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Author Topic: A Change in Mindset  (Read 20056 times)

Offline Nolan

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A Change in Mindset
« on: April 28, 2010, 03:15:16 pm »
I have notice over the past few years that there is a definate change in the mindset of the South African immigrant, irrespective of the country they are emigrating to. I know it's the same for all countries, but I am going to use NZ as an example because we can relate better than having to reference worldwide all the time.

In order for me to explain this change in mindset we have to look at the variables that have changed.

The immigrants of the 1980's and 90's who left SA were just plain sick and tired of all the nonsense and some frankly not prepared to live under a black president. Although the violence and crime was already starting to spiral out of control, SA was still by and large - for white SA'ns anyway, a peaceful place and very few of us had been touched by it. Most however knew somebody that had been affected by crime and violence. SA was also still a place where you had to abide by the rules or face the long arm of the law.

Those were the days with no Internet and no support base in their new country, they were literally blazing the trail for the flood that would follow - (us) ;D

These ex-pats had it really hard as the guys back in SA accused them of being traitors and sellouts while their host countries still had this image in their minds that every single white Saffer is a heartless, murdering racist. An image built up through years of bollocks and semi-truths fed to them by the media. These guys had to fight their way in here because they were not really welcomed with open arms because of this image and the Kiwis frankly didn't believe the horror stories they told. You could almost say they were dumped at the airport and left to fend for themselves. That is why I suspect the Kiwis see SA'n immigrants as arrogant, it comes from that need to elbow your way in or you aren't going to get anywhere. They really had to adapt or die trying here. There were no soft landings in those days.

Nowadays however, things are vastly different. We have all had the huge advantage of surfing the internet and sites like this one to find out from the guys who left before us what things are like in NZ. We have had the opportunity to plan and ponder and chop and change our minds on silly things like where to stay. We have been able to "visit" shops like Countdown and Foodtown to plan our budgets, visit sites like Trademe and Seek to get an idea of how much we can expect to earn, heck we even get to listen to Kiwi radio stations online before we arrive here.

Most of us had friends we could stay at when we arrived or at worst had accommodation booked well in advance. In fact we have all actually suffered from information overload, that is how "soft" our landings have been lately.

We however have come from a much more violent and crime ridden SA than the SA the immigrants from the 80's and 90's had left behind. I would even go as far as saying that at least 90% of us have a direct family member who has been affected by the crime and violence going on in SA at least once. SA today is a lot more gung-ho now, you can break many laws, like speeding or paying off a police officer and nobody bats an eyelid.

To sum up the differences between the "early" immigrants and the "now" immigrants :

Early - The ration between feeling we "want to leave" and we "have to leave" was 80/20
          They had to ekke out an existance in a "foreign" land, that was very difficult and they
          knew it was going to be.
          They came in drips and drabs and were few and far between.
          They HAD to become Kiwis because there was no SA support base.

Now -  The ratio between feeling we "want to leave" and we "have to leave" is now 20/80
          We know what is waiting for us down to the last detail and we don't expect it to be that
          hard because of the support base we have built up and the research we have done
          beforehand.
          There are bucket loads of us here now, you can't go anywhere without hearing Afrikaans or
          a SA'n English accent.
          You can now live here for the rest of your life and only have ex-Saffer friends and only
          speak English when you have to. The urgency to integrate has dissappeared.

It is these fundimental differences that has changed the immigrant mindset of today and the perception of Saffer expats in general.

You see despite the fact that we all tell each other that immigration is difficult, we don't believe it and often don't experience it. We come too well prepared. How can you possibly lose the "battle" when you have studied every last detail of your "enemy" and made every last plan of attack long before the "battle" commences?

We have welcoming parties of friends and family waiting for us at the airport when we arrive. We have brother and sisters to stay at until we find our own place. They chauffeur us around looking for cars and houses, they show us the shops, tell us what to buy and not to buy, and tonight we have a lekker braai with real boerewors bought at Foodtown or Mad Butcher. It's so refreshing not contending with those stupid "car guards" and beggars at every robot anymore. It's lekker that everybody drives properly without stressing and you wanting to kill the guys that push in in front of you on your way to work anymore. This is the way things should be. It's just like Joburg at the sea.

