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Author Topic: Article on Moneyweb re Emigration  (Read 954 times)


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Article on Moneyweb re Emigration
« on: March 24, 2007, 04:10:20 pm »

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Hi All, Food for thought

 To emigrate or not?
Former Citadel chairman now business coach Louis Fourie on a question he often fields.

Louis Fourie*
22 March 2007

"I am 31 years of age, married and the father of two toddlers.  We are in the process of considering emigration.  Your advice?"

I would argue that emigration is the last of the three most important decisions you'll ever have to make in life. The first being deciding upon a life partner and the second, assuming the responsibility of raising a child.

You may have compelling personal reasons for wanting to leave South Africa, and as they are probably intellectually and emotionally well recited, it will be difficult for another person to convince you of alternatives.  My advice is, therefore, limited to five simple, yet honest considerations - considerations that normally only surface as practicalities after settling on the other side.   It is in fact advice that is relevant to any global citizen who considers emigration.

Make sure the underlying motivation for moving to another country doesn't move with you.  Many fundamentally disgruntled people with ‘unhappy' mindsets or relationships end up in other countries, to start their search for personal fulfillment afresh.  If anything, emigration puts pressure on your level of personal happiness - it doesn't necessarily enhance it.

Understand that you inherit a cultural barrier for as long as you live.  It may seem like a trivial consideration from a distance, but you leave the associations and images of your roots behind forever.  You won't be able to express the same sophistication, sincerity and humour in the nuances of your mother tongue.  These will not be replaced by those of the new culture, as the smells and colours of our origin are established when we intellectually develop as children.  Research shows that most expats have to eventually go as far as to simplify their thinking to contain the gap between their outward personality and their self image.

You will have to make peace that most of the friendships of your youth will stay behind on the African continent.  You will meet many new associates and make new friends - but most unconditional friendships are established in the first 25 years of your life.  Distance is not good for close relationships.

Your family will, therefore, become your closest personal relationship domain in your new world of being an ‘ex-South African'.  All four of you will be subject to unforeseen strain.  Overcoming your minority status implies becoming closer as a family.  Make sure you leave South Africa with a strong family - and a personal commitment to keep it strong.

Be careful when you ask ex-South Africans for advice.  Although there are many people who have embraced their new futures with a pioneer spirit, focusing on their futures and not dwelling on the past, there are even more who couldn't come to terms with the fact that South Africa was, at best, just a part of their problem.  As it is often impossible for them to turn their decision around without dire consequences, they have become cynical, serious people and are dangerous advisers to someone in your position.
You are about to make a decision of great magnitude.  Emigration is about much more than moving to another address.  It is about deciding upon a new home - a place where you will raise your kids.  It's fine to be emotional when you make the call, but be equally pragmatic and open-minded in all your considerations.

Since retiring as Citadel's chairman, Louis Fourie invests his time in executive coaching. He applies his mind to other issues online at


Offline Nolan

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Re: Article on Moneyweb re Emigration
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2007, 10:47:32 pm »
I read this in the Citizen yesterday, good advice, but pretty biased. The answer is a generic one that works for other, normal, countries. Not for SA.

No mention of considering crime, education, AA, BEE, corruption, and the list goes on....
« Last Edit: March 24, 2007, 10:49:19 pm by Nolan59 »

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Re: Article on Moneyweb re Emigration
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2007, 10:47:32 pm »