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Home Affairs to phase out green ID books – but rubbishes March deadline claim

The Department of Home Affairs has reiterated that it has no immediate plans to discontinue green bar-coded identity books.

Speaking at the Centurion Home Affairs office on Wednesday, director-general of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni, said that the department was deeply concerned about false reports on the lifespan of the old ID books.

“These reports, which first appeared towards the end of 2017, masquerade as a notice from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), and claim that 31 March 2018 is the termination date for using the old green-barcoded ID books. This had an effect of driving citizens, in great numbers, to Home Affairs offices to apply for smart ID cards in panic,” he said.

“At the time, we had responded swiftly to say such reports are false, and do not come from us. We are again confronted with the same incorrect reports, from the beginning of January 2018, circulating largely on social media.”


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In a similar statement released in November, Home Affairs said that it wished to make it clear that the green barcoded ID book remains a legal form of identification and will continue to be until such time that the Live Capture System is rolled out to all Home Affairs offices to enable South Africans to apply for Smart ID cards at their nearest offices.

“The department has developed a plan to systematically phase out the green ID book and ultimately consolidate the restoration, common citizenship, identity and dignity to South Africans,” it said at the time.

Improving roll-out

Apleni said that when Home Affairs began the roll-out of smart ID cards in July 2013, its data showed that 38 million people were in possession of the old green books.

Following this, it conducted a number of studies so that it could set out a strategy for a smooth roll-out. “For instance we knew that one workstation can handle 28 card applications per day,” Apleni said.

“It takes 17 minutes on average to finalise the capturing of an application. On average, an office with 3 computers is expected to take in 84 applications per day. We were therefore able to estimate how many cards we could produce at a given time with the number of automated offices we had, that were equipped with live capture.”


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“As a result, when we started, we had invited first time applicants and senior citizens to be the first to apply for smart ID cards, free of charge. This was based on our capacity at the time,” he said.

“For example, Centurion has only five workstations for this task, therefore in line with our norm, it can only produce 140 cards per day.

“With more offices, with automated systems, and reinforced by 14 bank branches on eHomeAffairs, we proceeded to extend coverage to other sections of the population, which sections, unlike first time applicants, had some form of identification, in the form of the green-barcoded ID books,” he said.

Apleni said that 184 of its 411 offices currently have live capture systems which can process applications for smart ID cards and passports, with 227 offices are still to be modernized. In addition, Home Affairs is currently in discussions with participating banks to increase capacity through additional bank branches.

“We are working on getting our systems fully automated, and are also developing a mobile solution to support the rollout of smart ID cards. Between 2013 and 2017, we were able to reach the seven million milestone on smart cards issued. With the 38 million people we had to cover, it should be clear these messages making the rounds, about March 2018, are devoid of truth, and should therefore be ignored,” he said.


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South African opera star who beat the odds performs for London audiences

The multitalented South African opera star Njabulo Madlala will perform a concert called “A Night at the Opera” hosted by the High Commission of South Africa in London on 8 February 2018.

Madlala hails from Inanda, a poor township just north of Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. As a young boy, he was inspired by his grandmother, a domestic worker with an intense love for music. Through the years, Njabulo has fought against all odds to become one of the country’s most well known operatic exports.

Announced the Standard Bank Young Artist for Music in 2014, his accolades include winning the 2010 Kathleen Ferrier Award in London’s Wigmore Hall, 2012 Final of the Royal Overseas League Competition, the 2012 Lorna Viol Memorial Prize, the Royal Overseas League Trophy for the most outstanding musician from overseas.

Recent highlights include his debut at the Royal Opera House. In the current season, Njabulo performs in Moscow and further ahead in 2018 will make his debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra, English National Opera and the Dutch National Opera.

This is a great opportunity to hear Njabulo Madlala in concert with friends in what promises to be a blissful evening of beautiful music featuring opera arias, duets and excerpts from operas by Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Bizet, Bellini and more.

Njabulo will be joined by his colleagues and this concert is given in aid of Opera Voices of South Africa, an initiative dedicated to the education, mentoring and inspiring the next generation of opera stars out of Africa.

