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.

Salbertina Thu 28-Feb-13 15:11:39

Google childmag.co.za and search listings also Expat Cape Town. Hth.

ExpatWifey Thu 28-Feb-13 15:45:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GoSuckEggs Thu 28-Feb-13 16:32:21

thanks guys. there is a huge difference in experiances.

FreckledLeopard Thu 28-Feb-13 17:07:13

My ex-husband was South African and we got married out there. I'd visited a friend who'd lived in Cape Town prior to meeting ex, and had a great time in Cape Town. I stuck to certain rules - never went anywhere alone, took taxis, locked car doors when I drove etc - but found the city to be beautiful and never felt scared.

However, I then went to Durban (where ex's family lived) and loathed it. Scenery etc was stunning. But actually living with a South African (white) family in their gated house (barbed wire on top of walls; neighbours had electric fence on top of walls) gave me a sense of life in South Africa (outside of Cape Town) and it was so depressing. I hated the inequality, seeing women/babies trying to make a few rand selling things on the sides of the roads. I hate the feeling of being caged up and unable to walk around, walk to the shops. I found the casual racism ghastly. Ex's family had a black maid and black gardener and seemed to think they could order them around, talk rudely about them and act like colonials.

Then there was the talk about the way the 'natives' or 'blacks' would drive, how it wasn't fair that her (ex-SIL's) children couldn't go to medical school because positive discrimination meant that black people had priority ('but the blacks aren't clever enough and will drop out, so it will be ok'). Ghastly.

Obviously not all whites are twats out there, but the segregation really is apparent and so unfair. Plus the issues with lack of healthcare, corruption, violence....god knows how it will ever get solved, if at all.

Obviously I'm biased having had ghastly wedding/time out there. BUT, I would still never live there, because I couldn't bear the lifestyle, the killings, the unfairness of it all and the massive discrepancies between black and white. The country, though, is stunning.

Salbertina Fri 01-Mar-13 08:16:55

Unbelievably beautiful- stunning landscapes and colour contrasts- vivid blue skies against bright green trees...
Friendly and warm people who enjoy themselves and laugh readily
A young, growing country with huge potential

Also violent, corrupt, unequal and chaotic.

I love and hate it in equal measure.

Cape Town may be geographically in Africa, but it is its own place and not like the rest of South Africa at all ...

Xenophobic, corrupt, racist, violent

ajandjjmum Fri 01-Mar-13 13:15:02

My DC both spent a summer in a small town on the East Coast (school exchange) - on separate occasions. They were careful, but walked to and from school, met friends and generally enjoyed life there. DD so much that she talks about going to live in SA eventually.

Internationaltraveller Sat 09-Mar-13 14:11:41

I lived in Cape Town for a long time and recently went back. They have really cracked down on drunk driving and driving and mobiles. I feel better about the driving there than I do here in Canada where people drive and text while on the highway.
You do need a car in Cape Town.
ExpectantDad123 - whereabouts are you moving? The Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont is where a lot of women I know have given birth. It's really nice. I think one of my friends got involved in a mummy group throughout the hospital.
The thing that absolutely sparkles about Cape Town is the amazing weather and outdoor life - that and the relaxed attitude of the people.
AngryBeaver no-one I know in South Africa walks around with a card in their bra!
ExpatWifey thanks for your honest account of what it's like to live in Cape Town

notmydog Fri 22-Mar-13 13:39:01

People so easily say that there are crime everywhere. That may be true, but I think there are few places where crime is so violent and brutal as it is in South Africa. This is a stunning country, such lovely people, wonderful weather. But we can't justify bringing up our DD here anymore, while she is a British citizen. We're leaving for the UK next month.

ArabellaBeaumaris Thu 28-Mar-13 13:38:10
ccgirr Tue 16-Apr-13 21:59:54

I live in jo'burg, been here over 2 years, and can walk around comfortably during the day down to the park or to local friends though you often don't want to in the heat! I also carry a handbag at all times and find a lot of people dress smarter here perhaps being a big city we were more out in the sticks in last uk location. I wouldn't walk at night but I don't feel any less safe than I did in London. There are parts to avoid in all cities. It is a great outdoors life for kids. Lots of outdoor cafes with play areas. It is expensive with private schooling, healthcare but then the schooling and healthcare is great because it is private. There are some good government primary schools too. We find it a great life.

FifromN12 Tue 16-Apr-13 22:29:37

I'm still debating UK vs Cape Town... So hard to know if we making the right decisions especially when children are involved...

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