then? How many years do you have to take, or do you have to do the full course?
Am getting on a bit now so wasn't really that interested. Would have been given 1 years credit for the RSA degree and then would have had to do 2 years to get the B.Pharm degree and then another 1 year internship. My RSA degree is the equivalent of a British Hons degree because we went straight on to Masters in South Africa. When I did my internship in Rhodies there was another intern in the unit with a British degree and she was pretty hopeless. Pharmacy services in the UK are pretty poor in comparison with South Africa. This is mainly due to the fact that the pharmacies are corporately owned and money and not service is the main driving force. They have gone the same way in South Africa now.

In the 2 years before I left I was working as a consultant in Medical IT. I was working with various programmers and also someone in the Health Research Unit at MIT in the USA developing computer aided patient management systems to reduce the cost of healthcare. I thought that the NHS would be an ideal candidate for further work in this area. Sadly the UK is now some 20 years behind the rest of the world in the Medical IT environment and are only now starting to use electronic data interchange. The techniques we were working on require data warehousing and analysis to be effective.

The net result is that I have left the medical field altogether. My wife is a Hotel Manager and I am semi-retired. I work part time as a receptionist. I have spent spare time learning Linux and run my own Internet, email and mysql database servers. I am planning to launch my own Internet based tourism business in the next few months.

-Rob
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Old Dec 4th 2007, 12:45 pm   #17
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Hey guys, chat on threads in the forum please ..... just use this for introductions please
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Old Dec 7th 2007, 8:09 am   #18
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Grew up in Scotland left school and went into the family security (electronic) business. Due to my father’s poor health the business was sold so I decided to do the OE thing and put some feelers out for Canada and South Africa. Within a week I got a response from SA that my skills were in demand and basically gave me a green light which I was not prepared for. As a young lad I saw the opportunity as a potential adventure. Besides the SA government paid 80% of my re-allocation in return for a two year commitment.

Landed in SA in Dec 1980 after leaving the snow in Scotland. Stayed in Hillbrow and absolutely loved the pulse and colour of it all. My skills were in demand and very shortly was offered a new job at double my salary. Wow, what a comparison to dull old Scotland.

Although I adapted pretty well to SA, at that stage in my life I equated foreign exchange for how much a dozen beers & 20 smokes cost.

I stayed in London in 1984 for six months and couldn’t get to grips with the miserable lifestyle by comparison. It was at this point I realised that Africa gets in your blood and it had mine. Although I did often miss the vibe of Europe and the history that South Africa lacked by comparison.

Arriving in SA after the UK in the 80s was like going through a time warp but it was a pleasant one. So okay you couldn’t gas your car after midday on a Saturday and the folk my age had never heard of the Police ( whaatt ?). Anything beyond Springbok hits was unheard on radio in those days. Thank God for the Hillbrow record centre.

I divorced in 86 and in 92 decided to hang up the collar & tie to go travelling for a wee while, which I did for two years ( fell in love with Greece). After travelling I decided to go back to SA just before the elections in 1994. Many folk told me they thought I was crazy but I was positive that SA was going to be OK and that I really felt SA as my home.

Managed to do quite a bit of overseas travelling with business and decided the collar and tie offered some decent perks. Re-married in 95 to a South African lass. We spent our Honeymoon at the Royal Hotel in Pilgrim’s Rest and then a few days at Sodwana Bay.

Was hi-jacked at gun point in Highlands North in 96 and this was my first realisation that the winds of change were blowing. Went to the UK in 97 for a good look see and again in 99 and decided we would immigrate to Cape Town where we stayed for a year. My wife started her own business there. We loved it but the property prices were crazy and the salaries a tad Jurassic. Back to Jo’burg we went. We bought a place just outside Fourways and was offered a great role with an international company.

We lived in a gated cull-de-sac and one of the first major realisations of things to come was when the local authorities came and tore down our street gate ( after many meetings with layers and various others blah blah blah) with great enthusiasm and soon after that we experienced several crimes in our small street.

I was re-trenched in 2001 and decided to start my own business. We discovered that my wife was pregnant in mid 2002. One morning (my missus was around six months) at around 04.00 we were woken by ADT security at our gate and alerted us on the intercom that there were burglars in our property, we realised that they had been just outside our open bedroom window (burglar barred) but it was the realisation that if one of the dogs had wanted to be let out in the middle of the night (as they often did), we could have walked into a bad situation. With a pregnant wife this was not the most pleasing thought.