POOF, just like that all the things that irritated us from SA are now gone and we have instantly forgotten why we left. I think everybody that has been here for a few months or more will agree that they have all had this sudden eureka moment where you suddenly realise that somethings missing - all the things you hated about SA are gone and you never really realised how calm you are. It usually happens when you are driving in the car for some odd reason.  ;D

Then reality starts setting in, Countdown in Albany Mega Centre is not the Pick and Pay at the East Rand Mall. Work is not so easy to find and when we do find work it's not a manager job like we had in SA and worst of all we need to clean our own houses. Not "real" brick houses, matchboxes mind you. Real brandy costs a fortune and you can't get those lekker cheap cigarettes that were smuggled into SA from Zim at the Cafe anymore. You have to drive to the speed limit because the car behind could be a cop and the next Saffer meet up is only next month.

The point I am making is that because we come here so well prepared, we expect things to be easy, when we land when they are not. We expect things to be the same when they are not. We also have an added emotional baggage that the early guys didn't have and that is the knowledge that we can't go back even if we wanted to. They still had that safety blanket keeping them reassured while they settled in. Non of those guys called themselves refugees. More and more we are considering ourselves as refugees now. I know I consider myself to be a "willing refugee".

All this combined is making us frustrated emotionally, especially when things don't work out as planned. The problem is to the Kiwis this behaviour appears aggressive and it probably is given how agressive we have all become in SA. So now the Kiwis are starting to view us arrogant AND aggressive and that is not a good thing. Amongst ourselves we are also more highly strung than before because of the urgency required to emigrate that exists at the moment.

We need to realise these differences.
We need to work on our emotional baggage that we are lugging around so that we can get rid of it before we destroy our image entirely.
We need work hard to turn around this growing perception of us.
We need to realise that when we arrive here we are seen as just another immigrant from a foreign country, so we need to work harder than the next guy to get back to where we were in SA.
We need to be greatful every day that the Kiwis have given us the opportunity to come here and live in peace and safety.

Offline frodo/maya

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2010, 07:29:33 pm »
Wow Nolan !!   :twothumbs: :twothumbs:  :not_worthy: :not_worthy:

If we (saners) try to remain grateful and privileged to be granted an opportunity to make a new life in NZ, life will be so much easier for the ones that follow. We are not there yet and the negative perceptions of saners in NZ can make it very difficult for us to make a successful move.  :'(

For all of you in NZ , I only have one thing to say........ you do not know what you have and try to remember that there are many people in SA that wish that they were in your shoes O0 


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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2010, 07:29:33 pm »

Offline Clarikdeens

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2010, 08:46:16 pm »
Thanks, Nolan :clap:



Offline Mongrel Mobster

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2010, 10:32:04 pm »
Food for thought Nolan, Thank you. Excellent post!
Kind regards,

Edwin



Offline Clarikdeens

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2010, 10:53:55 pm »
Schalk, I sincerely hope that you will still stay with us and not leave.
Greetings from me :wave:



Offline JAMOMA

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2010, 10:58:53 pm »
Wow, what a good read.!!!

The big boss has summed it up  O0

I must agree that I think the "desperation" factor is huge.


We have to succeed here at all cost.............


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Offline SaKiwiBoer

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2010, 11:34:08 pm »
 O0  Good one Nolan.
21/03/2007-EOI submitted
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"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." (Benjamin Franklin)

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2010, 11:34:08 pm »

Offline Mumtaz (CapetonianInWellington)

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2010, 11:43:54 pm »
Excellent post Nolan!!!!



Offline LoveNZ

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2010, 11:56:12 pm »
Grote Nolan :clap:

Offline NicholaM2

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2010, 02:54:07 am »
An exceptional post. Thank you for your post, Nolan. It's thought-through, first hand insights like yours that are truly helpful to all of us.

