On South Africans and returning home

by oneafrikan on March 24, 2005

The other thing I talked to my friend about is him returning home to South Africa in October.

On the one hand, he is really excited. Excited to be going back, and excited to be moving into his own home, after living in other people’s homes for 6 years or so.

On the other hand, he’s worried and a bit apprehensive, as he feels that finding work is going to be hard and that there may not even be a market for what he does.

This is something that all of the South African diaspora face – we love our country (well most of us do) and we really want to be a part of a growing, thriving country, a positive nation of people who are working together to better themselves and their community, but it’s difficult to do that when you can’t support your family. He doesn’t feel the government is doing much to help, or make the prospect more attractive, and he doesn’t feel that the local companies will necessarily appreciate the skills that he has learnt overseas. From over here, a lot of us feel that the skills we have learnt overseas are our (and therefore our countries) biggest assets – let’s face it, you get far more work exposure over here than in South Africa (let’s exclude typical 2 year working holiday visa travel types from the equation) because the market is just so much bigger – but South Africans can be somewhat arrogantly myopic in the way they view the rest world (this, in my opinion, is a throwback from the isolationist apartheid era) and so local South Africans don’t necessarily attach much value to overseas work experience.

That aside, he’s bought his tickets, and is committed to going home so there’s no going back. I wish him all the best, and hope that in his honest endeavors he finds what he is looking for.

The jury’s out on all the other South African’s overseas though.

2 comments

Err, what skills he got?

I agree with you, assuming that ‘your friend’ is white and thus the government won’t help much coz of the whole black economic empowerment thing going on. don’ t get me wrong, I fully support it, I suppose being black mi’self, is kinda like being michael jackson and saying “no to child abuse”, okay I digress.

Here is what I am more into, broad-based-economic empowerment, i think this is differenct from BEE. I think ‘white’ people have skills and resources that I do not have (note I did not say us or we). I am also aware that I have the skills and the knowledge, Bsc (HONS) computer science, but sadly, the government has concluded that there is a ‘skills gap’ in the country, south africa. Which is odd considering how many people I know from my graduation class and those of you who are abroad.

In anycase, what skills he got, I might need them. See, self-employment is easier in this country, and I do believe that if you have a ‘special’ skill, south africa has the playing-field to allow you to carve your own niche market,,, hmmm, this self employment thing got me talking like a suit,,,

i am not sure if a point is made or lost, does it matter, its a comment.

Word.

by Binary 1 on March 28, 2005 at 5:51 am. Reply #

He does the IT for a large financial organisation based in London.

He is looking to go the self-employment route, as he definitely does have skills to offer, but he’d rather go employed to start with, as that’s safer whe nyou’re trying to set up a family.

Broad based economic empowerment sounds good – but how many other people are into that? ;-)

I hope he does OK, and I also know that many people in SA don’t have his skills, which makes him even more valuable, but then trying to explain to the man with no eyes how beautiful something is, is not very easy…

by oneafrikan on March 30, 2005 at 5:38 am. Reply #

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