We found out later that the criminals had been using the house behind ours to store stolen goods and our garden as a thoroughfare. We had steel bars bolted into the top of our six foot wall with razor spikes welded onto the bars. This alone cost several thousands of Rands. We installed sensors all over the garden (we had half an acre with lots of trees) which set off floodlights at different places all over the property. We installed sensors that set off very powerful lights that would light up areas around our bedroom window as this was our main area of concern and wanted to be woken if these particular areas were breached.

We ripped off the burglar bars on the outside of the house and installed 25 mm square bars rawbolted to the inside of the windows ( as several houses in the area had their burglar bars attacked with angle grinders). Again this cost us thousands of Rands. We installed a security gate in the passageway between the rest of the house and the bedrooms. We put up CCTV camera in the garden. We were starting to create a prison that we would retreat into and bolt ourselves down for the evening, The ritual before getting into bed was checking the mobile phones were charged and in their usual place. The torch was ready for use and the remote panic button in its usual place. ( I now can’t believe I actually lived like that ) etc etc.

Many times I used to lie in bed on a Friday or Saturday night and listen to gunfights taking place. We often used to hear the police helicopter flying around the area. We were two minutes from Monte Casino and that was hit by armed gangs several times.

A couple of times we were woken up in the middle of the night with our alarm going off ( we only had a buzzer connected with a silent radio to armed response). It was a terrible feeling that from one moment in deep sleep you would awaken into almost combat mode.

The crime just seemed to be quickening at such a rapid pace all around us and all we heard was local shopping centres being held up, including Fourways Mall. Many of our neighbours had experiences and attempted break ins whilst they were at home. Hijackings were a daily occurrence and local stores and take away outlets had private armed guards posted at their doors. The civilian world was becoming like a war zone.

There was no doubt about it, the criminals were getting really cocky and didn’t seem to care what they were faced with. We were beginning to get the impression that the law was there to assist them to achieve their target.

The problem was that we were on this alert mode all the time. We would check outside the doors in the morning before we let the dogs out. We would drive down the driveway before opening the automatic gate and drive out at speed closing the gate at the same time as well as doing a 360 to see that there is no one about to leap out of the bushes somewhere. At the first stop street at the end of the road we would check our car windows, check the rear mirror and watching all pavements and pathways for potential hijackers. This may sound crazy but it became the sub conscious thing to do and driving at night it was worse.

When our son was three months we witnessed a hit on someone whilst they were driving their car 5 meters in front of us. It happened at ten o’clock in the morning in broad daylight. We were right at the front of the traffic lights and about 75 metres from the Douglassdale Police station. If the shooting of driver had happened two seconds earlier the car that veered out of control ( due to driver being shot) would have come through the side of our car where our wee lad was in his car chair.

This was one of those turning points for me. Later that day I phoned the Douglasdale police station and couldn’t get anyone that could actually understand me. Due to my involvement with the local community police forum I rang back and asked for the commander of the station by name. To my shock they knew nothing of the incident. The fact that the shooter had used a big cannon and was pretty audible and at that distance from the police station we really thought they would have responded.

Over the next couple of months I had the displeasure of putting our armed response to the test, the first time took them 20 minutes with an excuse that it was raining. The second time the guard arrived without the necessary keys to get into our property or a torch. I was beginning to realise that I was getting closer to making the decision I had sworn, that was that I vowed never to stay in SA if I had to carry a gun.

The Standard Bank in Fourways Crossing (our branch) was hit in broad daylight, The Brass Monkey (pub)was hit, the Beef & Lobster in Paulshof and loads more all in a few kilometres radious. Every Monday morning there was news of the horror over the weekend ( by hits I mean being held up at gunpoint or shot).

We had to take our son (at fourteen months) to Olivedale Clinic (where he was born) as he had a bad case of gastro late on a Sunday afternoon. We were advised by our GP (a brilliant Italian) to go and get a shot of Maxilon to stop the vomiting to reduce the risk of de-hydration.

We were told that nobody in the clinic would look at him unless we gave a deposit of R8000. Fortunately my credit card could take that. This was a circus story that I won’t bore you with the details. It ended the following (Monday) morning when we were advised by the same GP to take our son straight to him. Our GP told us that the clinic story was just a scam to get our money, I was furious. I dropped my wife & son back home and drove straight to the clinic and met with the manager. They did everything to apologise after I mentioned a few names in the press and assured us of a credit on the bill.

