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Old May 12th 2016, 12:44 pm   #1
sasabo 
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Default Thinking of moving our family to South Africa

My husband and I have been living in the UK for the past 12 years, he's South African and I'm British. We have two children and we're currently thinking about moving to South Africa, as we feel it will provide a healthier, outdoors lifestyle for our children. My husband's family is located along the Garden Route and say only good things about the area and country in general. They are under the impression that things are looking up, that the new generation have better opportunities, less thoughts of separation and racism than previous generations. We lived on The Garden Route for 8 months before we got married, about 12 years ago, and have visited on holiday with our children over the years. We love South Africa and think it has much to offer. I can't say we have an awful lot of faith in the UK and EU at the moment ;( The private school near to where we'd move to in SA follows the Cambridge curriculum, so if we ever did want to move back to the UK the children could hopefully make an easier transition between schools. We live in a beautiful part of the UK, Dorset on the South coast. I know the government is corrupt in SA, but where isn't it?! The only concern we have is finding work, however we both found jobs very easily when we lived there previously. Any thoughts would be appreciated
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Old May 13th 2016, 1:58 pm   #2
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Default Re: Thinking of moving our family to South Africa

There is a regular poster on this site called Ededed who will probably pop up and give you some good advice. He has done the whole journey, physically and emotionally.

I mean no offence when I say that posters who write messages like yours are often just looking for validation for a decision they've essentially made. Nothing wrong with that, but it does mean that there's a big confirmation bias going on.

Yes, the Garden Route is pretty, but I'd be suspicious of anyone who, as you mention, had only good things to say about the country in general. My own view is that things are getting worse on almost any measure you care to consider, and though you can dispute specifics, I think the overall picture is objectively bad rather than good.

But it sounds as though you're well off and can afford an experiment, so why not? A private school offering an English curriculum is a sensible move if you can afford it. If your husband is SA, then I assume you won't have work-permit trouble - which is a major headache for potential immigrants. Personal safety is a crapshoot. You just have to accept the risks and learn to live with it.

The main thing is that you recognise the importance of maintaining a negative capability: in other words, ensuring that you don't burn your bridges and can leave again if you need to. Leaving again is hard. The longer you leave it, the more complicated and disruptive it becomes. Again, Ededed may have more to say about that.

Anyway, I'd be curious to hear how things work out for you.
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Old May 24th 2016, 2:53 pm   #3
Tegwyn Female
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Default Re: Thinking of moving our family to South Africa

Take a long hard look at the exchange rate and that should give you an inkling of how the economy is doing. This should be a neon sign. 1 ZAR = 0.043737 GBP!
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Old May 29th 2016, 6:29 am   #4
ededed Male
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Default Re: Thinking of moving our family to South Africa

Hi Sasabo, and welcome to BE. Apologies for the horribly delayed response, we've just finalized our final portion of the family resettlement to the UK, and now have everything in place (wifi and the like) so I'm back online after 2 months of moving around.

Pablo's and Tegwyn make excellent points, and both (like me) spent many happy years in SA before making the decision that it was in our best interests to leave. Here's the breakdown..

You can live very well in SA, trouble free and happy. You can earn lots of money, enjoy an incomparable standard of living with staff, big houses, fine wine and good food. There are great schools, nice shopping malls, brilliant golf courses and you can have a big car and views of Table mountain. But....

Personal safety is a crapshoot. I worked in security and had cameras, fences, dogs - and still woke up to find someone in my house. I wasn't prepared to let that happen again with kids. I just don't think the lifestyle is worth the risk of your kids being harmed.

The currency is falling faster and faster. Unless you have piles of cash tucked away offshore (and there is a reason you can't take more than R5m out of the country in a year) it will decrease your income at an eye-watering rate, making a return to the UK prohibitively expensive. We lived there for 10 years, sold 2 houses at a healthy profit and when that converted to £s, it was about enough to use as a small deposit on a house.

Yes, all governments have corruption, but you haven't experienced the mind-numbing, spirit-crushing, socially-decimating actions of Zuma and his bloated cronies. Read up on Nkandla. The arms deal. The spy tapes. Sports quotas. Land-redistribution. E-tolling. Eskom. The R8m spent on cars for his 5 wives just this week. And then look at the poverty of the people in SA, and ask herself why 65% of the population keep voting for him. It's a situation that's only getting worse and worse - and that's before you look at BEE, a whole chapter on how to **** up a country all by itself. Google images of "mercedes ANC 100 years of selfless struggle". Read up on Julius Malema and his plans for the whites of SA.

Rolling power cuts, service delivery protests, university students who set fire to a building because they've either been asked to pay for education or because there's a statue of someone who built the university they're being taught in that offended them due to actions 150 years ago - I didn't want my kids growing up in a country like that, and then leaving at 21 because they realized they'd never get a job and then realizing my R50m of savings didn't even buy me a ticket out of there when the revolution comes. Which it will.

So - that's my view. The bottom line is this (for me): I loved SA. I still do. If it wasn't for the fact I have kids, I'd probably still be there. I may buy a holiday home there in the future - Arabella, for example. But it's a hard place to live, and if social injustice is something that makes you shake with rage, it will drive you mad. I haven't even mentioned the difficulty you will have of finding a job without a sponsor - and (I'm assuming) being white. Are either of you on the critical skills list?

Good luck with your decision - if you decide to go, ask any questions you like and I'll give you very objective and helpful advice.

Cheers

Ed
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