Why we need to start thinking about emigrating


I love South Africa. It is my home and Dean and I have been very happy here. We have built a wonderful, comfy life with our little home, our cats, our daughter. We lead a pretty cushy lifestyle, too, with plenty of sushi, nights out, special gifts and whatever else our hearts desire. Both of us have fantastic jobs that we love, and we are just so happy. So why, why are we talking about emigrating?

Just a few months ago, I told all of you that we weren’t thinking about moving. Every country has its issues and there was no compelling reason to even look at leaving South Africa – why move when we have it so good here? Well, I still think that every country has its problems, and we  need to feel our way through this decision, but the more I think about Harley’s future, the more I think that we should probably move somewhere else.

It’s not that South Africa is bad. I think Harley would have a great time growing up here – there are tons of places to go and things to see, tons of exciting forms of adventure and ways for her to be stimulated, enriched and loved. There are some great schools, and we have an amazing network of friends and family that will be amazing for Harley here. But there’s a big “but”, too.

When we were just thinking about ourselves, South Africa was great for me and Dean. But now that we have to think about Harley, it’s not enough for her to have an awesome childhood here. She needs to know that she can grow up and do or be anything she wants. Want to go to university and study medicine or astronomy or theater or art history? No problem! Want to grow up to be a gymnast, or actress, or rocket scientist or president? Go for it! Unfortunately, I’m just not sure how great South Africa will be for that. It’s not to say that there won’t be obstacles if we move to the States or anywhere else in the world, but I just think her opportunities will be greater if we live overseas. I won’t be worried about riots at the universities, or her being turned down because of weird quota systems. Sure, she might still get turned down for university, but the reasons will at least seem a little more “fair”.

Who knows when we’d actually manage to move – Harley still doesn’t have a birth certificate thanks to the useless people at Home Affairs, so we can’t take her anywhere anyway. There are so many logistics to consider, and we really do need to weigh the options carefully, but it’s a conversation that we need to start having, while Harley can still benefit from bigger and better opportunities.


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  • TriangularRoom

    This is such a tough one, especially with kids. I think if you do decide to move and she is old enough to understand, make her feel like part of the decision making process. My family emigrated when I was old enough to feel attached to my home country, but I didn’t feel like I had any control over it, and my parents weren’t exactly equally keen on the move, so that even 25+ years later, I don’t actually consider SA my home!

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      yeah, it’s a big thing and has lifelong consequences. When I moved to holland when I was 15, it forever change my life, my view of the world and my sense of home/place. will have to make sure we make the transition and future consequences as beneficial and easy as possible for Harley… and ourselves.

  • Ursula Van Lelyveld

    My 26 year old daughter and her husband started the application process for another country this week, it breaks my heart but can only want what’s best for her. We should leave too, but we keep hoping that something will give, despite the fact that it probably won’t and I worry about the future of my smaller children

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      yeah, will be devastating to leave the people and country we love, but also need to plan for the little one’s future…

  • Definitely not an easy decision I can tell you, and as you’ve rightly said every country has their issues. I’ve seen it everywhere, greed and corruption poison continents. The world is in need of a great changing. As for SA I want to grasp onto every last piece of hope that that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I worry for my friends and family every day.

    With the current turmoil that’s shaking our current ministry hopefully this is a sign of things to come, it’s going to be rough but there is a brighter future. That future however I feel is in a good 20 years from now, repairing the damage that has befouled our beautiful country.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      my concern is that it will get worse before it gets better. and for sure – having lived all over the world, i know that every place has its issues. it just makes me so sad that South Africa doesn’t seem like the best choice anymore. 🙁

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