The concert will be accompanied by the celebrated British pianist William Vann.

Event details

Date: Thursday, 8 February 2018

Time: 18:30 – 21:30
Venue: South African High Commission
Trafalgar Square
London
WC2N 5DP


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SA family may be kicked  out of New Zealand

A South African family who has lived in New Zealand for nine years may soon be kicked out of this country.

Steven and Joan von Metzinger and their children, Travis (18) and Ethan (15), emigrated to New Zealand almost a decade ago and currently live in Dunedin. However, after a nine-year battle with the local immigration authorities, the family received a notice of government’s intention to portray them to South Africa.

The reason for the deportation is a chronic renal condition with which Ethan is born and for which he receives medical treatment and may undergo surgery. The family’s application for citizenship was denied because New Zealand regards Ethan’s condition as a burden on the country’s health system.

According to the Stuff website, many appeals against the decision to deport the family were unsuccessful. Travis, Ethan’s brother, said to the website that the family has always been honest about the kidney disease with which Ethan was born and is now penalized for their honesty.

He also said his father, who works as a business consultant in New Zealand, already paid $ 300 000 tax during the family’s stay in New Zealand and is also willing to pay off his bag for Ethan’s operation, which $ 200,000 can cost. According to the family, they should be allowed to stay in the country if they are willing to pay for Ethan’s medical expenses.

“My family is integrated into New Zealand society; this is our home. I and Ethan grew up as Kiwis and spent most of our lives here. My mother is actively involved in charity organizations and my father is a lead project consultant and works at Dunedin City Council, Allied Press and the University of Otago. In every way possible, except legally, we are New Zealanders, “Travis said.

Travis has compiled an online petition inviting people to add their signatures in support of the family’s continued stay in New Zealand. By Friday afternoon, more than 14 800 people signed the petition.

As is the case, the family must leave the country by 27 January.


 

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ANC NEC sharpen their knives, ramp up efforts to dismiss Zuma

He may have had a reprieve earlier in the week, but Jacob Zuma can consider himself on the ANC NEC hit-list.

The party’s National Executive Committee are determined to force Mr Zuma out of his Head of State role, according to City Press sources. He may have stood down as ANC President, but he still remains the leader of South Africa.

Jacob Zuma living on borrowed time as President
However, the NEC are determined to completely oust him from leadership. It was widely believed that a committee meeting on Wednesday would table plans to force Zuma out, but they eventually decided against upsetting the apple-cart on the eve of the ANC’s 106th birthday celebrations. This was confirmed by an ANC insider:

“There was a view that there was no point in upsetting the January 8 events. It would also be seen as opportunistic on Cyril’s part, and there is no guarantee as to how Zuma supporters would respond.”

With the event in East London drawing to a close, no stumbling blocks remain in the way of the ANC NEC, who are reportedly ready to push ahead with ‘Zumexit’. Our Jacob was soundly booed by a large number of ANC delegates when his name was announced during Saturday’s proceedings.

JZ may have even bough himself a little more time by appointing Raymond Zondo as the lead judge in the state capture inquiry. A right hand man to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Zondo is seen as a progressive choice. But, as always with Zuma, there’s an ulterior motive.

When will the ANC NEC attempt to remove Zuma?
By appearing to comply with an ANC directive, it puts fuel in the tank of his defence to stay on. Had he delayed or tried to circumvent the order to appoint a fair and impartial judge, that certainly would’ve been stronger grounds for divorce.

The ANC NEC next meet at a lekgotla on Thursday 18 January, where the issue of Zuma’s future will most likely be discussed. The party’s top brass could decide to recall the President, or hammer out a resignation deal to help him out of the door, rather than booting him out of it.


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The 30 UK job markets that are almost ‘restriction-free’ for South Africans

If you’re an expert in one of these fields, you can work in the UK with barely any limitations.

