Friday, 17 February 2017

DIARY: South African Expats Must Sit Down and Shut Up

After witnessing a situation, where a friend recently moved to the USA and then posted a status about a murder in S.A., she commented about being grateful for the sense of security she feels in her new town. 

And, predictably, as happened to me when I first moved away from S.A. She was immediately attacked by Saffas back in S.A., who told her to stay "humble" and "think of those back home" - as if her expressing dismay over a brutal murder and expressing gratitude for a life without fear (fear of violence that ALL saffas have to deal with, across every racial and social sphere) was somehow prideful and not allowed.

No. Just no. 

You do not ever ever ever have the right to tell an expat what they may or may not post on their own timeline, especially when it has to do with their own personal journey and healing (more so if that have been physically attacked, held at gunpoint, robbed or worse back in S.A.) 

I still reserve the right to bitch, moan and share news about S.A. Good or bad.

Whenever I feel like it. 

I am South African, I am angry at the state that the failing govt has left the country in. I am angry that so many of my fb friends are without electricity, sanitation or water for large portions of each week. 

Do you know that the world really doesn't hear or see much about S.A. in the news? And if they do, it's usually only positive news in sports. At least in my two years abroad, asking people that I meet - what they know about S.A. - usually they know of Mandela, and that they know South Africans living here (I have met every colour and type of South African here by the way, and sung isiZulu lullabies to a sobbing black man in the street. Ordered my meals in Afrikaans at a local venue. Heard isiXhosa in the mall)

Do you know that no one here knows about Farm Murders? Or about genocide between race groups? Or about the feesmustfall debacle? My friends here do, they hear it from me. They celebrate our wins and commiserate our losses with me. The news coming out of S.A. Is so controlled and manufactured. Literally there could be a mass genocide and the world would not know - apart from the shared posts of your expat brothers and sisters.

I wrote this article when I first came under fire for writing about S.A. and mentioning how happy and safe I feel in my new country.

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