‘I missed SA’s entrepreneurial spirit, smiling faces’

Nina, who lived in London for many years, returned to South Africa after 15 years. Becoming You finds out what encouraged her to leave and why she and her family ultimately decided to return home.

  1. What was the catalyst/s for your emigration decision?

Travel and experiencing the world/different cultures

2. What did you enjoy about your new home

I loved being able to travel easily around the world on pounds, the freedom of movement on public transport, work opportunities (although this did change while I was there and is far more limited now), the friendships I made (friends become your family), food is well priced, good quality clothing, awesome shops, excellent online shopping, fast internet, generally good customer care.

3. What did you find hard about your new home?

The nanny state. Sometimes my life felt like I was wading through treacle, so many rules and health and safety, housing is expensive, poor service, not an easy outdoors lifestyle for children, schooling starts so early (4 years old), became very expensive to visit SA (especially once we had my daughter), we really missed family, everything costs money (there is not a lot to do that is free, other than the parks), eating out is costly, the many SA expats bad mouthing SA, the non-interaction by people mainly in London (eg. no smiling on the tube, talking to the next person in the queue)

4. What did you NOT miss about South Africa?

The frustration of living in a combination of a 1st and 3rd world country and the challenges it brings.

5. What did you miss about South Africa?

The entrepreneurial spirit, easy to own your own business, outdoor play and experiences (beach, mountain etc), family, friendly smiling faces.

6. What made you consider returning to South Africa?

We came back because of our daughter (education and outdoors), family (wanting her to have family close by), the weather and lifestyle, there is so much positive happening on the ground – it just isn’t reported.

Source: Becoming You

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