Parenthood

We Are Staying

Emigration has planted into every aspect of our lives – from conversations over dinner to watching your friends start new lives overseas on social media. Have you
considered leaving South Africa? We’ve weighed some pros and cons and spoken to other parents to hear their opinions.
BY NATASHA CLARK

Sometimes it seems like almost everyone is leaving. It’s quite rare to attend a braai or social event without the topic of emigration coming up. Discussions on who has left South Africa, who is trying to leave, how expensive it is or our country’s dwindling resources, not to mention news headlines we hastily click away from.
In a recent article by David Buckham, CEO of an independent specialist consulting firm focused on finance, treasury, risk and compliance, he summarized the following: “I am concerned that there is a strong, deeply embedded negativity that skews our perception of the realities in SA, creating a self-realising, neurotic
condition that is far more damaging than the actual problems we face in this country. The concern of losing skilled people through emigration is only one example of this nature of hysteria.”

OUR SOUTH AFRICA
Let downs we have had, but we have also had an equal amount of reasons to celebrate. Our hearts burst with pride over our Rugby World Cup win, Cape Town was voted The Best City in the World, 7th year in a row and Zozibini Tunzi brought home the Miss Universe crown. Over 1 million South Africans have joined the #ImStaying group on Facebook. It’s an open platform where locals share beautiful and heartwarming stories, showcasing their heritage, helping their community and create very uplifting and positive content about South Africa.

WHAT DO PARENTS SAY?
We spoke to Lexi Bird, owner of MaMère Confections – an entrepreneur, business woman and mother. She says, “One of the biggest reasons for us staying is that
we won’t get the quality of life we have in SA for the income bracket we are in elsewhere in the world. We have access to the best beaches, winelands, mountains and adventure playgrounds right on our doorstep. Crime is a worry, but there will always be something to worry about in any country you live in.” Lexi is based in
Bergvliet, Cape Town and has two young children.
Angie Durrant, curator of the popular “Lucky Pony” blog adds: “Shane and I love South Africa. We love Johannesburg. It’s the place where our babies were born and a
place they will always call home. We are going to stay because it’s where the people we love, live; where we’ve made nearly all our memories and have grown and
found ourselves as individuals, its home.” She has two children and also property and business investments in SA.

MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
With an estimated 23 000 – 30 000 people leaving South Africa every year, the UK, Australia and New Zealand seem to top the list to start anew.
There is no denying that families living comfortably in South Africa will face a drop in lifestyle when emigrating, unless you are backed by life savings,
an inheritance or having won the lotto. According to Numbeo.com, the cost of living in the UK is 61.32% higher than in SA and rent 86.43%. Whilst in Australasia it is an average of 70% and rent between 95-112% higher.

STAYING POSITIVE
As a parent, choosing to stay in a flawed country adds an even greater responsibility. We have to stay positive whilst encouraging our families and creating the best possible environment.

Some tips on keeping ourselves and our children happy and motivated and creating a positive environment:

Communicate.
Your kids need to know they can talk to you about anything and see you as a safe place to come for information and advice.

Show love and appreciation.
Appreciation enhances self-esteem and motivates positive behaviour. Place an ‘Appreciation Jar’ in your home for notes on positive happenings in our country, your life, your friends and family, school or work. This can make for a lovely tradition at Christmas or New Year’s to share all that was
good of the past year.

Spend time together.
Parents and kids should schedule family-time. Dinner is an excellent time to share and catch up on everyone’s activities. At the dinner table, make a ‘nonegativity’-
rule – instead, each member of the family can say what they are grateful for, living in our country.

Get involved.
Join community projects in your area, support causes that are important to your family. Once you get involved, you’ll feel more integrated with your fellow South
Africans. Pay it forward.

Stop wasting time on negativity.
Scroll past negative posts on social media. Rather post motivating stories and good deeds with your friends, family and followers.

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