What is life really like in South Africa?

(37 Posts)
GoSuckEggs Mon 25-Feb-13 15:09:30

How safe/unsafe is it really?
Can you go for a walk to the shops safely? what about at dusk?
can you go out for a pub lunch? Go for a day at the beach safely?
Do you have to live in gated areas?
can you take the kids for a walk to the park?

I guess I mean how different is life in south africa compared to the uk? I have always been drawn to south africa. I would love a true idea of what it is like living there.

GoSuckEggs Mon 25-Feb-13 17:35:01

and how safe is public transport? would you ever use it?

iwantavuvezela Mon 25-Feb-13 17:40:09

Part of the answer would be where would you like to live. Chill give you more detailed reflections tmrw when off the iPad.

GoSuckEggs Mon 25-Feb-13 17:55:37

i am not sure, i guess i mean in general confused

FifromN12 Mon 25-Feb-13 18:13:16

Depends where you moving? For example Cape town is very different from JHB

Bunbaker Mon 25-Feb-13 18:16:34

I agree that it depends where you live. I have two South African friends who moved to the UK because it is safer here. One was from Pretoria and the other from Johannesburg. The Jo'burg friend told me it took her ages to be able to sleep well here because she felt unsafe as there were no bars on the windows and no extra strong internal doors.

MillieTom Mon 25-Feb-13 18:21:07

You just need to be sensible and have your wits about you. When traveling by car you always lock your doors. You don't drive in dangerous areas. The traffic can be pretty hairy in the city's. You wouldn't walk around flashing expensive items.

Most people live in heavily secure houses or gated communities with alarms and bars on the windows and doors. You wouldn't really walk around at dusk/night or alone in most areas. Most people will know a neighbour or friend who has been murdered in their own home.

It truly is a beautiful and wonderful country. However, if you were to move there I'm sure you would realise just how free we are in England. Most people with young children I know hope that they will be able to move away one day.

The future political situation is rather scary...

Having said that you would probably get used to it?!

MillieTom Mon 25-Feb-13 18:24:10

Are you seriously considering living there or just curious?

The question is so dependent on where you want to live and what you plan to do ...

Crime is a biggie and affects all parts of life
Living costs are very expensive - you will have to pay extra for health, security and schooling
I don't think I would walk anywhere in SA - driving in SA you also take your life in your hands.
Corruption is rife and the disparities between rich and poor is very visible - ££££ houses next to shanty towns.
There is not much work available in the formal sector
Outdoor life is unbeatable

Saying that I go back to visit our families as often as we can ...

FifromN12 Mon 25-Feb-13 19:48:32

I have lived in Cape Town but wouldn't in JHB.... I walked to the shops and nursery. Walked in town. So (sadly) it does spend where you live. But that said there are places I have been to in the Uk I wouldn't live.....

One of the ladies said that it has become expensive and that's true.. We were lucky enough to be on Pounds.

GoSuckEggs Mon 25-Feb-13 19:55:13

Thanks for your answers. I would love to live there - i think! But it would be at some point in the future.

I just sort of wanted to get an idea of what peoples life and answers to the OP questions in relation to where people currently live. So i guess this is general noseyness, as apposed to research - because it will be quiet a few years before we could even consider moving there!

MillieTom Mon 25-Feb-13 21:14:36

Maybe you have a very good excuse to go on holiday and check it out!

Obviously the political situation could change significantly in the future so you can see how that plays out. I would definitely feel reluctant to move my financial assets over to SA. If you were to buy a house, you may always have that slight risk that you will struggle to get you£££ back out the county if you needed to move back to the UK.

INeverSaidThat Mon 25-Feb-13 21:50:13

The murder rate in the Capes is higher than in JoBurg.

We lived in JoBurg in a huge very secure estate. We felt extremely safe in our estate and I didnt worry about the DCs wandering about. I happily drove all over the place in the day but was careful at night. I even drove into our nearest township to make deliveries to the local school. I was always quietly on the look out but I wasn't nervous.
We went on driving holidays all over SA and felt safe doing so. We were careful not to go too far off main roads but would walk along secluded (and stunning) beaches on our own.

I was always careful taking money out of cash points.

