Fleeing South Africa


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What exactly happens to the country’s dominant minority, the White South Africans, in the post-apartheid era. Approximately 5 million people strong in an overall population of 50 million, many of them are expressing a strong desire to leave the country, now already marred by the world’s highest crime rates only comparable to those of countries at the brink of war.

Will the passing out of Nelson Mandela, father of the brand-new South Africa it is now, as he’s being buried today, exacerbate the whole matters for the nation? Will Mandela’s vision of a united nation, either black and white, continue in the long term? Such questions are yet to be answered at this moment.

This is the full article from Newsweek, published in February 2009.

Excerpt:

The primary driver for emigration among all groups, but especially whites, who still retain the majority of South Africa’s wealth, is fear of crime. With more than 50 killings a day, South Africa has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world. The same goes for rape—ranking the country alongside conflict zones such as Sierra Leone, Colombia and Afghanistan. Future Fact polling indicates that more than 95 percent of those eager to leave South Africa rate violent crime as the single most important factor affecting their thinking. Lynette Chen, the ethnic-Chinese CEO of Nepad Business Group, is the only member of her family left in South Africa. Her parents departed in 2002 after being carjacked—twice. Her brother, also a victim of crime, followed suit shortly thereafter. “They’re always getting homesick,” she says. “But they won’t come back unless the crime is reduced.”

Another largely unnoticed problem is the growing number of attacks on South Africa’s white farmers. As in neighboring Zimbabwe, some of the attacks appear to be racially motivated. Others seem simply opportunistic, but the result is that white farmers’ numbers continue to decrease, leading to fears that despite the government’s good intentions, a Zimbabwe-style crisis—where the flight of skilled farmers led to an agricultural collapse—is possible here too.

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