Driving out of the clinic I really thought about how SA had changed and lost its soul regardless of race or culture. People were on this mission to increase their own wealth at any cost and with no regard for life itself. We lost my father-in-law due to negligence at a private clinic shortly after this.

I took the bull by the horns and told my wife that I had made the decision that we had to get out of SA and if she was not coming (as she had protested for years) I was going anyway. That was a tough call that I thought through with having our wee lad it wasnt a really nice one but one of those that had to be done. Not to bore you with those details my wife said she agreed to leave SA and within a week we had the house on the market.

We knew we were leaving SA but not really sure where to. Our house sold within ten days so the pressure was on. I burnt lots of midnight oil doing research and looking at our obvious options on an EU passport. This was when I joined BE. The shortlist was Canada & New Zealand. Here we are in Auckland nearly three years later. It has not been a walk in the park but every time I look at our wee lad’s happy face I know it was the right decision.

My wife is now the one with stronger feelings as to what SA has become and where it is going to and even if we should go back for a visit.

We still have family in SA and many dear friends that we really miss. Slowly but surely we hear of friends deciding to leave and recently three of my family have been accepted into Australia.

I am truly saddened at what SA has become and know folk that are privy to certain crime stats that are certainly not the same as the public hear .

We often ask ourselves the question if we would go back to SA if they sorted the crime and the answer to that is no as the other basics like electricity are rapidly falling away just like they did in Zimbabwe.
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Old Dec 7th 2007, 12:27 pm   #19
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Just so everyone has an idea of who you are and what you are doing, why not post a few lines here just introducing yourself to the other SA forum members

Then get posting!
Hi All,

Cambells and I have been friends for almost 20 years.. Yep I too got fed up with the feeling of living under the constant threat of danger and finally left SA 18 months ago.

I went back for a quick visit in June and felt like I'd walked onto the set of a bad Science fiction movie..

I love SA dearly as it is after all the land of my birth. I am also saddened by what SA has become.

I live in London now in a HouseShare with a bounch of Saffers and Ozzies who range in age from 19 to 23 years of age..

... The absolute looney I hear most of you mutter under your breath or gag on your next sip of coffee..

I share my room with a pack of rats and don't take it too personally when they steal my meusley bars!!

I'd much rather be woken up by the sound of rats as opposed to Rat Tat TAt!!! (... ie. the dulcet tones of rapid gunfire!! )
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Old Dec 13th 2007, 12:18 am   #20
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Just so everyone has an idea of who you are and what you are doing, why not post a few lines here just introducing yourself to the other SA forum members

Then get posting!
Moved to Pietermaritzburg in 1980 with 2 suitcases, 2 cats and 200 GBP
OH was lecturer at University of Natal. I worked as registered nurse at "old" Grey's. Our 3 children were born in Pmb, although we moved to Jhb when youngest was just 6 weeks old, as OH was offered prof's post at Wits.
I worked at Garden City Hospital in paediatrics. We were in Jhb for 10 years, lived in Emmarentia, right by the dam.
Had phones taped by police in early days - if you hung up then quickly picked the receiver up again you could hear them still on the line
Remember the days of the "Groot Krokodil"
Had great times on Natal south coast (would give anything for a bunny chow) as well as field trips to St Lucia, Hluhluwe, Umfolozi and the Berg.
Bad days were making sure you always had passports on you and enough fuel in the car so you could drive to Botswana if things got too bad.
Teaching the children to lie down in the car under a canvas if people started shooting at us. Making sure they always locked the security gates on doors and armed the alarm and turned on the electric fence. Treating robots as 4 way stops.
Queued all day in Auckland Park to cast our vote in 1994, the atmosphere was amazing. Everyone seemed to have so much hope for the future.
However, by 1995 I was starting to see some pretty upseting things at the hospital.
Children shot through the head, babies raped as it was believed they were a cure for AIDS/HIV. Worked night duty and used to hear the helicopter bringing people in who'd been hijacked, shot etc. Prisonners getting admitted before the people they'd injured. Had prison ward in basement, always full up - overspill of prisoners under armed guard on wards, some of whom would try to escape given half the chance. Had one incident at 5 am in the morning where we had armed police swarming over the paeds ward looking for an escapee.
By 1998 wouldn't let the children go meet friends even during the daytime. They were told at school they had no future as they were white, middle class children of immigrants. Decided we had to leave Jhb when youngest had knife held to his throat for a packet of biltong. Close friend's 18 year old daughter was raped in Parkview and colleague of OH was robbed at gun point in her office at Wits - after that the staff all had security gates put on their office doors so they could lock themselves in.
OH managed to get job in Namibia. It broke all our hearts to leave SA - have never lived anywhere that gets into your blood as much. Still go back to visit friends, worry about them all the time, especially the one's who farm in Wartburg, KZN.
Spent 3 years in Windhoek before OH was offered a job in France. The fact none of us spoke French wasn't an issue. The important thing was we felt the children were safe and had a future.
Will never forget driving into our local town with them after just being there a couple of weeks. We were listening to something on the BBC - a journalist was interviewing a politician. The kids wouldn't get out of the car until it had finished. They just couldn't believe you could have that sort of freedom of speech. That was probably the moment I really knew we'd done the right thing in leaving when we did.
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Old Dec 13th 2007, 12:25 am   #21
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I left SA in 1974 having been schooled at St Stithians in Randburg. Ive lived in England and BC since. My mind boggles when I now read about Hillbrow and Braamfontein and some other places - wow how things have changed. We whities sure had it good back in those days.