Drink driving and reckless driving is a huge problem. The road death rate is staggering.

Generally all South Africans from all backgrounds are wonderful honest and friendly but I wouldn't want to live there with teenage kids.

There are quite a few threads on MN about SA.

GoSuckEggs Mon 25-Feb-13 22:16:07

thanks for your replies.

It is great to hear how people live, very interesting.

Salbertina Tue 26-Feb-13 07:31:28

Go- on what is your interest based? Have you been here on hol or something, family connections? Not a place to move to lightly- v v tough visa conditions for foreigners, v expensive to live, v long way from Uk!

KatherineKrupnik Tue 26-Feb-13 09:14:19

I lived in Cape Town & walked to the shops, got the train into town, walked around the centre. Didn't walk alone at night but blokes I knew did. My family live an hour from Cape Town & don't lock up.

anonymosity Wed 27-Feb-13 03:23:59

I visited for work a few years ago - Durban and it was very polarized. So I saw small babies and toddlers living on mattresses on the bits of ground between busy roads and pre-teens dressed in bikinis outside brothels. Then I saw people dressed in fur coats and pearls eating in 5 star hotels for the equivalent of about 20 quid.

I had a driver who accompanied me everywhere and picked me up from my office at the end of the day - he never let me leave a building until I saw his car with the backseat door open and ready.

I did not feel safe. And I was pretty horrified and saddened by what I witnessed.

AngryBeaver Wed 27-Feb-13 08:55:04

I live in NZ and there are a lot of SA expats here. One woman at playgroup told me that she had 4 big dogs as protection. She said that if she had to hang the washing out, she took the dogs and locked each door as she went.
And she still didn't feel safe whist doing it.
She said you don't ever have a handbag, you put your card in your bra and keep your doors locked in the car.But still, she was terrified every day going to work.
Another woman from school told me that people have dogs, but can't walk them outside. They just live in the gardens behind BIG gates.
She actually told me that her son had a playdate on a house 3 doors down. They openeed their electric gates DROVE 3 doors down, to where they opened THEIR electric gates, and then she drove in.

My hairdresser told me that she hates the fact her mum and sister are still in SA, unable to get over here. She has also told me some corkers.

I'm sure it would depend on where you live and it's a beautiful country, but I wouldn't live there in a million.

Salbertina Wed 27-Feb-13 09:09:03

I know what you mean, AB- it's the SA expats who tend to tell the scariest stories! I guess due to being more likely to be overseas anyway precisely because something bad's happened to them? Also i think we all feel the need to justify our life decisions "i left SA because..." in order to make sense of it or defend leaving the home country.
I have a handbag, as do all my (female) friends! Am more careful tho yes, but not got 4 dogs and i do walk.

AngryBeaver Wed 27-Feb-13 09:19:32

Well, I am glad to hear that salbertina. I am sure there are plenty of people in SA that would never leave, and areas that are safer than others. We only tend to hear the worst, as you say smile

I don't think Donal McIntyre's programme did SA any favours, either!

Salbertina Wed 27-Feb-13 09:27:37

True... And i do have a neighbour who sometimes drives a few doors down for playdates, just as you say! She's the only one though..

INeverSaidThat Wed 27-Feb-13 10:05:29

In the years I lived in SA I can't think of an occasion when I felt 'scared'. It was more that I was careful and aware.
I drove into our closest township (a shanty town part of it) on a weekly basis. I drove purposefully and with another passenger and I didn't feel at risk. I would walk around central Joburg (carefully ) I would not go alone though.
I wore always wore jewellery and carried a handbag.
In general, i found everyone very friendly, polite and helpful
I lived in several countries and SA was the best by miles but I couldn't stay there with teenage children. I think the UK is better for them.

ExpatWifey Wed 27-Feb-13 19:01:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

INeverSaidThat Wed 27-Feb-13 20:16:25

ExpatWifey. Don't be bored sad have you tried golf and or tennis?

ExpectantDad123 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:37:26

Hello everybody. Myself and my soon to be wife are moving to Cape Town in April and she will be 23 weeks pregnant when we arrive. I was wondering whether there are any good NCT equivalent classes there? Also any other good antenatal or postnatal classes that we/she could attend in Cape Town. Many thanks

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