Offline Tauxxen

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2010, 03:39:03 pm »
Hi there every1 sry im a new member to this forum and this is my 1st post
I didnt want to start a new topic wasnt sure where to but i got a question if some1 can plz give me some info sry to be a bit off topic
Currently i live in Edenvale jhb married with 2 kids 4y old son and 2months old baby girl we dicided that we cant live in sa anymore especially for safety of our children and really want to immigrate to NZ we did some research on how when where and the country itself but i just want to find out i am a skilled butcher/chef with deploma used to work in my fathers butchery . I am the manager at thier spar atm and have been doing it for 9 years was just wondering if any1 know where i can apply for a butcher job or if any1 knows some1 that has a butchery and how much they earn monthly in NZ + my wife is a qaulified bookkeeper if there is a demand in nz for bookkeepers  Its just something i need to find out before we make the decision to go to NZ thx

Offline SaKiwiBoer

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2010, 07:53:02 pm »
  :welcome: Tauxxen and family. I don't know too much about "butchers" but I think you may not have a problem there. With your wife being a "bookkeeper" there is no problem, that I'm sure of. This country always needs good qualified and experienced people, so my advice is get your things started and get your "behinds" over here, asap....  :2funny: . Enjoy the ride.
Cheers, SAKB.
21/03/2007-EOI submitted
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15/05/2008-ITA Submitted-(hou duim vas)
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"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." (Benjamin Franklin)

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2010, 07:53:02 pm »

Offline ronaldd

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2010, 08:19:24 pm »
Nolan, I started reading your post a few times,  and guess what it was about.
Actually,  I was partially wrong which was refreshing.

The north shore saffers have a reputation,  even down here in wellies.  Because there is no other place,  from what i can see,  such a high concentration of saffers,  alot of folks here make comments about their nephews and friend's children getting an SA accent in school because teachers and children all come from SA.  Not that i think that is a problem because i kind of like our language but somehow i feel they see it as a negative.

Yeah,  every time a saffer breaks the law and makes the headlines,  i cringe.  It is like he/she let us all down.

I am still hoping to move to the north shore :D  I haven't lost that dream yet.  It was the first place i roamed when i landed in NZ so it has super hero status only because i had stars in my eyes.
2008-04-06 Landed
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Offline robcraignz

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2010, 09:27:46 pm »
 :not_worthy: :not_worthy: Yo, Yo, Yo indabasita Nolan, you are to wise. :congrats: :not_worthy: :not_worthy: Your post sums up so perfectly, the points I was trying to get across last week (thread closed due to unpleasantries and rightly so). You must be, or have been involved in the Media at some point in this or a previous life - you have written with insight and empathy, factually yet with immense sympathy and knowledge. Thank you soo much for this. I really hope all read and take note of your insight. Maybe we also, take cognicance of your comments and adapt our ways, to become the asset to New Zealand we shouold be. You are so right about the "not being able to go back" part, never really thought of it that way until now, so sad. But thank you for this post, for all our sakes, we are genuinely  :not_worthy: :not_worthy: :not_worthy: :not_worthy:

Offline Nolan

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Re: A Change in Mindset
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2010, 09:25:37 pm »
Hi have received a reply from somebody that immigrated here in the 90's and the person has given me permission to post it here as I think it adds a very valuable insight into the subject :

"Hi Nolan

I’ve read your contribution, a change in mindset on the forum and would like to share some of my experiences and try to relate them to what I perceive is happening now.

I decided to emigrate from South Africa in the late 70’s, while I was still at school. It was only after I completed my higher education that I seriously started to do my planning and getting into gear. In 1990, when I left FW De Klerk had only recently taken office and the reforms he started had only just been announced. By that time all the work to get to NZ had been done and I wasn’t stopping, so a lot of my decision making was based on conditions pre this event. I am of an English background and quite frankly felt like a second class citizen within South Africa. I also had army camps going potentially on for ever and could only for-see a continuation of the township civil disobedience becoming worse. I did not for-see the crumbling of the Soviet block and what effect this would have in South Africa. Crime was also starting to become an issue.