I have fond memeories of summer hols in Ramsgate and Plet but I fear those places have pretty much gone to the dogs by now too.

I feel quite blessed living in a place where we never lock our doors and leave the keys in the ignition when we go shopping.
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Old Dec 13th 2007, 2:04 am   #22
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Thank you so much for your story Val. You have validated pretty much what we have been trying to warn people about. There are so many people that simply do not understand what they are facing. I hope they heed that warning before heading into SA. It is so hard to comprehend until you have experienced it which is understandable.
Also welcome to Riogan. BE is a wonderful site even if there are a few of us that grumble about the issues from time to time. A good grumble helps air the dirty laundry though.
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Old Dec 16th 2007, 11:04 am   #23
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Just so everyone has an idea of who you are and what you are doing, why not post a few lines here just introducing yourself to the other SA forum members

Then get posting!
Hi everyone
Just joined up a short while ago. My family and I will be moving to Cape Town in Feb 08. I'm originally from Hong Kong, of British nationality. Grew up as an expat there. Being in the hospitality industry has meant alot of relocating over the last umpteen years. Presently living in Bangkok and simply loving it. Will be in CT as of Feb and taking a preview trip in Jan. Lots of comments on the site have made me very nervous but I'm in a no choice situation and hope to make the best of it. Hope to meet some warm friendly people through the Forum and maybe linking up with other newly arrived expats too.
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Old Dec 16th 2007, 4:12 pm   #24
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Hi everyone
Just joined up a short while ago. My family and I will be moving to Cape Town in Feb 08. I'm originally from Hong Kong, of British nationality. Grew up as an expat there. Being in the hospitality industry has meant alot of relocating over the last umpteen years. Presently living in Bangkok and simply loving it. Will be in CT as of Feb and taking a preview trip in Jan. Lots of comments on the site have made me very nervous but I'm in a no choice situation and hope to make the best of it. Hope to meet some warm friendly people through the Forum and maybe linking up with other newly arrived expats too.
Hello and welcome. I hope you have a smooth, safe transition to your new abode. If anything, understand that safety is a necessary focus and that knowledge will help you stay out of harm's way. Good luck to you.
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Old Dec 24th 2007, 7:34 am   #25
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Hi Folks,

I've just signed up and thought I'd pop in here to say hi first.

Although I've been running a company here in RSA for some years, I lived in the UK until 2000, when I got soooo sick of the political correctness, weather and 'long distance' commuting, I decided to up sticks and move to RSA on a permanent basis. Despite having ongoing visa problems (don't have residency) I like living in SA and unlike a lot of people, I haven't had any security issues or worries.

Home is on a secure estate and I spend at least 6 months a year travelling in Africa - most of it, living in tented safari camps. I leave my house empty, locked and alarmed and (fingers crossed) the place stays empty and safe.

The only thing that might make me leave SA are the visa problems, and if I do leave, it'll be to go to another African country. - Probably Tanzania because we spend a lot of time there anyway and it makes sense to make that country our base.
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Old Dec 27th 2007, 1:23 pm   #26
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I lived in SA from 1975 to 1996 .

Our last place was in Magaliesburg. We had two adjacent small-holdings, one of 56 acres, and one of 20 acres, with a 5 bedroomed/ 3 bathroom etc house on one, and a 3 bedroom/ 2 bathroom house on the other.

