As we draw closer to the end of this year – particularly November/December – it is obvious that my sons are having a big problem dealing with the idea of us all going to live permanently in the UK. They both have the option to come and join us there at any time in the future, so it’s not as though I will be going and not giving them the avenue to follow if they wish at a later stage. But why is it starting to feel like I am supposed to feel guilty? Why should I even think about this? But I do.
I, more than anyone in my immediate family, know exactly what happens when a person emigrates away from family and friends – it’s not easy adjusting to a new country – in my case, it was impossible for me to adapt to South Africa. I fooled myself into believing that I had but that was a delusion. My family who are going with me to live in the UK soon, all have Eurocentric roots and are very much excited about the prospects of living in a Northern Hemisphere country (I had no such enthusiasm when moving from the UK to this country in 1968).
My daughter and son-in-law, plus granddaughter, have visited the UK before (albeit on holidays,but they have seen the country first hand). My youngest daughter has only ever been to Cape Town, so going to the UK will be a massive adventure for her and she is looking forward to it, although I know that she is apprehensive (maybe even a bit terrified) as well. She has virtually no ‘world knowledge’ and going to the UK will be a huge eye opener for her, something I hope she will gain from eventually and grow from as a person. My dream for her would be to look at visiting other European countries, Canada, the US ... all these countries are in easy reach of the UK and it is relatively cheap to travel abroad from England’s green and pleasant lands. I believe that if she can see a bit of the world and how it should work, she will settle/adapt much quicker. Even better, if she can find a decent chap to start her life with, that would be the cherry on the top.
I am looking forward to seeing my grandchildren grow and have more opportunities than they ever could have in SA. We want them to have the best grounding/education that they can have and at the end of it, know that they will get work based on their knowledge, skills, personality and not the colour of their skin.
The sad fact about living in South Africa for young white males is that it is already becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible to find work in this country (irrespective of your age, qualifications or work experience). Even more frightening, is University level education is not up to par anymore (definitely not for Australia and now Canada are going to start introducing skills / qualification assessments to guage whether your qualifications are any good, BEFORE you even think about applying to emigrate there).
Forget any notion of promotion through the ranks or rising to senior management level in any BEE compliant company. The following example, gives an idea of how it is now working (and people who say otherwise are liars) - let’s say you are in a general administration office and the staff component is like this model:
Coloured Man (Higher Diploma level with five to eight years work experience) – Senior Manager (BEE appointment)
Black man (straight out of school, no experience or qualifications) - trainee
White man in his Mid-Thirties (Higher diploma or Degree level, 5 to 10 years work experience in senior management)
Indian woman with diploma level qualifications and one years work experience in another field.
Black woman with Standard 6 and six months work experience in an administration related field.
White woman in her late forties with Diploma and over 10 years work experience in administration related field.
If the Manager leaves, who should rightfully be given the opportunity to take over the reins?
In actual fact, the pecking order for promotion to take over this extremely SENIOR managerial position is as follows:
It gets worse if you are a White man with a degree, Honours, Masters or a Doctorate – because then you are completely overlooked for promotion and will only ever be used to train managers coming through the ranks – this is already happening at the major parastatals (like Eskom, for example).
So in light of the above (and what we already know to be happening from the many stories we receive from our clients on this subject) we have decided to make this move to the UK, for better or worse and at least have a chance at a better future for us all.
Sorry to say but you are delusional if you believe that your job /education/ social prospects are secure in South Africa - the writing is well and truly on the wall, i'm afraid. All I can say is if you can get out, then you should be thinking about doing just that.