Just so you can get a feeling of the differences between then and now I’ll explain what I had to do for my application. In those days there was no such thing as a work permit and all applications had to be full PR applications. There was effectively no internet and the NZ government had no presence in South Africa. They didn’t even have a double tax agreement with South Africa, that’s how bad the relationship had been till then. My entire application had to be done in hard copy through the NZ London embassy. I managed to get a friend to post the application form to me, completed it myself and returned it via courier. I will always remember the letter I got saying I had been granted my PR and that I was to present my passport to the London embassy to have the visa’s pasted in. How the heck was I going to do that from South Africa? I had to courier my passport to a friend, who then kindly stood in line at NZ House and couriered it back to me!

Exchange controls were significantly tighter in South Africa at that time. The business travel allowance was R15 000 p.a. and although the exchange rate was 2:1 then that was not a lot to get started.

Conditions in NZ need also to be taken into account. Up till the 1984 Rogernomics changes NZ would never have been considered a desirable place to move to. It was very much a backwater. Immigrants to NZ in the late ‘80s/early 90’s were effectively the first immigrants NZ had seen and there was a lot of reaction to Chinese immigrants, a lot of whom were taking out insurance policies with the British hand over of Hong Kong being planned for in 1999. Immigrants, I believe, were viewed with a lot of suspicion. A lot of NZ knowledge of South Africa was what they had learned from the ’81 tour to NZ, not forgetting that the South African government had until the ’78 tour effectively forced selection criteria on the AB team by refusing to allow Maori players to tour to South Africa. Sakiwiboer says he still sees this in the country, well views in the country tend to last longer than views in the city.

I arrived at Auckland airport not knowing a single person, knowing only the bed and breakfast I was going to stay at. I had no idea how much a house cost, all my data was at least 6 months out of date (it all had to be got via snail mail by writing to estate agents in NZ, asking them to forward one of their brochures), I had no idea how much it cost to rent anything, I had no idea what my employment prospects were like, other than the fact that I had got a whole lot of points because of my skills and education in my application for PR. I had no idea who sold what and what it cost. This would have been the case no matter what country I emigrated to though.

Laptops were effectively non existent. To apply for a role I had printed multiple copies of my CV before leaving. To do a cover letter one had to write it out by hand, go to a typing agency, get them to type it, pay for that by the page and send your application.

It took me three months to land a role in Wellington with a large corporate, in retrospect that was quick! I had to go through all the “no kiwi experience” and was eventually hired by a Canadian. I was to stay with that company for 8 years. I survived countless restructures and I agree with sakiwiboer that companies are far less nurturing than South African companies, but I suspect that has a lot to do with the relative skills shortages. I knew nobody in Wellington when I arrived. I had to make kiwi friends, mostly from the place I worked or have no social life whatsoever. I am still friends with many of them today, even though we are scattered around the globe.

I think you can agree that it was much more difficult from the NZ side of things in the process, but was probably easier on the South African side (geting Police Clearance certificates etc).

During those 8 years I became a NZ citizen. You had to be in NZ for 3 years to become a citizen in those days. In 1998 I was finally made redundant by the company I worked for (some people say you have not experienced the NZ workplace until you’ve been made redundant). Certainly I never had a SA company include redundancy clauses in my contract of employment and was astounded as to how much of my NZ contract was allocated to redundancy.

I then left NZ for Australia, worked for an Australian corporate until I decided to open my own business. I am now also a citizen of Australia.

Well after all that blether here comes some of my observations about NZ, its immigration policies and South African immigrants in NZ. They come in no particular order and are a bit unstructured and by implication are my opinions.

I agree with your point that the reasons for wanting to leave and have to leave. Unfortunately I am beginning to think that some South Africans are thinking more like “we have to leave and you have to accept us, why are you making it so difficult?” Certainly I have come across a specific post in a forum about South Africans emigrating to Australia which blatantly expressed this view. I have also noticed it a bit in the forum, especially people complaining about the catch 22 of getting a WP and getting a role. I don’t deny the situation exists but I think it is forgotten that a WP is designed to be given to people with roles in NZ, it is not designed as part of the process of getting PR. It is more designed for someone who has a role and if they like NZ and that if they decide to stay in NZ their work experience in NZ should be counted towards their PR application. A similar situation exists within Australia with 457 visa’s been the equivalent to a wp in NZ. In Australia the next step in the process is for the employer to sponsor people for PR (assuming they couldn’t get it anyway). Some South Africans have been surprised when their employer has refused to sponsor them and have advised that they only ever intended to employ them on a short term basis (the length of their 457 visa).