If you watch a certain reality show, then you’ll already know that South Africa’s Got Talent. However, an exceptional set of skills can do more than impress a set of judges these days. It can earn you a Tier 1 visa for the UK and its job markets.

This is confirmed by Sable International’s blog. The ‘exceptional talent’ visa is a special qualification that allows the best and brightest to live and work in Britain with minimum fuss.

Areas like humanities, engineering, science, medicine, digital development and the arts are crying out for masters of their crafts, and South Africans are free to apply.

What is the Tier 1 visa?
The Tier 1 visa allows you to be employed, self-employed, or work as a director. It also lets you travel freely in and out of the UK, and gives you the privilege of bringing family members to the country too.

In fact, the limitations are incredibly specific: The only people who can’t apply for a Tier 1 are trainee doctors and dentists, or professional sports coaches. Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the government were doubling the amount of these visas available back in November 2017, creating a real opportunity for foreign workers to establish themselves in Blighty.

This exceptional talent visa gives applicants an automatic five-year stay. Once your five years come to an end, you can apply for an indefinite leave to remain – a perfect name for UK residency, in the wake of Brexit.

What UK job markets allow you to work on the Tier 1?
There are seven ruling bodies that will decide if you have what it takes to work on the Tier 1 visa. The job markets available all fall under the following’s jurisdiction:

Can you see your occupation on this list of 30 here? If so, you’re more than welcome to try your luck in the UK. As a change in immigration policy creates a potential ‘brain-drain’ scenario, you could be ushered in as a expert for the following areas…

Jobs available in the UK on the Tier 1 visa:

Science
Active researchers in a relevant scientific field and have a PhD or equivalent research experience

Engineering
* Mechanical engineering
* Process engineering
* Civil engineering
* Biomedical engineering
* Innovation and policy engineering
* Electrical engineering
* Information communication technology engineering

Humanities and social science
* Philosophy
* Anthropology and geography
* Economics
* Sociology
* Psychology
* Political studies
* Law

Medicine
* Anatomy
* Clinical medicine
* Biochemistry
* Anyone who demonstrates exceptional promise in their respective field, or those who have already exhibited exceptional talent through research or innovation in the medical field

Digital work
* Programmers
* Developers
* Anyone involved in the business of digital technology
* The arts

* Dance
* Music
* Theatre
* Visual arts (including museums and galleries)
* Literature
* Combined arts

Any person whose work has been published, performed, presented, distributed or exhibited internationally and you are able to provide evidence thereof.


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Springbok and Lions captain Warren Whiteley back in action in Japan

Springbok and Lions captain Warren Whiteley is slowly but surely regaining his fitness.

A hip injury kept the No 8 sidelined for six months last year, with Eben Etzebeth taking over the Springbok captaincy in his absence.

Whiteley’s last Test was the 37-15 win in the second Test over France in Durban last June.

The 30-year-old is currently playing club rugby in Japan, but will return in time for the Lions’ 2018 Super Rugby campaign.

Lions coach Swys de Bruin says Whiteley has already featured in two games for his Japanese club, the Docomo Red Hurricanes.

“I had two brief conversations with him, but he is very positive. He played about 20 minutes before Christmas and played a full game this past weekend,” De Bruin told Netwerk24.

The Lions skipper is expected to return to Johannesburg at the end of the month – in time for their warm-up game against the Bulls at Ellis Park on January 27.

The Lions open their Super Rugby campaign at home against the Sharks on February 17.


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Discover the magic of spectacular Zermatt in the Swiss Alps

We feel the train engage the cogs as it rattles its way up the steep incline. Outside the wide windows, we pass rocky canyons, pine-covered mountain slopes and wildflower-covered meadows. My wife and I are comfortable and warm but outside the snowy white peaks are wrapped with cloud.

The train crawls through tunnels and across high bridges then pulls into a station. This is the end of the line. We have arrived in Zermatt.

The Swiss mountain village of Zermatt is one of the great ski and climbing centres of the world. Nestled in a deep valley enclosed between steeply scarped mountains, it is dominated by the dramatic, gracefully curved pyramid of the 4478 metre-high Matterhorn.

