10 years on, I still love our beautiful South Africa
The first part of my homecoming story was written five years after returning to our beautiful country and approximately two years after starting my recruitment business. Now, another five years has come and gone and I STILL LOVE SOUTH AFRICA.
I often chat with my friends and family that stayed over in the UK and US and the conversation about South Africa more often than not turns towards the negative from their perspective. It is almost as if they are wanting and trying to justify to themselves that their decision to stay in the UK and US (and even Australia and New Zealand) was the right choice.
Let’s not hide the fact that our country – our beloved South Africa – has its fair share of problems. We have load shedding, we have crime, we have political scandals and a rand that can’t buy too many euros, pounds and dollars. In the same breath, though, we also have the Springboks, the Proteas, Trevor Noah, braais, good weather, great people and biltong.
So let’s analyse a few of these things.
Load shedding – I like to use this time to go back to a few of the basics. Although load shedding has not affected me too much, at the workplace, the generator automatically kicks in and its business as usual. At home, well, it just means that I get to kick a ball around outside with my kids or play in our very large garden in our very warm, blue-skied weather just a little more. When it gets too dark, I light a few candles, switch on some torches and light up the gas braai, or put some coals on the Weber and have a beautiful braai. Winter and summer – it all works well outdoors. Then when it gets a bit too dark and it is bedtime, there is nothing wrong with reading a book to the kids (or myself) via candlelight, while my wife looks at all the gossip and skinner on Facebook. So yes, there is plenty to do during load shedding times.
Crime – We hear about crime all the time in the media. That’s about as far as it goes – we live in pretty safe neighbourhoods, we have the right security as well as armed response units, and we very rarely hear of incidents out of the ordinary to people that are close to us. We know it is around and are vigilant all the time, but most of the people I know feel very safe in their surroundings.
Corruption – The government is clamping down on corruption where it can (those who aren’t corrupt themselves), but again – we never see this in our personal lives and it is probably no less than in other 1st World countries either.
Family and help – We have such a fortunate family life. I speak with so many people that don’t have assistance abroad. We have our nanny who is practically part of the family; we have in-laws who are hands-on with the kids; we have so much help which allows us to have a quality of life that we wouldn’t have had living abroad.
So, from my personal perspective, I have become a ‘serial entrepreneur’. This country allows for the small folk to live out the dream – and boy am I living the dream! Life in SA is fun. The people are awesome. The lifestyle is superlative. In fact, I am typing this blog while on the plane to Mauritius for six days for a bit of R&R.
I do work hard and pretty longish hours, but every day, I manage to get to the gym – Virgin Active gyms are of the best quality gyms I have had the pleasure of training at. I run marathons, I swim, I cycle off-road and on-road – yes, we even have unbelievable mountains, hiking trails and botanical gardens. I went on the five-day Otter Trail hike about 2,5 years ago – it was one of the most spectacular expeditions I have had the pleasure of doing, together with eight (now very close) mates. We have the Fish River Canyon, and the Amatola region. And being a golfer, let’s not forget to mention the fact that we can play golf all year round on the most picturesque courses at reasonable prices. Our top course will cost in the region of 25 pounds at the max to play – I recall playing in London in 2003 for 40 pounds on a very average course.
Then there are the malls, the food, the cost of living. I went out to a top steak restaurant the other day with a mate that was from the UK. The three-course meal and two bottles of wine came to around 20 quid per person.
On the work side, I suppose I have been very fortunate. I am passionate about what I do and don’t miss being an accountant at all. I have a super team of individuals around me who are from diverse backgrounds, ethnic standings, religions and cultures.
All in all, I adore what our country has to offer. I am passionate about making a difference (which I believe I accomplish just in the work I do) and think that if every South African took that spirit of Africa that lives within us all, and channeled this positive energy, South Africa will always will be one of the best countries in which to live.
By: Rob Mailich
* First published on Homecoming Revolution