Brewer's Droop #259

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I have an inbox full of complaints about the infrequency of my blogs lately. I make no excuses other than I have been very busy and ever so slightly lazy.

I’ll do better next term I promise.


Another friend told me he and his family are committed to emigrating to Australia. That’s sad, but good luck to them anyway.

On the other side of the world was a dear friend of mine, Bob, (who suddenly and sadly died some time back) who, sitting on my stoep, said he fervently wished that his sons would leave the UK and settle in South Africa. Nothing weird about that I suppose – except that it was at the time when a load of people, from various backgrounds, were “packing for Perth” Remember?

He reckoned this was a land bursting with opportunity and, coming from him (an extremely wealthy self-made millionaire), his opinion made a big impression.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel much of the world and I’m confident when I say that, at worst, things are as bad in other countries as they are here. At best, I think we have a nose in front – which will grow like Pinocchio once we’re rid of this rotten-to-the-core government and their mates.

I’ve long thought that I was the only believer in the possibility of a “United States of Southern Africa” and that SA itself was a great place to settle.

And then I read the good news that the people leaving are far outnumbered by those coming to live here. The following information comes from The Times 10 July 2017.

Apparently permanent residency figures have multiplied nearly 5 times between 2012 and 2015. The Department of Home Affairs approved more than 6,000 permanent residency applications in 2015 compared with 1,283 in 2012.

The temporary permits issued however, has dropped from 141,550 to 75,076 and we can guess what the reason for that was. In fact Thabo Mokgola said immigration policy changes were behind the shift, “a new Immigration Act came into operation in 2014 which resulted in amended requirements for temporary visas”.

Interesting turn of phrase that, “amended requirements”. Why didn’t he just tell it like it is and say they’re making it more difficult?

The Department says that “more than two-thirds of residency permits were awarded to the top 10 [first world countries].”

So we’ll be seeing a lot more Brits and Germans living here soon. And lot more tourists too.

The smart money is recognising that South Africa offers a better lifestyle (which would have made my friend Bob smile). Of course, the poor economy (read; poor exchange rate) is helping this influx enormously. For not many Pounds or Euros you can buy substantial properties. At the moment, three of my neighbours are “swallows” – coming here when the weather suits them and enjoying life enormously.

As one of them said to me “I feel a whole lot safer here than I do in Frankfurt”. He has much more security in his German home than he does here.

I’ve also visited the UK a lot over the years and, in my opinion, it’s possibly worse than Frankfurt in many places there. Unemployment is rife, education is generally pathetic and crime is bad. (I’ve heard that before somewhere – oh yes, about SA). Their murder rate isn’t even close to ours of course – but what I call “casual violence” (smashed bottle in your face, stab wounds, being viciously kicked about spitefully insulted and so on) is alarming.

Since I left the UK many, many years ago I’ve only been mugged once – and that was in San Francisco. However, I do appreciate there have been some horrific crimes of violence here and I sympathise with all the tragic victims but I’m afraid it happens everywhere these days.

And there really are a lot of opportunities here.

I met a young Zimbabwean recently – Simba – who’s set himself up in the Stellenbosch/Somerset West area as a DsTV installer. When my decoder crashed on Friday afternoon nobody could help. The DsTV help line was no good. Their local offices couldn’t help either and couldn’t even supply a new decoder until stocks arrived the following Wednesday – they suggested I try Game. No good either – they had stocks but couldn’t install for several days.

So, at a critical time in the cricket (I didn’t realise our wickets were tumbling at the time so maybe not so critical) I discovered this smart young man called Simba.

Yes, he had stock and his price was marginally more than Game and than DsTV but his installation rate was better. Okay, so when can I get one? “I can be there in an hour”. Incredible.

Within 90 minutes I was watching cricket again using a brand new whatever-they-call it.

And that’s only one simple example.

This IS a country of great opportunity and I, for one, have absolutely no intention of even considering living anywhere else in the world.

So if you’re thinking about leaving I really would think seriously about whether you’re making the right decision. That grass might not be as green as it looks.

Anyway, we’re coming out of Winter now (but desperately need more rain in the Cape). The braai season is rapidly approaching!



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  1. Spot on Chris!

    • Thanks Alan. It’s all going to change for the better….eventually.

  2. Well, I’m thrilled we moved here (Oz) when we did. SA is going to hell in a hand basket!

    • I’m sure you’re having a wonderful time – but “hell in a hand basket”? Really?

      Billy Connolly said “I’m surprised Australians live to adulthood” it might just be that you’ll be taking the hand basket first.

      And please don’t change your name to Shiela.

  3. My family heaved an enormous sigh of relief when we came back from New Zealand after three miserable and BORING years. Thrilled to be back – and agree with you 100%

    • Welcome home!

  4. I remember the rain.

    “The Duck Hunt.” Teal.

    Teal – the tormentors of the flyways. Locked in wings creating the sound of a Jet taking off as they come in to land. Erratic flight, evasive, with rapid twisting and turning maneuvers…a small flock in unison scoping out a stretch of water in search of a place for the night.

    Then suddenly it’s too late. The Hunters detected, led into a flurry of flailing movements, a shot or two fired trying to keep up with these masters of tight turns.

    Up into the sunset they fly spiraling to the left and right, these thunderous little Game Birds, with the wind vibrating through their feathers evading the hunter one more time; bewildered but happy to be there.

    “Fly on you Bird without a heart.”

    James Dick.

    • Only an African could post that.

      • That’s what I remember.

  5. Terrific article! Thanks, Chris!

  6. Hello old pal, I agree with your sentiments and have been commenting thus in my Pubs Message in Habitat for some time. Key, remains the removal of the Zupta plague but I feel that is likely to happen in the next few months – max.

    Chins up – and may the spring be blessed.

  7. Too true, I have no doubt been lucky, but the only real crime experience I had was a break in when living in Wolfsburg in Germany! Back in the mid 90’s at that.

  8. Reminds me of the old adage; the grass is always greener at the club that has restricted membership. The grass is always greener on the other side – until you actually have to graze in the new found pasture! No peeking over your fence now Chris. Your neighbours will be back soon!!

  9. Enjoyed reading Packing for Perth but wondered if was serious or a satirical piece of typical South African self delusion. Regards from Auckland home of the World Cup, Americas Cup and home to at least 100 000 South Africans, most of whom now on Kiwi passports who cannot visit SA without a visa

    • Thanks Stewart,

      No it wasn’t satirical (nor delusional). It was simply a reflection of the numbers and the fact that there is good and bad everywhere.

      I choose to stay where I am because I truly believe there are fabulous opportunities here – in addition to great beauty and an excellent lifestyle.

      I also have many friends living all over the world and many of them are doing well and enjoying life – wherever they may be. Of course some are generally disappointed with the places they’ve chosen – but in the main, not very many. Mostly they all say they’re happy.

      So, good luck and joy to everyone, everywhere.

  10. MMMM I tend to agree , Chris.
    My sister and her husband ( ex Zimbabwean tobacco farmers ) were here with me for a brief visit before continuing onto their Namibian holiday.
    They have been living in Brisbane and have done so for the past 18yrs. Both their kids are in the Ozie airforce and doing extremely well.
    My sister had never been to the Cape before and was full of praise – ” cannot believe how 1st worldy the Cape is, the best restaurant service, food and general shops they have seen anywhere throught the world on their travels, certainly better than anything they have seen in Oz.
    I agree we are still living in the greener pastures here in the Cape


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