Maybe you're like me.
You lie awake worrying about your child's future in a country that sometimes seems to be at war with itself. With increasing incidents of crime, political uncertainty and lowering standards in education, it's difficult to feel positive about the future. Right?
I get it.
But there's lots of good stuff too.
There really is. So here are a few great reasons to raise your family in South Africa.
- The cultural diversity
South Africa is a country rich in culture, populated by people of all races, backgrounds and religions. In a land of 11 official languages, children are enriched with a colourful and vibrant mix of heritage and flavour. The variety is overwhelming in so many areas, from cuisine to music, or art and even dress, these differences are celebrated and enjoyed. And so, especially in the school environment, your child will learn to embrace others and more importantly, embrace BEING different from others.
2. The history
South Africa's history is an epic saga of discovery, oppression, pain, struggle and victory. It is proof that this land is strong, its people are strong and that the dream of one man and his determination to fulfil that dream had the power to change the world. By learning and living this history, your child will learn to value mankind and understand the importance of having a voice and fighting for dreams. Dreams that can change this country and the future.
3. The environment
It's no secret that South Africa is beautiful - its buzzing tourist industry is evidence of that. Beaches, vineyards, farmlands, mountains, wildlife and growing metropolitan cities are just some of the environments scattered across the country waiting to be explored. But wait, there's more! It's warm and sunny for a large portion of the year allowing you to give your child the gift of a childhood spent outdoors playing, soaking up the sun and making memories the old-fashioned way – away from screens.
4. The pride
You know that feeling in your gut when the Bokke win a match? That's pride. It doesn't matter how much people might rant and rave about politics or crime, inside of each South African there is a deeply rooted pride in our nation, in what we've overcome and who we are – our identity (despite all the issues). I don't know about you but I want my kids to grow up with that pride and sense of belonging. There's a reason there are so many South African shops in overseas countries – the South Africans who live there crave a taste of home, it's in their blood, and you know what?
It's in mine too.
5. The hope
You know what I do when I'm feeling particularly discouraged about certain issues in our country? I head somewhere with my kids, a play area or the beach and I watch them. I watch my kids play with other kids – kids they don't know, kids who look and sound different from them. I catch a glimpse of the future. Hope. Children's eyes aren't filtered, they don't see colour – and when they do it's out of curiosity, not discrimination. They play together, they belong together. Our country has already come so far, there is no reason to believe that we can't keep moving forward.
The challenges and fears are real. I know. I don't judge people who emigrate, each family has to make the best decision for them – I respect that. After all, in South Africa we celebrate differences. But these are some of my family's reasons for staying. And hoping.
And living proudly South African.