Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The long walk to freedom

Before we moved to Australia I made the decision that if I found that I really didn’t like the place I would face the truth, suck up my pride, pack up my belongings and return to my country of birth – or go elsewhere, maybe even a silly place like Canada.

During the past 5 years I spent tons of money, hundreds of hours of hard work - and I made some tough decisions.  During this time we moved from one continent to another, started all over again and had to build new relationships in a country where we still have no (blood-related) family.
We do, however, have an extended family of great friends – South Africans, Zimbabweans, Australians, Poles and even some Pommy friends (although I won’t openly admit this last fact to my family overseas...)

I recently applied for a lease for my new vehicle and one of the questions was:

“Name the nearest relative not living with you”. 

I had to name someone who lives in Africa – someone I haven’t seen for almost 5 years.

During this period of change I also had some great opportunities that I would never have dreamed of.  I started manufacturing my own biltong and humbly built up a reputation as the best Biltongboer in the country. 

I am training electrical staff from all over the state as part of my job – despite my Souf Efrikuhn eksent that won’t quite go away no matter how hard Oi troy. 

I use the word “mate” regularly and now almost have an idea of what “fair dinkum” means.

I even met the premier of WA, Colin Barnett, on occasion.  I have a photo to prove this.  Colin was recently re-elected as premier of Western Australia.


I know that neither my Namibian president nor the Prime Minister would ever have stooped so low as to pose for a photo with this paleface no-good average-Joe tax-paying citizen. 

Not that I would want to pose with a terrorist anyway.

I also saw Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth when I attended the Big Aussie Barbeque.
She did wave at me but at that moment I was too busy trying to get my youngest daughter to a toilet.


After many hours of completing stacks of documentation, forking out Aussie and Namibian dollars by the buckets full and patiently waiting for things to happen, I finally became a citizen of this great country.

Anyone who makes this courageous move knows what it’s like.  It’s hard work, it takes a lot of courage and causes heaps of stress and conflict – especially with the folks back in Africa.

But it is so worth it.

I have made the right choice.  I am positive about the future of my children and my own life.  I would never consider going back apart from the odd expensive holiday in Cape Town.  I have arrived and I’m here to stay. 

Now that is what they call a fair dinkum statement.