We decided in 1996, after one-too-many burglaries and armed confrontations, that enough was enough. Unfortunately, nobody at the time was interested in moving out to the sticks, so we literally dumped the door keys in the veldt, got on a plane, and came back to the UK ...... so if anybody wants a smallholding, give me a call. I doubt that there is much left of either.

I loved SA, and had some of the best years of my life there. Fantastic scenery, mostly nice people, brilliant weather, great standard of living in general ..... but I would never go back.

It saddens me to see it going downhill, and the people responsible still blaming somebody else. Africa will always be in my blood .... but I decided that my blood was no longer going to be in Africa.
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Old Dec 27th 2007, 5:02 pm   #27
 
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[QUOTE=1066;5708867]
It saddens me to see it going downhill, and the people responsible still blaming somebody else. Africa will always be in my blood .... but I decided that my blood was no longer going to be in Africa.[/QUOTE]

Oy, I own the BE trademark for that last line
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Old Jan 2nd 2008, 4:28 pm   #28
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Hi all

I have been very lucky and worked in many countries around the world (apart from the Americas) lived in a few and experoenced many great and sad things.

Currently 'settled'? (will I ever be settled) in the UK.

My Dad left the UK for SA 43 years ago and died there 3 years ago. I have worked in SA a few times and have always had a great love for the country (warts and all). I now have a half brother in SA and have a good friendly relationship with him, his mum and wife..

I love SA as a country - and a m VERY sad about the stoopid politics of the ANC and the way SA is coming down to the lowest common denominator.

I am not a racist / religionist / political player in any way - and pray that common sense and honesty will pave a way to make SA the great place it should be. Unfortunately history has shown that African politics are tricky and I doubt that will happen in my lifetime.
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 3:28 am   #29
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Born in South African of british ancestors that came to South Africa to fight in the boer war.
Lived in in Blyvooruitzight, of the TV series about "Village Reef gold mine" until 5 as dad was a mining engineer.
Moved to Germiston then Bedfordview whilst growing up with 3 brothers.

Moved back to Germiston after leaving parents after starting work in Electronics industry, then Edenvale when I married a nurse.
I always wanted to leave South Africa and was waiting for the best opportunity, and let several slip by in the early 80's.
My wife did not want to even hear of leaving South Africa, so I decided to try and make a difference and joined the South African Police Reservist.
Stood duty at the first election for 3 days and did many many hours of police duty and faced attacks several times. Saw several dead and dying in Hijacking and bad accidents, took many statements from break ins and theft and shot at a few times.
My wife hated this and it helped her to change ther thoughts about leaving.
Was offered a position /partnership in a company to assist them take agencies of big USA companies.
Then assted with getting a contract to manage military equipment
Had an almost fatal accident in 1999 being knocked down by a car. and then after a few years was made redundant because I was not meeting targets set for sales to a government organisation.
The company had no BEE plan and insisted it was not a problem, but I was.
I saw the writing on the wall a few years before and started looking into migration to the USA NZ and AU.
Started the paperwork trail in 2000 and after a long struggle to get it submitted a visa application in 2003, we were granted a visa in 2004 and sold up and left. The children were in 40 child classes which were going to get bigger because the ANC were shipping students in from Tembisa and forcing white teachers to go to work in the townships.
Since then the company has been sold to a BEE concern.
2004 we moved to Australia visiting Mackay because my brother and his wife (also a nurse) were here.
Since arriving the South African migrant population has swelled dramatically.
Been here ever since and have convinced and assisted a few more skilled whites to leave RSA and will carry on doing this for a few years
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 8:36 am   #30
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I was born/grew up in Scotland, and moved to Hong Kong when I was 21. Got married, returned to the UK for two years, and came to SA in 1980 (my mother is 2nd generation South African). Been here for nearly 30 years now, and haven't been back to the UK since 1989 - 90, or had any desire to.

My wife decided she'd had enough, and moved back to Scotland about 18 months ago. She's not enjoying it, and has come back to SA for visits a couple of times, but doesn't want to return permanently because of crime and the general situation here. Puts me in a bit of a quandry. I work in a security risk management environment and I'm very much aware of crime - I have to deal with it all the time and I've had a few bad personal experiences -but I just don't know. My kids (grown up) have no intention of leaving, for the time being anyway.

I've, sort of, promised to go to the UK for a couple of weeks in February - March on a recce but I'm not really looking forward to it. Logic, and my head, tell me to get out but it will break my heart to leave this beautiful, bloodstained, country despite everything. Hell of a situation.
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