I first ‘discovered‘ Zermatt 40 years ago and declared it one of my favourite places in the world. I have been reluctant to go back and must say that I am initially disappointed in what I see. I want Zermatt to be the same as it was but, of course, it is not.


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The village has grown enormously, the colourful horse and carts have been replaced by electric vehicles and there is construction going on everywhere. However, from the moment we step off the train and catch sight of the cobbled streets, the cute chalets and the towering mountains, we know we are in a special place.

The main street bustles happily with pedestrians but we delight in exploring some of the tiny (and romantic) cobbled alleyways off to the side, where we find ancient sun browned barns and traditional chalets.

There are cosy restaurants everywhere and menus with prices are normally posted outside. Despite Zermatt’s popularity, despite its growth, it is still only a village, open and friendly, where people from around the world seem to mix happily in the streets, restaurants and bars.

With over 13,000 visitor beds, this is very much a tourist town. It is here because of the mountains. The Matterhorn, standing alone at the head of the valley is overwhelming but Zermatt is encircled by a famous ring of mountains over 4000 metres high.

Zermatt is renowned as one of the best ski resorts in the European Alps and is the favoured place to ski by many skiers who come here from all over the world.


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There are mountain railways and cable cars to take you up into the high wilderness in summer then you can ramble back down to the village. Along the way, you will find numerous mountain restaurants where you can sip a cold drink or a hearty lunch and enjoy the spectacular views of the Matterhorn.

A highlight for just about everyone is the Gornergrat, a cog railway that winds its way up the mountain to an altitude of 3089 metres. It provides magnificent panoramas along the way.

Another is Glacier Paradise / Klein Matterhorn, the highest place in Switzerland (3883 m) able to be reached by a cableway, with a viewing platform and the highest glacier palace in the world.

You arrive at the glacier by lift directly from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise station. You then walk into the palace through an ice tunnel that is almost fifteen metres below the surface of the glacier. Adventurers and daredevils can return by walking through a glacier crevasse. Both the railway and the cable car leave from Zermatt village.

Summer visitors can explore Gorner Gorge where a footpath across narrow bridges takes visitors through the deeply scarped gorge. Also in summer you can mountain-bike ride over gravel and stones, through larch and Swiss pine forests, on single trails all with a magnificent mountain backdrop. Each trail covers an average of 1,000 metres of altitude.


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The best accommodation in Zermatt is probably the Mont Cervin Palace. It is in the heart of the village and stands out with its attractive south-façade and roof with numerous turrets. The hotel’s red horse-drawn carriage is an ever popular photo.

There is excellent cuisine at the restaurant-dining room, Grill Le Cervin, and the hotel has a large indoor swimming pool and an outdoor pool, sauna, and large patio. Expect to pay €600/night.

We stayed at Tasch about seven kilometres away where we could drive the car right to the hotel. We then took the Zermatt Shuttle train to Zermatt for the day. This worked well and good accommodation was only €100/night.

If we had more time we would have taken the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St.Moritz. We saw the train with its panoramic windows and silver service meals and were suitably impressed.


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It is an eight-hour trip through untouched mountain landscapes, glamorous health resorts, deep gorges, delightful valleys, 91 tunnels and across 291 impressive bridges. Prices start from around €150.

IF YOU GO

Zermatt is ‘auto-free’ to prevent air pollution so you can’t drive into the village, but you can get here by cog railway train or taxi from the nearby village of Täsch, (7kms away). Trains also depart for Zermatt from further down the valley at Visp and Brig.

South African nationals require a Schengen visa to enter Switzerland.

There are flights from South Africa and the United Kingdom to Zurich in Switzerland then you can travel by train to Zermatt.


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Elderly British couple held up at gunpoint and robbed in broad daylight in Port Elizabeth

What was meant to be a leisurely stroll along the Port Elizabeth beachfront turned into an ordeal for an elderly British couple as they were held up at gun point and robbed off their possessions.

IOL reports that the couple were walking along the beachfront and, after deciding to take a sit on a bench they were approached by a man who had been seated on a nearby bench.

