Should I stay or should I go?
This is the familiar debate that often takes place around South African dinner tables.
The two camps are firmly divided: those who see no future for the country and those who argue that South Africa is their home and the grass isn’t always greener.
Every time there’s political turmoil, a new wave of wannabe emigrants emerge, planning their escape from the political, social and economic upheaval that seems to characterise South Africa today.
But if South Africa is such a terrible country why would it be difficult to leave it? You have heard all the usual clichés about the great weather and the lifestyle but perhaps it’s a little more complicated.
It’s not just about you
Right now starting a new life and career in another country might sound great but remember that emigration is never just about an individual. It also impacts those staying behind as well as generations to come.
Your life will never be the same
This may sound like exactly what you want but change is not always as good as a holiday. Everything that is familiar to you, from the people in your life to the toothpaste you use, is going to be different and this may be very scary and unsettling.
Social support matters
Our social networks are often the cornerstones of our lives defining who we are. Once overseas you will have to start re-building these from scratch. This is going to require a lot of hard work especially if you are older.
Technology will not always be enough
You might think that you can maintain your relationships through Skype and WhatsApp groups but nothing beats sitting around the table with your family or sharing a cup of coffee with an old friend!
You will have to do your own ironing
Gone will be the privilege of full-time domestic help. Everyone in the family will have to contribute to the running of the household and babysitting will cost you a fortune!