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Sunday, 1 June 2014

Goodbye South Africa

I write this post objectively, and would like to assure my many friends and few relations remaining in South Africa that I mean no offense.

It has been more than a month since I wrote my previous post, but a month in which my life has completely changed – for the better. At last I am free from the servitude and nepotism of South Africa, and am able to look at the country and its people with a clear and fresh mind. I have now spent a month in a real First World country, and can say quite categorically, and this is for all South Africans who think otherwise, that South Africa is a true Third World country – nothing better.

In many ways I rue the decision that I made 42 years ago to relocate to southern Africa, but had I not made that decision, I would not have the wonderful family and friends that I have today. Everyone makes mistakes, and I am the first to admit that I have made many, but the decisions we make, whether good or bad, shape our future life. My 42 years in Africa have been colorful, enlightening and edifying, and I left the country last month wiser and more erudite than I could possibly have been had I remained in the United Kingdom all those years ago. During my time in Rhodesia I spent more than 130 nights “treading the boards”, and many more in rehearsal, often in the company of professional and internationally known actors and actresses. I have met and shaken hands with politicians from either side of the aisle, including the recently passed Nelson Mandela and Ian Smith. Above all I have had the pleasure of living in a beautiful part of the world, have come face to face with Nature, and can truthfully boast, in the words of Karen Blixen, that “I had a farm in Africa”.

When my wife, Liz, came out to South Africa in 2002, one of the first things that I told her was to watch out for the direction that education and healthcare were going. These were the first visible signs of the impending rot in what had become Zimbabwe, and from which I had fled with my family in 1981. We all know what has become of that country. South Africa is fast going the same way. The deterioration in education and healthcare started several years ago, and were instrumental in our decision to relocate. Today South Africa is a cradle of mismanagement, nepotism and neo-apartheid. If you happen to have a white skin, forget about applying for a job. There are few ways that you will guarantee a future - by starting your own business, by ‘knowing someone’ or by joining the ANC.

I could write a whole new blog post on South African banks. I have traveled to every continent, and can safely and categorically state that, in my opinion, South African banks are probably the worst on the entire planet. I have yet to come across another country where one has to pay a fee for depositing cash into one’s bank account. Not only that, there is a fee for every single transaction. I know for a fact that, for an individual such as myself, a checking account in the USA and the UK will actually pay you interest on a monthly basis when you have a credit balance. The powers that be in banks such as I am speaking of (if there are exceptions I am not aware of them) will try to justify these charges with a lot of balderdash and twaddle – probably because they themselves have been brainwashed and programed to do so. South African banks suck!

I will say no more, other than “Goodbye Africa!”. Now that I have experienced just a few short weeks in a First World country for the first time in many years, I have absolutely no desire at all to return to any part of that continent. I will spend my remaining days (may there be many of them) enjoying clean streets and highways, unbiased radio and television stations, the latest technology, a wide variety of culture, efficient government departments (it is still quicker in South Africa to send a letter with a runner and cleft stick than to rely on the post office) and a country free from the mismanagement and corruption that is so prevalent in South Africa, its businesses and its government. Goodbye