Young Expat Family Can't Get Back to South Africa Fast Enough:
FILE PHOTO. Young Expat Family Can't Get Back to South Africa Fast Enough: "We Are Coming HOME!" Photo: iStockPhoto

Amidst news of load-shedding, corruption and crime, there’s one post that’s providing a flicker of hope and joy for South Africans… reminding everyone that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side, and that together we are stronger to tackle issues, and should celebrate all the things that make South Africans unique and wonderful!

The post was written by (former) South African expat Antoinette Takis Stoltenkamp, on 26 September, as she sat in Stockholm, excitedly looking forward to returning with her young family back home to South Africa. Her post – which she shared on I Love Fourways Facebook page – went viral faster than Antoinette could leave Sweden. Here’s her important message in full:

“INCOMING alert !! After more than two years abroad, we are coming HOME and I have never been more excited about anything in my life! We left with the same narrative as so many other South Africans’… to give our children a better life, a more secure future… blah blah blah! Free education, safe streets, free healthcare, unlimited supply of electricity, no crime or corruption, great retirement opportunity, but OMG I CANNOT WAIT TO GET OUT OF HERE.

“Never again will I ever take for granted the uniqueness, the vibrancy and the energy of our homeland. Who needs electricity 24/7 when you have sunlight and energy literally emanating from the people. Who wants free education for your kids, but no lessons on how to deal with the world, how to be compassionate or how to overcome obstacles. A society where everybody has enough, so nobody learns how to share. Reliable and safe public transport, but journeys that are so uncomfortable & cold as nobody makes eye contact.

“The streets are safe but people walking them so dull. There is no load shedding, yet there is no warmth, colour or light. The elderly have great pension benefits, but are lonely. Free healthcare yet my children have never been more sick with less access to doctors, and very long waiting periods. I can tell you for sure that South African doctors and private healthcare is of the BEST in the world.

“I want to return to my home, where beggars on the street teach my children about giving, what is important in life. We may be third world but let me tell you our world is filled with spirit and colour. People may have nothing, but they dance in the streets. Their souls are alive!

“I know I will probably curse when I am home, but the thing is, I can curse with people who understand it. We can laugh and cry about it. But we are in it TOGETHER. We are family orientated people, we ARE innovators, in fact, I have never seen anyone improvise to solve a problem like a South African. We have the ability to adapt to anything, we are warm, patient, tolerant and charismatic. We look after and love our elderly. And THIS is how I want my kids to grow up.

“I am certain that most people that have relocated, are undoubtedly living with two feet in different countries. Just as people are leaving, there are thousands returning as well. There is just no way that you can ever let go of this place. I have never been more excited about anything than touching down in my land again.

“As cliched as this sounds, we want to make a difference to our OWN people. And on that note, please let me know if anyone leaving is looking for a new home for their precious nanny. We have two young children.”

Welcome messages have been poured in for Antoinette and her young family from thousands of South Africans who agree, like Mpumzi P says, that “we’ve got it quite tough here at times… but, dammit, we’ve also got it pretty dam good. Good luck to you & your family & welcome back… We need people like you guys in our beautiful land ??”

Friends have thanked Antoinette for her inspiring, awesome post and commented on how “sometimes it takes being away from it to realise ??” what a very special place South Africa is, if it just weren’t for the corrupt government officials.

Antoinette and family are now home. She said to Mpumzi a few days ago: “You don’t understand how good it is to be home. The people are the warmest, friendliest and believe it or not some of the happiest people i have ever seen despite the challenges. And that is what makes home the BEST place to live…”