Expats living in the UK have been encouraged to come back to South Africa in-spite of the country’s crime and corruption, poverty, unemployment, e-tolls, load-shedding and potholes.
Speaking at the Homecoming Revolution event at the London Expo 2014, several South Africans urged delegates “to come back where they belong.”
Lead SA activist and head of Crime Line, Yusuf Abramjee, told visitors at the Olympia Conference Centre in Kensington, London, that South Africa needed their “skill and expertise”.
He said the country was plagued by various problems including crime and corruption, poverty, unemployment, etolls, load-shedding and potholes. “…and let’s not forget Nkandla,” Abramjee said.
“Despite all of these problems, we need you and you can make a difference. We need to all join hands and build a better country,” Abramjee said. “Join us and become active citizens.”
Abramjee said crime “remained a problem. I am also even not immune to it. In November last year, my family and I were robbed at our home in Pretoria.”
“I could have simply given up. I could have put my head in the sand. But, it made me more adamant to fight the crime scourge. We have to all work together and make South Africa a better place,” Abramjee said.
Abramjee said South Africa “is not only about Oscar Pistorius and Dewani…Yes, these stories are making world headlines. But, there is also much good happening back home.”
“We need you and we need you now. We urge you also to vote on May 7- where ever you are,” the activist said.
He said “it’s not about whether you wear a yellow of blue t-shirt of sport a red beret. It’s about our future.”
“We are celebrating 20 years of freedom. We have achieved much but a lot of work still lies ahead…We need you. It takes one committed citizen to make a difference.”
Founder and CEO of Homecoming Revolution, Angel Jones, said hundreds of South Africans were coming home and this “is very encouraging.”
Jones said “there are many good stories to share.”
Professor Nick Binedell of the Gordon Institute of Business, GIBBS, said South Africans could contribute to a better country and continent if they returned. “The continent has lots to offer.”
In May last year, Rhodes University conducted a comprehensive online survey of its alumni, and found that 72% of Old Rhodian expats living in more than 20 overseas countries believe their skills and knowledge would be useful and valuable to South Africa, and 48% say they would be interested in learning more about incentives to relocate back to South Africa.
The study included 957 participants from 22 countries, with some 40% (387) residing abroad.
- While 90% of Old Rhodians living abroad are satisfied with their lifestyle or professional position overseas, 32% would consider returning to, or retiring in, South Africa and 28% are undecided;
- 40% of Old Rhodians living abroad consider themselves ambassadors and champions of the new South Africa and 33% visit South Africa more than once a year;
- The majority of these Global South Africans still identify with their home country – 36% say they have strong emotional and cultural attachment and 51% retain affinity and connections.
In January, Adcorp’s Employment Index showed that, since the global financial crisis in 2008, close to 360,000 high-skill South Africans have returned to the country from foreign work assignments.