Tuesday Takeaway 26 September: Embracing Home and Heritage

Heritage Day had me thinking about that ‘grass is greener’ feeling I think all South Africans feel every time Eskom flips that switch. We wonder if there’s a (literally) brighter future awaiting us in a faraway land.

And more and more of us are turning the wondering into wandering – packing our bags and starting anew somewhere where everything just ‘works’.

Did you know that between 2015 and 2020, three times as many South Africans packed up and left compared to 2010 and 2015? And most of them were the young, skilled South Africans we desperately need to help bring about much-needed change.

I very nearly followed suit. I had it all mapped out – a grand plan for me and my fam of four to be on the right track to ‘a better life’. But when the moment came… I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t bring myself to tear my children away from their beloved grandparents. After all, my kids would probably have more ‘opportunities’, but would they be happy? Would any of us? The saying ‘home is where the heart is’ rang very true in that moment of clarity.

Then I stumbled across a Facebook group called ‘Return to South Africa’. It was (and still is) absolutely spilling over with stories of people emigrating only to return home a few years later because the homesickness was unbearable, and suddenly, every reason they left just didn’t seem big enough to justify the sacrifice they’d made and continued to make every single day.

There were also posts from people in the midst of this unhappiness, speaking about how desperate they were to come back. And then people like me, looking for answers (or, rather, an excuse to stick around) because head and heart just weren’t seeing eye to eye.

I started to switch my thinking from what we were trying to get away from to what we’d be giving up. Family, space, year-round sunshine, Mother Nature’s finest work, smiling people everywhere you go. Oh, the people. South Africans are something else, aren’t we? Even in times of hardship, there’s always a hand reaching out to help.

Don’t get me wrong, our beloved Mzansi certainly has its challenges. There’s no denying that four hours of loadshedding, two, sometimes three times a day, is becoming unmanageable. Our crime rates are sky-high. And finding a job can be immensely challenging.

But is there anything that compares to braaiing in the sunshine, knowing you’re home and loved, surrounded by the laughter and chatter of the people you adore most (punctuated by the hum of the neighbour’s generator)? I think not.

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So, here’s to our heritage and believing we can mend what’s broken. For the love of our people. For the love of our country. For the love of home.

Stay sunny, SA. We’ve got this.

Mindful Musings

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What the world was musing over this past week

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SA’s best cultural villages

Why only celebrate our incredible heritage on one day each year? Getaway has created a round-up of our country’s most captivating cultural villages, from KZN’s DumaZulu Lodge and Traditional Village to Cata Cultural Village in the Eastern Cape, all waiting to be explored.

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Can you see it?

Think your vision is 20/20? Put it to the test. Apparently, only people with perfect eyesight are unable to see the creepy image in this optical illusion.

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Slither and surf

You’ve probably heard about people surfing with their dogs – but snakes? Indeed, Higor Fiuza, from Australia’s Gold Coast, thought it’d be a rad idea to catch some waves with his pet python. Instead, he caught the attention of the authorities, who fined him the equivalent of R28,000.

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Singapore’s Changi Airport soon to go passport-free

From 2024, passengers departing from the Changi Airport will be able to do so without a passport – and it’s all thanks to biometric identification technology.