According to police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu, the perp pulled out a firearm and demanded the gold necklace from the woman’s neck then proceeded to snatch it and ran off.

“The suspect snatched the chain from the 74-year-old woman’s neck and started running,” Naidu said.

“Witnesses saw what had happened and started chasing after the suspect. A person on a bicycle and in a bakkie gave chase.”

Naidu said the suspect ran into a taxi which was flagged down by members of the public but he managed to briefly escape as he fired a shot, hitting a 35-year old man on the hip. He was taken to hospital where he was treated for his gunshot wound.

The suspect however did not make it too far as he was apprehended by private security company ADT as well as members of the community.

Naidu says the woman’s necklace was recovered and a Browning firearm was found on the 19-year old suspect who will appear at the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 12 January.

A case of robbery with a firearm and attempted murder is currently being investigated.

Major General Thembisile Patekile was full of praise for the community members who stepped in and had to ensure tourists that the SAPS is committed to making the city a safe environment.
“We wish a speedy recovery to the good samaritan who was shot and assure the community and tourists to this beautiful city that the SAPS is committed in ensuring a safe and secure environment for all,” said Patekile.


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Travelling? Here’s a list of visas you may need before you go

In order to ensure you can enter a country without any issues, here’s a breakdown of visas around the world which you may need at some point during your travels.

Depending on where in the world you plan to travel, you may need a visa. If that isn’t complicated enough, the visa you require varies from place to place, and country to country.

Travelling to the United States of America
The Visa Waiver Program and obtaining a USA visa is a process that confuses many. Most passport holders can obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) through the Visa Waiver Programme. This programme allows travel to the US for up to 90 days for journeys related to tourism, specific types of business visits and transfers to another country.


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Travelling from the UK, you will more than likely qualify to enter the United States of America, providing your British passport describes your nationally as a ‘British Citizen’ and is an ePassport. You will also have to receive genuine authorisation from ESTA, and have not travelled to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Yemen or Sudan since March 2011.

Travelling to the United Kingdom
Travelling to the United Kingdom is a bit less complicated. While citizens of most, if not all nations, receive a visa waiver upon arrival in England, it is unlikely you’ll need any additional documents –other than your passport, of course! But, if you wish to drive or rent a car in England, you must have your unique state-issued license with you in order to do so.

Travelling to Australia
Depending on the reasons why you want to visit Australia, you will need one of several different types of visa. But no matter what, there are a number of important things you should know, such as the requirements for the relevant via application, obligations and how to comply with the conditions of your Australian visa. If you want to study, work or even live in Australia there are additional different requirements that you will need to meet in order to do so, such as being employed in one of the approved professions on the Skilled Occupation List.


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Business Travel Visas around the world
In some countries, you will require a business visa in order to travel to the country for business-related reasons. This is especially important for those who are seeking to travel to the US for a short duration for a business trip that doesn’t require actual labour to be carried out throughout the duration of their stay.

On the other hand, those wanting to visit the UK on business simply need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. It doesn’t matter whether the visit to the UK is for a meeting, conference or training purposes, if you visit the UK on business you need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa up to 3 months in advance before you travel.

Long-Term Visit Visas around the world
In most countries, if you are able to prove that you need to visit a certain country regularly over the next 2, 5 or 10 years you can apply for a long-term visit visa. Even though most long-term visit visas allow you to stay for a maximum of 24 weeks (or 6 months) per visit they are still expensive, in the likes of the UK a 10-year visit visa will cost you £767.00. And for a shorter 2-year long-term visit visa, you can expect to pay £337.00.


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Travelogue: What to expect when moving from South Africa to London

When you make a life-changing decision to move to a different country (for whatever reason) there is a lot to take into consideration.

In October 2016, I moved from sunny South Africa to the wonderful winter that only the United Kingdom can be well known for! I joined my wonderful boyfriend (FYI – he is from SA too!) and adjusted to the change – and have never looked back!