There is a skills shortage in NZ, but it is less acute than it is in South Africa. Some immigrants I don’t believe have caught onto this nuance. Also NZ employers are much more structured in their hiring process and will not just hire the first person who has the right skills that they come across. This has been frustrating to many people, but it could be argued that the NZ structured approach results in better business decisions (well the per capita wealth of NZ has outgrown RSA significantly in the last while, which gives some credence to that view). Many people have expressed frustration with NZ business methodology and the desire to consult at every point in the journey of a venture, but it may well result in better business decisions, I’m not sure.

The SA immigrants of the 80’s/early 90’s I believe were mainly English as opposed to Afrikaans. I believe that this made their ability to integrate into NZ easier. Some of them would also have left because of their desire not to live under the then National government and may well have been ashamed of their South African roots. This, together with their common language made integration easier. They also “wanted to go” as you put it. Most of these immigrants will now be citizens and I suspect that this is one of the reasons why official statistics show less than one would expect for people with South African background. Now more Afrikaans people are moving because they “have to go” and as a result are more determined to retain their culture and want to uplift what they had and just put it down in another place. It will be a sad day when mainstream NZ starts to include South Africans as an immigrant population that doesn’t want to integrate into NZ society and the issues, concerns expressed by mainstream NZ that surround the Chinese and Muslim immigrant population (something that I consider to be an ugly issue in both NZ and Australia) start to be directed to South Africans too. To some extent the “aggressive” and “arrogant” tags are the start of this.

There has been a fair bit on the forum about how NZ needs immigrants and that they are a positive factor to growth. I agree with this, but I think people forget that NZ may not care where these migrants come from. There may be a desire to have a nice compliant migrant contributing to growth rather than a stroppy migrant contributing to growth. You will know better than I but I believe it is quite easy to start discriminating particular migrant nationalities by a change in policy by NZ immigration. For instance South African education could start not to be recognised and not count towards points. Also South African migrants tend to be “poorer” than say their say British or Chinese cousins. This is a combination of exchange control and the exchange rate. The “have to go” mentality will also be attracting people of lesser means in South Africa, those people in say the UK would not consider moving. Certainly if you consider the number of ITA’s issued to South Africans (who will be mainly white) relative to the no. issued to Brits would suggest that there are more South Africans than Brits per capita (this is not a well structured way of putting this), and therefore by implication of lesser wealth. The ZAR/NZD exchange rate and property values in RSA do not help the wealth profile of a South African immigrant vs. say a Brit or Chinese immigrant. I suspect that a lot of South African immigrants will find it difficult to re-enter the property ownership equation (and immigration and an increasing population adds to the supply issue makes it even harder in this regard). South African immigrants tend also to arrive with little retirement savings, which will result in issues in the future. It also means that South Africans are probably on the lower side of wealth creation in NZ. (an argument developed by logic rather than facts, fully admitting that all the facts may not be known by myself). That said I believe that South Africans will be more determined to succeed (they have to, there is no going back as you put it) and this may well alter the equation completely in the future. I hope they do.

NZ as a backdoor to Australia often comes up. It is not as easy as people think. While NZers may live and work in Australia, without restriction they are required to apply for Australian PR to become citizens. The criteria for NZ’ers is the same as any other person, other than they may do it onshore, including the Australian 45 years old cut-off point. NZ’ers do not qualify for a number of Australian benefits unless they obtain Australian PR. A NZ’er in Australia (this is all post 2000 entrants) ranks between a person with PR in Australia and someone with a work permit. Also I believe that the immigration policies between Australia and NZ are diverging (it is more difficult to migrate to Australia). There is also a whole debate going on in Australia about migrant levels and how big Australia should get. There could well be a further tightening up of the rules between Australia and NZ.

I hope my frequently unstructured rant puts a slightly different slant on things and tries to look a little further than the immediate present.

Regards
An Early Immigrant"