J burg SA?(9 Posts)
My DH has a potential opportunity to move to johanasburg with work.
What's it like ? We have 3 children aged 2-9 is it safe?
I have never lived abroad and love the idea but DH has serious concerns about lifestyle and safety out there. If it makes a difference we are a Caucasian family.
I currently work in U.K. But I believe I could easily work out there also, I'm a paediatric nurse. Do ex pat wives work? Would I need to or would I be doing charity work?
Basically should we go? What should we be considering? What are schools like?
We are early stages and don't even know what if any kind of package DH company would provide to help us.
I'm in SA but not Joburg, PIL in Joburg and love it. They don't have kids though.
In terms of you working, you really need to look into visas. DP is South African, so technically I am allowed to work - in reality, it is near impossible to work. It took me 7 months to get a spouse visa, and I would need to get a company to sponsor me, prove a local cannot do the job and then add an endorsement to my visa. Sounds easy in practice, however I was told that this takes 9 months - a job won't be open for that long.
A friend who is here as a spouse of a non-South African is not allowed to work as part of her visa conditions.
Safety-wise, we and PILs have never had issues. Like most places, there are areas you avoid and you take extra precautions. His company should be able to help you set up with an external security company.
The MD of DP's company is British, came over here a few years ago with his wife and 4 kids who were similar ages to yours and they have just thrived. They are outdoors constantly, very in touch with nature, have been skiing etc. They do live fairly far out of Joburg in a gated community so that they have a big garden, pool etc. The husband has a fairly busy commute with traffic etc but this is normal for JHB.
They are many groups in Joburg for trailing spouses/expat wives. The wife of the MD is heavily involved in charity work so that is definitely a possibility.
Sorry I can't help much with package, school fees etc. But it is worth looking into, it is such a beautiful country with the friendliest people. I am leaving soon and devastated that I have to!
Can I ask is racism prominent? My children currently at a small village school and have absolutely no concept of racism. Different skin tones of friends go unoticed by them are they likely to be exposed or pick up on any of the problems from the past in SA? I'm actually really keen on the idea but DH is less sure and he has just pointed this out as something the children could be exposed to.
So much to consider
I live in an Afrikaaner heartland where there is still a fair bit of racism and traditional views. The experience I have had in Joburg has been totally different from where I live, especially amongst the younger people. Most of my friends in Joburg are black and are too young to really remember apartheid, so it's never something they have mentioned to me as being an issue for them. Most young people now describe themselves as being South African, as opposed to being Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa etc.
The thing that they will be exposed to more here than in the UK is the real levels of poverty. At every robot (traffic light) there are multiple people begging etc. This was the biggest shock for me at how visible the levels of poverty are.
Most expat kids from DP's company in Joburg go to international schools or prep schools, where they will be mixing with kids from all different nationalities.
Hopefully someone can come along with more specific answers to living in Joburg itself with kids. We've lived in France, Singapore and now here, and SA is by far my favourite place to live. The only reason we are leaving is because my inability to work here.
Thank you for posting. It is really helpful hearing what it's like out there.
I've lived in JHB for 10 years, feel free to PM with any questions.
Good things:- the weather - i honestly think JHB has the best weather in the world, summer seems to last for 9 months but doesn't get horribly hot. Winters are sunny, dry and bright.
Lifetyle is great, we have a pool, houses are much bigger, we are outdoors a lot more, cheap to eat out, go to movies etc
Help is affordable, we have a nanny / domestic lady who is amazing and a gardener so time off work is not spent doing chores.
Private schools are very affordable compared to the UK and education seems good quality, lots of emphasis on sport, my DS8 does at least an hour every day. Schools have lots of support inhouse e.g. OT and speech therapist onsite that works with the teaching staff
Healthcare is very good quality, but insurance is expensive and you pay for everything.
Bad things - threat of crime and when crime happens it tends to be incredibly violent. We live in a gated estate which feels very safe and i've never felt unsafe driving but you have to be sensible.
Very corrupt and useless Govt who seem intent on bankrupting the country by any means possible - not something to worry about if you're only here for a few years.
Traffic can be horrific, think central London traffic, something that looks close on a map could take ages in a car so think carefully about where you live in relation to work, lots of people avoid the traffic by starting work at 630.
Your questions - i don't think you'll be able to work viasa are a nightmare, but volunteer work is easy to find.
Racism - my sons school is very multi cultural, he doesn't seem to notice race or comment on it. Racism is not tolerated in schools and would be dealt with very harshly and swiftly. But having said that there is a massive rich / poor divide and people do tend to stick to their own race groups more than they do in the UK - that could be more down to first language though.
Hope that helps??
Can I leap on and ask if anybody has any experience of North West province? Possible job there for DH but not an area of SA we are familiar with nor that we have been considering...
Any more news on this OP? I know the thread is fairly old but I live in JHB if I can help you with any more information.
High what part of North West. Is your dh in the mining industry?
I lived in the north part of Joburg for 3 years. We left in 2011. Loved it!
Happy to answer any questions about places to live, commutes, volunteering etc.
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