Sunita Mcdonald and her family recently spent three weeks in South Africa and since their return to the United Kingdom, have never been more tempted to move back. She tells us why family, weather and a sense of belonging are such key factors in their decision on whether or not to return.
Now I know a lot of you will call me crazy and I know living in South Africa is different from holidaying there BUT…my friends and family are living there every day and they are NOT living in fear. They are happy despite political turmoil.
I guess it is down to areas and personality as I am sure there are people in South Africa who are fearful but I could only see and feel the positives on our visit.
On arrival at OR Tambo International, I went to the FNB branch at the airport. Dreading the hours of waiting to get a new card, I was pleasantly surprised when all was done and dusted in less than 15 mins. With big smiles and a warm, welcoming attitude.
Service in restaurants and coffee shops is exceptional. Smiles everywhere and not to mention the facilities for children. Play areas with cameras so you can watch your children but also a nanny who looks after them. I was hesitant at first, but my children had the best time and I relaxed after a while when I was sure it is safe.
Average of 28 degrees and sunshine in the lowveld and 23 in Pretoria…and it was the start of winter! Beautiful sunsets, beautiful nature. My boys spent so much time outside with bare feet.
How special to see my kids just bond within a couple of days with Ouma, Oupa, cousins, aunties. Blood really is thicker than water! Making friends within minutes at a play area or in a pool. People are so open and friendly and welcoming and this even shows in the attitude of the children.
Everything taste so AMAZING in SA. The meat is so juicy and so soft. Bread tastes so fresh, fruit and veg are so TASTY, and the milkshakes that you can get everywhere are simply delicious.
Braais are just a way of life and the stars are so bright when you look up and it is really comforting to see the Southern Cross. It is like you can find yourself and can see direction for your life and those of your children when you are under African skies.
We live in the UK for the safety of our children but the world is an evil place not just SA. Bad things happen everywhere. Good things happen everywhere too. It is what you focus on that counts.
All I want to say is if you are worried about visiting because of news or negative people, please just GO! You will miss out on so many wonderful experiences if you let fear stop you. South Africa is still a beautiful country with wonderful people.
If you hear that call, listen to your heart. I am so in love with our country once again. I have high hopes for SA and I will never give up on it because you never give up on something or someone you love. I will keep praying for this place I still call home. This is where my soul feels most alive and where my energy levels soar and I feel I can change the world into a better place.
My 6yr old (born and bred in Britain) said one morning: ‘Mommy I just feel like I belong in Africa’
And so do I. And my guess is so do many of you…