Tag Archives: Australia

The scar on South Africa’s pretty face

Okay, so here’s the follow up to my post on ‘Middle Class Musings’ in Australia.

I’m sitting on the plane in Sydney, about to fly back to Jozi-Town, with mixed feelings. I’ve had three weeks to get used to a way of life that we don’t experience in South Africa.

It needs to be talked about. That embarrassing thing about our country that ruins our beauty. The hideous scar across our perfect face. Crime. It’s such an ugly word. It’s such an ugly thing.

I’ve had three weeks to get used to not having to worry about keeping my handbag close to my side and zipped up wherever I go, not having to look after my belongings like a hawk, not having to keep alert and aware of all my surroundings in case of a mugging, hijacking, smash-and-grab, or bag-snatch. I’ve not worried about locking everything up with bolts and alarms and gates and electric fencing. You don’t realise you are doing it, until you don’t have to do it anymore.

I’ve had to learn to be free and safe. It sounds ridiculous, but I had to learn to do it. Leave my belongings way up on the beach and go swim in the sea, knowing that everything will be there when I get back. I’ve felt safe while driving (very slowly) on the roads – no aggressive pushing, hooting, cutting me off and road rage. The death toll over the recent long weekend was 9 and this caused an uproar at the shock of such a high number.

I go back to South Africa with a heavy heart. I feel sad for us that we live in fear and don’t realise it because that is what we know and are used to.

That being said, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Especially when the fence is barb-wired.
It’s also greener where you water it.

grass-always-greener-other-side


Middle Class Musings

There has always been a huge migration of South Africans to Australia and very often back again when it doesn’t work out. This back and forth between South Africans and Afro-Aussies is a never-ending story. South Africans think that the grass is greener on the other side of the world and they MUST get there.

It’s safe, it’s clean, government is not corrupt, the police do their jobs and are well-respected, you can leave your belongings on your beach towel while you dip in the sea, house alarms are unheard of, fences are there for aesthetics, everything works. Having family in Australia and currently here on a visit, I can tell you that it really is like that – an almost-Pleasantville. When you’re in this Eutopia, the crime stories in South Africa make you feel even more sick than usual. The idea of our walls and electric fences etc. suddenly feels claustrophobic.

Here’s something you may not have considered, though:

The problem with everything working so well and everyone getting along (except the politicians – they don’t seem to have enough real issues to argue about, so turn to slating each other instead) is that it creates a standard of mediocrity. Middle Class Syndrome. Everyone walks along the same line and it’s the same walk along the same line every day.

You work really hard for your standard salary. You are your own domestic worker(s) on top of it all. You may be able to afford a cleaning lady once a week, for 2 hours, for general cleaning only (no dishes, washing, ironing etc.) for the same cost as us South Africans pay our domestic workers for two full days’ work. Your ironing lady picks up a basket of ironing once a week and drives a better car than you do. If you have kids, this is your life: cook, clean, iron, work, shop, work, kids, work, clean, kids, mow the lawn, clean, kids, work… you get the picture?

Crazy-Housewife-1920x1080

And then there’s the accent. Perhaps a topic for another day ­čśë

There are, of course, many facets to this discussion that I’m sure I’ll still get into and I’m being light on this topic for this post. The severe poverty and crime in South Africa is not something to gloss over lightly, but before you run off on the Aus train, consider how your life will drastically merge into mediocrity.


Gold Class indeed

We definitely need one of these cinemas in South Africa: Gold Class

I had a really nice evening out with my sister in Sydney as I quickly approach the long haul back home to Jozi.

Dinner, drinks and a movie in comfortable leather lazyboy couches…this is how all cinemas should be! They’ve got it right…go out to see a movie, have the comfort of almost being at home, yet the feeling of something special with dinner and service.

Love it.

I wait in anticipation for Jozi to get one…