Would you leave?

I love this country and I’ve never had the urge to leave or raise a family anywhere else. I want my family to spend  summer days on the same beaches where I danced for mussels in the sand, and to feel the sun as it dries salty patterns on their skin. I want them to marvel at the same stars and constellations under the same African sky that I did growing up. I want them to the hike mountain silhouettes that are familiar to me. I want to point out places linked to my childhood and recall my memories of a simpler time, before cellphones and computers – when children played unsupervised in the street without the fear of something terrible happening to them.

I am not generally politically inclined. I don’t watch the news and I don’t scour news sites (or even newspapers for that matter) to keep abreast of current events in our country. KB is my personal news reporter – he keeps me in the know on the important stuff so I’m not constantly subjected to the awful stories of abuse, rape, murder, animal cruelty and poaching that choke our news channels on a daily basis. I also don’t usually write about political-related issues because that is not what this space is about. However, it’s not sunshine and roses every day is it?

My heart sank yesterday when it was confirmed that our President will not be removed as Head of State (after a motion to remove him failed).  I feel the need to acknowledge my feelings here, in this little corner of the Internet that is mine. So, bear with me or perhaps visit another day.

I have always considered myself to be proudly South African, I’ve never had a reason not to. (Yes, we have many things in our country’s past that are shameful, but we are not alone in this – other great nations do too.) I’m not so sure I feel quite as proud today.

Instead, I feel disappointed and angry. Because of the actions of one man (or lack of actions if you look at it from another perspective), people are choosing to leave. As in for good. And after last night, they are probably stampeding for the door. I can’t say I blame them. These are good people who don’t necessarily want to leave, but are looking for a more stable environment. Many feel that there is no future for their children in this beautiful country of ours. That the levels of crime and corruption are too high. That there is no coming back from the bad place we are economically and politically. And I completely understand their reasons for leaving, but at the same time, I want to throw a tantrum and scream, “But what about the rest of us?!”

We don’t all have the option to leave. I have absolutely no ties to anyone outside this country, not by blood or by marriage, not even 3 generations back. And I don’t have the financial means to up and go and start over in a foreign country (especially not with the Rand as rubbish as it is). Short of marrying myself off as a mail-order bride, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. Is it weird that I feel pissed off that I don’t have the option to leave? What makes me more sad than angry though is the realisation that I would seriously consider leaving if I had the option to.

(Header image source)

Nicky

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