In this post that first appeared on the Homecoming Revolution website, Rob Mailich sheds the good news about moving back to South Africa.
The first part of my homecoming story was written five years after returning to our beautiful country and approximately two years after starting my recruitment business. Now another five years have come and gone and I still love South Africa.
I often chat with friends and family in the UK and USA and the conversation about South Africa more often than not turns towards the negative from their perspective. It’s almost as if they are wanting and trying to justify to themselves that their decision to stay in the UK or USA (and even Australia and New Zealand) was the right choice.
Let’s not hide the fact that our country – our beloved South Africa – has its fair share of problems. We have loadshedding, we have crime, we have political scandals and we have a rand that can’t buy too many euros, pounds and dollars. In the same breath though, we also have the Springboks, the Proteas, Trevor Noah, braais, good weather, great people and biltong.
So let’s look at a few of these things:
- Loadshedding – I like to use this time to go back to the basics. Loadshedding hasn’t affected me too much – at work the generator automatically kicks in and it’s business as usual. At home, well, it just means that I get to kick a ball around outside with my kids or play in our very large garden a little more. When it gets too dark, I light a few candles, switch on some torches and light up the gas braai or put some coals on the Weber. Winter or summer – it all works well outdoors. When it’s time for, there’s nothing wrong with reading a book to the kids (or myself) using candlelight while my wife looks at the gossip and skinner on Facebook. So, yes, there is plenty to do during load shedding times!
- Crime – We hear about crime all the time in the media. And that’s about as far as it goes. We live in pretty safe neighbourhoods, we have the right security, as well as armed response units, and we very rarely hear of incidents out of the ordinary to people that are close to us. We know it’s around and are vigilant all the times, but most of the people I know feel very safe in their surroundings.
- Corruption –The government is clamping down on corruption where they can (those that aren’t corrupt themselves), but again – we never see this in our personal lives and it’s probably no more or less than other First World country politics either.
- Family and help – We have such a fortunate family life. I speak with so many people abroad that don’t have access to the support and assistance we do. We have our nanny who’s practically part of the family as well as our in-laws who are very hands-on with the kids. We have so much help which allows us to have a quality of life that we wouldn’t have enjoyed living somewhere else.
From my personal perspective, I have become a “serial entrepreneur”. This country allows the small folk to live out their dreams and, boy, am I living the dream! Life in SA is fun: the people are awesome and the lifestyle is superlative. In fact, I am typing this blog post while on a plane to Mauritius for six days for a bit of R&R.
I do work hard and long hours, but I manage to get to the gym every day. Virgin Active gyms are some of the best quality gyms I’ve had the pleasure of training at. I run marathons, I swim, I cycle both off-road and on-road – we have unbelievable mountains, hiking trails and botanical gardens. I went on the five-day Otter Trail hike about two-and-a-half years ago – it was one of the most spectacular expeditions I’ve had the pleasure of doing myself with eight (now very close) mates. We have the Fish River Canyon, we have the Amatola region and, being a golfer, let’s not forget the fact that we can play golf all year round on the most picturesque courses at reasonable prices. Our top course will cost you in the region of 25 pounds to play – I recall playing in London in 2003 for 40 pounds on a very average course.
Then there are the malls, the food, the cost of living. I went out to a top steak restaurant the other day with a mate from the UK. The three-course meal and two bottles of wine came to around 20 quid per person.
On the work side, I suppose I’ve been very fortunate. I’m passionate about what I do and don’t miss being an accountant at all. I have a super team of individuals around me who are from diverse backgrounds, ethnic standings, religions and cultures.
All in all, I adore what our country has to offer. I’m passionate about making a difference (which I believe I accomplish just in the work I do) and think that if every South African took that spirit of Africa that lives within us all and chanelled this positive energy, South Africa will always will be one of the best countries to live in.
Rob’s story first appeared on the Homecoming Revolution website. The Homecoming Revolution is the brain gain company for Africa.