The South African and the stigma

I’m currently at Heathrow International Airport as I’ve just spent 8 days working in London. I enjoy coming to London – it’s a beautiful city, dripping with culture. The weather even played along this time and so it was really great. Unfortunately I was working most of the time so couldn’t enjoy it so much – first world problem.

My third world problem is that I met a lot of colleagues who just couldn’t resist asking about the safety situation in the country. I don’t blame them, they’re curious, they’ve heard things and at least they’re making an effort to find out from someone who is probably in the know. Someone who lives in “deepest darkest Africa” (insert loadshedding joke here) and can give them first hand accounts. I tell them the truth. The bitter sweet reality. I can’t pretend things are perfect. I am glad they asked

What bothers me is that things have changed a lot since crimes worst time. I don’t live in fear and yet people overseas live it on my behalf. Us poor South Africans. That is a stigma which has to change. I don’t know how to change it (other than answering questions and writing this blog) but something has got to happen.

People are scared to visit my home. Once they take the leap and come they generally love it, but we have to get them on a plane first.

I blame the media. Bad news sells and frankly you don’t have to look far to find it in SA. But it’s never quite what it’s made out to be and obviously there is so much good going on which the media really could not care two hoots about. It clearly is up to us as loyal steadfast citizens. I know it’s hard but please think twice before complaining (often just for complaining’s sake). Say nothing, or wait for a great story to share. there are a lot out there.

On that note I am happy to say one colleague (from India) who had just been to South on holiday was so enamoured with my country that she kept asking us to employ her. That is a compliment.

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