Should I return home? Is the grass really greener at home? Many South Africans living abroad are haunted by these questions. There is no doubt that it is a trade-off to return home. You need to weigh up the pros and cons.
1.There’s never the perfect moment
Trust your gut. You have your own unique set of circumstances, desires, yearnings and dreams. Remember, it’s okay not to be 100 percent sure that you’re making the right decision. There’s no crystal ball. No one really knows what’s around the next corner. The worst thing is to look back on a life not well-lived and have regrets.
“Listen to that little voice inside your head. Whether you are living in London, Canada or the US – you are African and Africa needs you” – Shirley Duma, Home for 11 years.
2. Ignore the Naysayers
Make your decision based on you and your family’s needs. It’s your lives and your decision! Many of the people who are so passionately negative about home are the same ones who miss it so much. They feed off the bad stuff and keep regurgitating it to justify their decision for staying away.
“Some will argue that I’ve made a heart-decision, ignoring “logic” and “rationale”. “What about your quality of life?” some will ask, and to that I respond, “My quality of life is not only determined by how long the lights stay on or whether water runs from the tap but by that invisible, unexplainable connection to a place that makes the heart glow and the blood warm” – Kristoff Adelbert, Home for 1 year.
3. You’ll always have a love/hate relationship with South Africa
There are good bits and there are bad bits about living in South Africa. The good bits are being close to friends and family, the amazing lifestyle, having a sense of belonging, leading a life of significance and enjoying an innovative career. The bad bits are the crime, infrastructure and political instability. Good news is, the good bits outweigh the bad bits!
Life certainly won’t be boring or predictable but an exhilarating roller coaster ride filled with highs and lows – it comes with the territory of being South African. One minute everything is fine, the next, it seems like everything is crashing down, but we always come out better – this is what we have always lived with and what makes us stronger as a nation.
“I am in love with South Africa – but in a real way. It is not a responsible love or an infatuated love. I can see South Africa’s flaws and its virtues. It is a crazy place. It makes no sense to live here. It is completely irrational. But it feels so good.” Rosalie Clarke, Home for 3 years.
4. The best parents are happy parents
Many people stay away because they think it’s the best decision for their kids. But if you yourselves are miserable, that’s far worse for your kids. If you move back home to your own happy place, then you are giving your children a happy childhood. And you are: having grannies & grandpas close by, running barefoot on the lawn, being able to afford housekeepers & babysitters (i.e. more date-nights), having a swimming pool to jump into, giving your kids a sense of their roots.
“My little girl has come out of her shell, plays outside a lot, sings, and can even say ‘lekker’, and I feel a much happier person too!” – Tania, Home for 1 year.
5. Don’t underestimate the ripple effect
Being part of a solution is an exhilarating feeling. At home you really can be a big fish in a small pond. You can embrace the challenges with innovative thinking. By simply returning home you are boosting the economy & creating jobs, positively impacting the lives of thousands of people.
“I speak for myself when I report that I feel more alive here than I have for many years living overseas. The challenges are enormous but there is a sense that one can engage and make a contribution – to the extent that it is welcomed. It occurs to me that most South Africans desire nothing more than generosity of spirit to break out – and, when we learn how to do this, “alles sal regkom” – Simon Middleton, returned home after 24 years abroad.
6. View the move as a new chapter
When you return home, you expect life to be basically the same, but you have changed, and things back home have changed since you’ve been gone. View your return as a clean slate & opportunity for a fresh start surrounded by your family & friends.
“The best part about being home is it’s a new chapter. I spent two years trying to rebuild myself and create a new identity that I could plug and play in South Africa and now this opportunity has come, and I need to seize the day” – Ntombenhle Radebe, Home for 2 years.
7. Make sure you are equipped with all the tools to return
At our inspirational and informative London event, you’ll have all your questions answered, plus get all the practical tools to help make up your mind.
Hear the true stories of those who have returned; Chat to employers about jobs back home; Learn all about the property market; Get relocation & schools advice: Laugh along with the world’s only Xhosa-speaking Jewish comedian Nik Rabinowitz; Giggle over a cocktail; Enjoy a delicious lunch; Nibble on a “Taste of Home” snack-pack; plus Speed-Meet with fellow attendees about their personal views on coming home.
“We had been procrastinating for 2 years and attending Homecoming London gave us that final push that we needed to get moving. So we booked flights, found removal companies, handed in our notices and got ready to start a new adventure” – Lerisha Kissoon-Higgs, home for 1 year.
Our London event took place at the Victoria Park Plaza on Friday 4th & Saturday 5th March.