Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Homecoming Revolution

Anyone travelling down South Africa's highways during the December period will probably have noticed billboards advertising the Homecoming Revolution - a publicity campaign encouraging ex-South Africans to come back and help rebuild the country. Personally, I find this whole Ra! Ra! campaign a little nauseating. Undoubtedly South Africa stands to benefit from the professional skills of those who decided to leave, and if they want to return good and well, but I don't see why we should have to entice them to come back, and convince them that South Africa's not the nightmare that their often racist and fevered imaginations make it out to be.

The majority of people who left pre 1994 under the cover of "not being able to live under a racist regime" were, granted afraid of a violent revolution, but mostly had no faith in the ability of a black government to run the country. If they cared so much about the brutality of the system why didn't they stay and do something about it? After all they were the ones making a big political statement by leaving, or maybe they thought that leaving the country was protest enough - although hardly likely to overthrow the apartheid government. I realise some people left because they didn't want to risk their sons lives to the apartheid army for a cause they didn't believe in, others left for professional reasons, and post 1994 many people left due to the crime situation or cited the crime situation as a reason for leaving. But out of the roughly estimated 5 million South Africans who decided to emigrate, I suspect the majority didn't want to live under, or had no faith in a black government. If people want to return because they're passionate about the country and want to be part of it again, wonderful, but I don't think we should have to make a special effort to entice them.

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