How do I plead? Guilty or Not Guilty?
Two things that REALLY piss me off.
One, people trying to make me feel guilty for emigrating from South Africa and two, ex-pat South Africans badmouthing my country of birth and my new adopted country.
The decision to leave our country of birth, which we love dearly and will always love, was certainly not taken lightly. Initially we did not go out actively pursuing ways and means of emigrating, we did not have any intention of leaving, however when the opportunity arose for Irene, my wife, to be granted New Zealand citizenship, she decided to take it. (Her grandfather was a born Kiwi, which entitled her to citizenship). We agonized for many months before we finally made the decision to move. We felt, rightly or wrongly that the crime rate was getting worse and more violent and the Aids epidemic was causing a huge financial drain on the country. The future for our youngest son and us was not looking too promising. After all we were not getting any younger and job security and old age pensions were not a given. Our two older boys had already left to pursue their futures in the UK.
In November 2000, we left the shores of our beloved homeland to make a new life in New Zealand. Over the last eleven years, we have built a successful new life in the Land of the Long White Cloud (Aotearoa). It has not been easy; we have worked hard at it, sometimes feeling guilty for leaving but at the same time feeling grateful that we were accepted by New Zealand. Darren (our middle boy) has since joined us, is married to a lovely Kiwi girl, and has made a good life for himself here in Auckland. Evan, our youngest, who was only eleven when we arrived, has forged an amazing life for himself, graduating from Auckland University with a linguistics degree and winning a full scholarship to study in China where he still is. Now my critics may say that this is all well and good but could have been achieved in SA, who really knows but I have my doubts.
I am always thrilled when hearing positive things happening in SA but saddened when hearing negative stuff. As I have already mentioned, what really bugs me is ex-pat South Africans who consistently spread negative stories about the place, never seeing the positives. In my humble opinion it was them and their ancestors who caused the problems facing SA today. If ALL the people of SA were given the same opportunities and rights, then just maybe we would have seen a much more positive outcome.
I don’t know what the future holds for South Africa but my heart will always be there. Having said that, New Zealand is a great place and when people come here to make a new life for themselves and can find nothing nice to say about the place then I would like to say to them, Fuck off back to where you came from.
So how do I feel, guilty or not guilty? Well, I do feel guilty for not doing more to help improve the lives of my fellow South Africans but I am certainly not guilty for wanting and achieving a better life for my family. I have reached the stage in my life when I can say that my heart lies in numerous places. In the bush of the Northern Transvaal, the green hills of Natal midland, the Sugar plantations of Zululand, the wine land of the Cape and the beautiful Bay of Islands in the North of New Zealand, Mt Ruapehu in Central North Island of NZ and of cause my new home town of Auckland. I love both countries deeply and feel a great pride when I hear both National Anthems.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika – God of Nations…