The next points will only be based on my experience in the UK thus far (for now!).
The Cold Climate Myth

Don’t get me wrong, the blazing hot sun and warm temperatures certainly do wonders for a person! But, if your biggest concern that you have when emigrating is the weather, I am sure you can find an article about immigrating to the Bahamas in the summer somewhere on the web!

Yes, it rains. Yes, it is overcast a lot of the time and yes, the temperature drops are quite drastic – but (and this is a big BUT) – Don’t be fooled by the image portrayed of the UK weather that you see on TV and in films. With that being said, the weather is easy to adapt to. The buildings are designed with insulation and almost everywhere you go there is a heating system of some sort.
The clothing items sold here are also significantly warmer and thicker so you are able to function properly when moving about. Also, one important thing that many people do not know: We do have a Summer and we do have ‘heat waves’, we even have beaches! It all depends on where you are – Location, location, location.
Beginning the job search

Unless you have won the lottery and have decided to purchase a luxury estate, you need to make sure you have your income secured above anything else (and a roof over your head of course).
Employers love hiring South Africans because of the strong work ethic they behold as well as their ‘can do attitude’, so there should be no issue there. Websites such as Indeed and Monster are great sites to look for work across all sectors you may be interested in. Like most job pages, the positions are posted by a mixture of both employers directly or by the recruitment agencies. The recruitment agencies are often quite efficient and will try and do their best to assist you in finding the job that you are after.

Make sure your CV is updated to the UK format – you will be surprised how much information put on our South African CVs that is not necessary here such as a picture or even your date of birth! It is also helpful to have a LinkedIn profile. This is the professional equivalent of Facebook and will help companies discover more about you and your working background.
Speaking of Facebook, this is a prime tool to have while job hunting as it has loads of groups for companies and job seekers to connect in certain areas of the country with daily jobs, articles and tips to help you secure that income! Follow the link here to view one of the pages that I found useful in my hunt: https://www.facebook.com/groups/saffajobs/
Stop the habit of currency converting

Going from earning rands to pounds may seem like you struck the jackpot, but this is not always the case! The cost of living is subsequently higher and in turn, the income you earn needs to make up for this factor. However, on a personal level, I have found budgeting more manageable and saving can be easily done if you play by the rules.

It took me a couple of months to wrap my head around how much my grocery shopping would amount to had I spent the ZAR equivalent back home and in turn, I learned to stop doing it completely. The lifestyle is different and adjusting becomes much easier once you stop comparing the prices of eating out, chocolate bars, fuel, etc.
Learning the lingo

Right, let’s just address a few common assumptions:
Not everybody speaks like the royal family, not everybody has the accent that you may hear on Geordie Shore and last but not least not everybody speaks like Dizzee Rascal sounds in his ‘Bonker’s song’.

Different areas have different ways of speaking in terms of pronunciation, tone and slang. Also, a lot of the time you will find that some of the things you say may not make sense to the British. For example, the word ‘shame’ to South Africans is often used in a sympathetic or endearing manner. Using the same word here is completely different and is seen as a form of sarcasm. I found this out the hard way after a client of mine had told me that his wife was ill and once I had replied with ‘Agh, shame’. The look I received from my colleagues was as if they had seen a ghost!

However, after several months of being around British people all day, you will soon learn to adjust to the vocabulary and it can be quite fun to learn a few new words and phrases! Don’t be surprised if your ‘ja’ changes to ‘yeah’, this sometimes happens subconsciously and more often than so you will find the accent of the English to rub off on you. If you’re worried about losing the ‘lekker Suid Afrikaanse taal’ – Fear not, this accent will never fade!

At first, you may feel reluctant to use public transport due to the impression the South African service gave off. It is completely different here! The buses are punctual and will stop around every four minutes or so on average, depending which route you decide to take. The bus drivers are very helpful and the buses are clean and looked after. Some Metrobuses are even equipped with Wi-Fi! Fancy, eh?

