Recently I’ve noticed a lot of people saying stuff like “If the rand gets any worse I’m leaving…”.
While I don’t blame you for your sentiment, I would like to point something out. Living in Africa, specifically South Africa comes with its own set of pros and cons… a set which are as unique as our curious culture.
We live in a fascinatingly evolving time. South Africa has its crime, poverty and education issues, but we also have the singularly unique position of hope for the future…
Ten years ago, while the first portable MP3 player was hitting the shelves in America, we were in the midst of one of the most important political revolutions the world has ever seen. Ten years on they have the iPhone and an economy that is teetering on collapse, oil prices that have skyrocketed and more debt than they can possibly ever escape from.
Perhaps you would rather live in the UK? Healthcare issues, increasing crime, increasing debt, pollution, crappy weather and British people (I joke)… While I will always have fond memories of London, on the last occasion I was there (which was for 3 days) I couldn’t get over how it felt like things were slipping… Stuff didn’t look as neat as it did 6 years earlier and the people all seemed a little more depressed and negative than they did before.
South Africa, on the other hand, has potential and I’m already happier living here than I was when I was living in London. I have a good job, I work with good people, I get paid a fair amount (could always be more, joe), I have a wonderful standard of living and a great Afrikaans girlfriend. (Granted there are a lot of Afrikaans girls in London, but you miss the point)
And like I said, we have potential… We have about a gazillion unemployed people out there all with the potential to come up with something great. We have similar numbers going through our school system, which admittedly is a different system to what school was like 10 years ago. School, and ultimately African ingenuity, is preparing these kids (those who have a hunger to succeed) for greatness.
Just the other day I met two black guys from Guguletu who run internet cafes in the location and want to start up a Wireless ISP… These are not Rondebosh high school boys… these are boys who went to school in the township and are hungry to succeed. And the fact that increasingly more South Africans are earning money is what is making it possible… That is inspiring… if these guys succeed you know that their kids will have the opportunities that their parents never had. There are a gajillion other stories just like this.
Sure, there are stories of tragedy every day and at a level that is probably unmatched by any other countrty in the world, but, I like to take the Wikipedia approach… If enough people are working together towards a common positive goal we will exceed the forces working against us and ultimately live in a better country.
I don’t ever expect the roads to be paved with gold, but I’d rather live in a country with hope than a country of hopelessness. And there is Africa in my blood…