If you are a regular reader of my drivel then you will know that I am a recent arrival to the beautiful shores of the Cape Point Peninsula. I moved here in September of 2005 and haven’t regretted the move once.
At the time a lot of friends (some of them from the Cape Point area) thought that I was mad. Why on earth would I want to live in a place like this when my alternative was a nice safe country with some of the world’s best welfare systems?
I forgive these people their ignorance, because anyone of them who has since been to visit us on the Cape Point Peninsula has changed their opinion, and now envy us our position (with the exception of the South Africans, who still think we should keep our liquid assets in diamonds and Krugerands, just in case we have to be rescued by helicopter to a waiting HMS frigate, anchored off Cape Point.)
There were several reasons for wanting to live in the Cape Point area. We were working on cruise ships at the time and I have a British passport, my partner is South African, so we had to decide on somewhere to live. The choices were simple, South Africa or Britain.
For me it was a no brainer, and my destination of choice was the Cape Point Peninsula.
Of course, there is the natural beauty and wonderful climate, which make this an obvious choice over Britain, but why did I take a risk and accept the social problems of South Africa of the supposed security of the UK?
As it turns out I must be a bit of a profit, because, unless you are just returning from a trip to the moon you must be aware of the massive social unrest in the UK at the moment. What I find most amazing is that people are surprised by the riots and civil disobediences that Britain is experiencing. I am no expert but I could feel something in the air over 10 years ago.
The main reason that I decided to settle on the Cape Point Peninsula is that I wanted to raise a family in a society that allowed people to grow, that embraced diversity and was generally optimistic about the future. Of course there is an element in South Africa that thinks we are all going to hell in a hand basket, and unfortunately they seem to get a lot of press time, but the general feeling as you move around, especially in the Cape Point, is that in South Africa you can have a future if you are willing to work at it. Feelings are generally positive despite the best efforts of some to change that. Yes, many of our politicians are scum bags that you wouldn’t trust with your wife but here’s the stinger, they aren’t unique in the world. In fact, they are the norm and the honest, hard working civil servants are the exception wherever you go.
Does South Africa have its own problems? Of course it does, what country doesn’t (even Switzerland has a massive drug problem- on the Cape Point Peninsula we may be sheltered from some of the harsher parts of the country, but still, is it day to day as bad as the media would have us believe.) However, the optimism and belief of the citizens of this country will see them overcome, eventually- maybe not tomorrow, but sometime in the future. You just can’t stop a force like optimism, its like gravity, you can try and fight it but in the end it wins.
My main problem with the UK is that the optimism is missing. It is a nation of pessimistic cynics, which is causing the country to live on past glories rather than facing the realities of the present and planning for a brighter future. Many countries in Europe are going through a similar phase. They were built on empire, exploiting the natural wonders of the world and funneling all the proceeds back to Europe (what natural resources does Belgium have? It’s a ceasefire zone between two heavy weights and yet is one of the richest nations on earth- how so?). That cash cow has sailed and will not return, and now that money has run out and they realise that there is now nothing to pay for lavish health systems and social welfare. There is more being taken out of the system than being put in.
The UK in particular is following the classic pattern of a country going down a bad road. At present they are in a phase of blaming immigrant workers for all their troubles, which sounds a lot like places such as Germany in the 1930’s and we all know how that turned out.
So if you are planning on fleeing these glorious shores for promises of streets paved with gold then beware, they are paved with broken concrete slabs, smell like s**t and harbor some pretty scummy characters. The only gold resides in the Bank of England (where most of your wages will end up through the auspices of Her Majesties Collector of Taxes- remember the UK does not have citizens, they are subjects) and that all was stolen from South Africa anyway. Maybe we should ask for it back, or press charges with the international courts or something, imagine what a fantastic country this would be if we got all the stolen gold back?
Stay where you are and help turn this into the country it can be.