Riding the train will take some getting used to as some routes require getting off at another station and finding the correct platform. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes quite an adventure as you can take a train to just about any town. Driving is not always the best choice especially when travelling in London, so taking the train is advantageous in terms of convenience. The only downside to this is that tickets can be quite pricey!
Service that makes you smile

I was quite surprised to arrive here and notice that the UK Postal System is still going strong. Maybe this was because I was used to the constant striking of the Post Office back home and so I had lost all hope for the envelope worldwide. The great thing about the service here is that when you are expecting a letter to arrive over a certain timescale, rest assured it will arrive and the same goes when sending a letter too.

It’s not just the postal system that is ‘royal’ class, but their online services are quite top notch too. I was able to apply for a bank account online the first day I arrived here. Then, all I had to do was take my passport to the bank so that they could make copies for their records and within a week I had my bank card sent to me via post! You can also manage all your bills online if you have an account set up and let’s not forget online shopping becomes your new best friend.

With society’s needs to increase the speed and versatility of a service, I can definitely say that the UK does have the upper hand when it comes to ease and efficiency of modern technology.
Making new friends and keeping in touch with the ones you left behind

Exploring the social scene is a great way to meet new people and learn more about others. If you have a hobby or play a sport, social clubs are good for meeting new people with the same interests as you so it may be a good idea to have a look for some! You may click with a person you meet straight away or you may find it difficult to mingle but this would depend entirely on the type of characters involved. I was in no hurry to make new friends as this wasn’t on top of my priorities, however, once you get more settled and relaxed you begin opening up to others and in turn, you begin building bonds.

I now have a very close friend whom I met from work and to me, it feels as if we have known one another for years. At this point in time, you begin to realise that it’s not important to have a bunch of friends, but rather a few real ones. Talking about real friends, you will begin to realise that you will no longer remain close to the people you left behind back home unless both sides put in the effort.

The people who you thought you would most likely keep in touch with may now feel like distant friendships but what is most important is to try and make time for the ones close to your heart. I have two best friends who I would never be able to lose contact with and I always try to make them aware that even though I am many miles away, that I am always there for them.
Luckily, in this day and age with so many public platforms and video calling technology, it is much easier to stay close to one another. This goes for family members too, if you have relocated without them.
Dealing with the emotions

This is a big point for me and I am sure many people can relate. If you have remained calm and focused throughout the whole immigration process, then I salute you. However, if the whole journey is/was a rollercoaster of emotions then just know you are not alone. You need to have the strength to commit to this decision, but strength does not mean you are not entitled to have fear or feel stressed. There are many things you have to consider to ensure you are doing correctly and let’s not forget – it is okay to miss the things that you do back home, such as Oros or petrol attendants!

You are allowed to feel the emptiness of moving away from the African culture. The true value of this journey is shown once you learn to override the negative emotions of immigrating and replace these with the joy, excitement and fulfilment of the adventures yet to come.

As long as you truthfully and undoubtedly know you have made the right decision, you are allowed to feel all that you do, it is what makes us human!
Don’t forget to explore!

Try not to get too wound up with all that you need to do in order to get settled. It will take some time to feel like you new place is ‘home’ and don’t feel impatient when everything has not gone as smooth as you would have hoped for it to be. My advice to you is: Take a day to explore your surroundings. Visit the next town or take a train to the beautiful countryside.

These days can often be reminders of how lucky you are to have a fresh start in a new country and culture and why you made the decision in the first place. Take advantage of the fact that you have the whole of Europe close by waiting to be explored (for now) and don’t forget to take pictures of your memories to look back on and to show the others back home.
In conclusion to my (very) long and first blog post, I would like to leave you in saying that everybody’s viewpoint will not necessarily reflect the same of my own and whilst I do enjoy a huge change like this, some people may not. With that being said, there are many forums and sites for people all going through the same change as what we are and so it helps to share what you are feeling with others.

There are many other factors I would have loved to have covered, but these are the ones that I get asked the most about and wanted to share my insight on these points with you. I would also love to hear your stories or opinions referring to this post so feel free to get in touch! Until then, embrace the change and be excited for this wonderful opportunity!


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