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South Africa

(30 Posts)
becs1973 Mon 08-Oct-12 04:43:11

Hi, am after some advice/other peoples thoughts/experiences and am also writing this down as a way to clarify my own thinking. I'm originally from the UK, my husband is south african but has not lived there since 1997. We have 3 young children (aged from 5 months to 4 years old). We are currently in a bit of a quandary as to where to live.

At the moment we live in Malaysia but it's not an option for us to stay here in the long term. We are in the process of applying for Australian perm residency visas and we all have UK passports so also have the option of moving back to the UK. The main issue I have with Oz is that we will be so far away from family back in europe and SA. It was never really a consideration for me prior to having kids but now I would really like them to grow up knowing other family members. Both our sets of parents are getting old and the trip to Oz would be a huge undertaking for them. I would love to move back to the UK but my husband would not have a great work/life balance in London and also we'd like to be somewhere the climate is a little more friendly to an outdoor lifestyle. So now we are also considering a move to South Africa.

Are we wrong to think he might have work/life balance were we to move to South Africa? His feeling is the lifestyle would be more laid back than London was.

Next question and this is the BIG reason why I'm hesitating on a move to South Africa and it is of course the crime issue. Don't want this to turn into an SA bashing thread at all, because I love the country, but it would be unrealistic to say it doesn't have a crime problem. However, how bad is it in reality on a day to day basis for someone not living in the townships? If you have moved there from the UK do you feel crime/fear of crime severely impacts you day to day life in SA? We lived in London in the UK so I do understand the need to be careful, equally where we are currently there is minimal violent crime but petty crime is an issue. My partners parents live in rural SA so there is no real crime issue where they are. It's difficult to get a clear idea of just how bad it is and how much it impacts on day to day life. We would probably have to live in Joburg or Pretoria (sadly not Cape Town smile.

So there you go, sorry for the ramble. Any thoughts or advice? Would proximity to family trump the issue of crime in SA? Grateful for any advice you might have, thank you!

Way2Go Sat 13-Oct-12 18:26:50

We lived as expats in Joburg and absolutely loved it. We have in lived in a good few countries but were still blown away with how fantastic SA is.

There is no need to repeat knickersNotPanties post but I agree with everything she has written. It is a great post. I would also agree with the other posters who mentioned the appalling road safety. The death rate is insane. I saw four separate fatal accidents on one day when I wasn't even driving far. I know they were fatal because I saw the bodies sad. Everyone is very relaxed about drink driving and people never seemed to use seat belts.

I would not have wanted to stay in SA for higher education, due to affirmative action and safety fears. There are excellent Uni's in SA but I think the whole Uni experience is better for DC's in the UK.

My DC's all loved SA but like living in the UK more as they have a lot more freedom to be out exploring the world.

We never had anything bad happen to us personally but, along with most people who have lived in SA, I could give you a long list of friends and work colleagues who have.

We will go back to SA on holidays though. I love the place.

C0smos Sat 13-Oct-12 19:46:33

Another English person, married to a South African, been living in Johannesburg for 5 years.

I agree with everything written on this thread. However my experiences have been positive. Both DH and I are in well paid jobs, the brain drain has probably benefitted us as so many people of our skills and experience have left the country.

We live in a gated community so are somewhat shielded from everyday crime realities, I would never live in a free standing house, but all our friends do.
Our lifestyle is great, nice weather, pool, posh gym membership, lots of days out at the weekend etc.

Agree cost of living is high and increasing, I have no idea how those on low or no income survive. Cars and white goods are crazy prices, petrol costs are going up, medical and school fees take up a big chunk of our income. Food is getting more and more expensive.

However, in all honesty I think my DS4 has a better lifestyle here than he would in the UK and for that reason we are staying for the foreseeable future. However I do think he will struggle to get a job due to Affirmative Action, I am involved with graduate recruitment in our company and we really try and avoid hiring white grads, they have to stand head and shoulders above everyone to even be considered so it is going to be tough for kids in future.

Please feel free to PM with any questions.

Nix01 Sat 13-Oct-12 19:53:21

Does your husband already have a visa?

We're really battling with this, as the immigration rules have recently changed, so it looks like we're going on the sponsored spouse option, but as he's the breadwinner, I'm going to have to get a job in order to sponsor him!

notmydog Sat 13-Oct-12 22:28:43

We are very, very lucky in that we both have British passports. I've read on the BritishExpats forum how difficult it has become for Brits married to non-Brits to return to the UK. I actually find it incredibly unfair. It makes it virtually impossible for many people to return to their own country.

Nix01 Sun 14-Oct-12 06:47:24

That is very fortunate, and makes it so much easier for you. All the best with your move, I have no doubt you're doing the right thing.

I think we're applying on the Partner of British Citizen visa. I've found the BE website very helpful smile

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