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Question
Posted by: Susie | 2008/01/22

over reacting?

Dear Doc,

I have lived in South Africa all my life. So far I have gone through all the changes good and bad and still managed to lead a good life. But now with all the new problems facing us (I am sure I do not need to list them), I just want to flee from here and start a new life in a new country where life will be less stressful. I am 52 and it will not be easy to up root myself, but I don't see a good future for myself here anymore. My question to you isL: am I over reacting or am I being realistic in wanting to leave? My stress levels are rising daily and I feel out of control......

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Our expert says:
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I recognize the sense of alarm you feel. However many things are going right, there is a sense of a community and society breaking down in so many ways, where literally the lights are going out. And its not the load of things going wrong, but the sense of nobody with the power to fix things, being genuinely bothered about it, which probably makes people feel most insecure. If the state is actually effective at anything other than the endless enrichment of the few, they're surely failing to convince anyone else of that.
Maybe best see a good local counsellor and explore all these feelings, and cautiously evaluate your alternatives , and avoid making a hasty decision. And as John says, explore by talking with others who have and have not made such a major move.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Susie | 2008/01/22

Thanks all for your replies. I do oftern act on impulse, so that is why I posted this question. I am going on holiday to Australia in March this year. I know each country has its own set of problems, so I go with an open mind. My other alternative would be Europe, as I have an EU pasport. A job at my age will not be easy to come by that is the big problem really.

Reply to Susie
Posted by: John | 2008/01/22

Susie, sure the country is changing and, right now, we are sliding backwards fast. The biggest concerns an SA citizan would have are Crime (Crime? What Crime?, asks the Govt), our infrastructure (Yes, it is your responsibility to make sure the power stations run) and the way we kill each other with our cars, sober or not.

These are not new. They have maybe grown in frequency or number but they are not new. I suspect, then, that perhaps your changing needs, coupled with an escalation (or 'stability', take your pick) of our unacceptable crime rates as well as the failure of Eskom to provide power to the people (where have we heard that before) is resulting in you questioning your loyalty as a citizen. I say 'changing needs' because our needs do change as we age. 52 sounds about right as one contemplates retirement and we all want to retire in a stable environment/suburb/city/country. What about health care? Do you really want to rely on govt hospital care when you are 65 or 70, assuming you have not provided for this?

So we are not an ideal country to retire in. No ma'am. But people stick around for other reasons: some cannot afford to to relocate, given our exchange rate with most first world countries (did you know that Namibia has a stronger currency than ours? Namibia?), some of us have family we literally cannot live without and some people do not have the wherewithall, the gumption, to do it. It requires guts and stickability. And, finally, some people will not be accepted by any country better than ours because of a lack of money/health/education and employability. I think one can 'buy' Australian citizenship if you can prove that you will take $1 million (Australian or American) dollars into the country. Or maybe thats Canada or even the US.

Chat to others who have left. Chat to those that have returned, to gain a fresh a perspective on how green the grass really is. Research the whole thing properly, even visiting the country you have in mind to check employment/cost of houses/education/weather(!) and anything else thats important to you, if you can afford to do this.

Good luck.

Reply to John
Posted by: Sg | 2008/01/22

I think many people feel the same way as you.My ex wife is wanting to leave with my 7 year old son.On one hand I don't want them to leave but on the other I have to admit that so much is wrong in our country that it is difficult being positive any longer.
I met a friend in December who had moved to Australia a year back and whilst he loved the place in terms of crime etc,he said it is not all a bed of roses.Finding a suitably well paid job at his age (in early 50's) is not easy.
I would be very careful about moving but if you can find a job etc etc then it is worth consideration.

Reply to Sg

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