Big Fish

Should I stay or should I go?

Written by (Big Fish)

Posted in :Admin on 8 Feb 2008 at 09:12

The general feeling among South Africans is doom and gloom based on various facts and perceptions. South Africa is the crime, murder and Aids capital of the world. It used to have the best roads and now they are full of potholes.

By John Demartini

The general feeling among South Africans is doom and gloom based on various facts and perceptions. South Africa is the crime, murder and Aids capital of the world. It used to have the best roads and now they are full of potholes.

There seem to be only fraudsters at the top of the police force. The country’s leadership under Mbeki is rudderless. The head of the ruling party is up on corruption charges.

Now a basic infrastructural commodity such as electricity is being rationed. This will directly influence future foreign investment, which in turn will increase unemployment, poverty and crime. Mines are periodically forced to shut down, losing billions, which will adversely affect the economy.

This also brings us to the unthinkable – we could lose the 2010 World Cup. And the even more unthinkable: are we slowly going the same way as Zimbabwe?

A poll taken by Carte Blanche recently confirmed that the majority of affluent South Africans had absolutely no faith in Eskom sorting out the power problems. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel… literally. The question on everybody’s lips is: Should I stay or should I go?

Human behavioural specialist Dr John Demartini has some thoughts on the subject.

His teachings take him all over the world, enabling him to experience a vast array of living standards. Originally from the US, his work brings him to South Africa for extended periods about four times a year.

The question is not should I stay or should I
go? It is wiser to ask: What awaits me if I leave? Unquestionably there are challenges in South Africa, but you are living in a fantasy if you think there won’t be a new set of challenges and drawbacks when you move to another country. People who run away from a challenge get more challenges to face and manage. People who seek ease get continued difficulty. It’s the way it is – the integration of complementary opposites.

The challenges in this country, like the power shortage, will also birth more opportunities. New enterprises will blossom as a result. Out of crisis always emerge the greatest leaders.

You may not realise it, but your challenges are unifying people in SA and making them think more creatively. SA is a seed of opportunity for entrepreneurs who could contribute to transformation.

Anyway, why run from your heritage? A situation like Eskom is a temporary glitch and it is unwise to let it interfere with your long-term visions and goals.

Remember, the greatest tension in the slingshot shoots the highest rock.

There is never a crisis without a blessing. So let’s look at the blessings in the power situation. This may be a lesson to government to think beyond 10 years and accommodate a 50-year vision so subsequent generations benefit from these lessons.

On a day-to-day level, no power to your television is probably making families communicate more. Gold mines might have temporarily shut down, but the gold price shot up.

If you have made up your mind to go, that’s fine, but if you are staying, bitching without taking actions towards solutions is not going to help. Don’t let naysayers interfere with your dreams and opportunities.

However, staying means you cannot afford the luxury of sitting back. You have to get into proactive mode. Yes, it may seem insurmountable, but if every individual helps at a grass-roots level by figuring out how to empower the people around them, it will make a massive collective difference.

Nelson Mandela is the perfect example of just one person who stood up and changed things. You know the famous words of John F Kennedy: “It’s not what your country can do for you – it’s what you can do for your country.”

Long-term visionaries know to stay the course. They don’t focus on how things aren’t being done; they always look at what is being done and what can be done on an individual basis. They are always solution-oriented and not problem-focused.

You are not at the mercy of your government; it’s the other way round. They are there because the majority of people voted for them. If you don’t like their vision, rally around and change it. In the meantime, don’t wait on them to sort out the problems, make it a community project.

Contrary to the current thoughts of disillusionment and uncertainty, which are largely driven by emotion, remember foreigners believe in South Africa.

Look at Oprah Winfrey, who has built a school here, and Richard Branson, who has invested every aspect of his brand here, including buying a game reserve. Temporary setbacks won’t stop these people.

Look at the history of social dynamics. Nations have risen and fallen for centuries. They have taken one step back and two steps forwards.

South Africa has made massive strides in the past few years. When I first got here South Africa was nothing like I envisioned. I was very impressed. And in the three years I have been regularly coming here, I have seen great progress in the landscaping, buildings and living conditions.

Would I invest in this country? I already have. I have ploughed in copious amounts of time and energy and this is the only place I have established an office outside of the US. My worldwide branding is currently being created here and my working visits are getting more frequent and prolonged.

I am even looking at possibly investing in a lodge in a game reserve. I have also experienced three robberies from my hotel room, but that isn’t going to curb my long-term goals in South Africa.

Crime is an issue that needs to be tackled in a much larger forum than this. However, I will go as far as saying that when there is a high polarity between the haves and the have-nots, there will always be tension between the two camps and crime is the byproduct.

Closing the gap is the wisest strategy and this cannot be done through entitlement. Entitled people generally don’t feel purposeful and are therefore not creating their own lives.

Education and mentoring, which translates into self-worth and true empowerment, is the only solution. I also believe that newspapers could play a massive role and be the hero in changing perceptions as they reach the masses. Their actions could even transform the government.

If you decide to stay and fight for your birthplace then you need to go from victim to victor mentality. Make the South African mantra: “I will stay and help build a great nation.” And remember, if you become grateful for what you have, you will get more to be grateful for.


This article was originally published on page 9 of The Mercury on February 08, 2008


  • Is this a wind-up Big Fish?

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.02.08 11:42:50 by Vinnie Reply
  • This is a very good article. Out of crisis emerge leaders. Out of problems come solutions.

    In fact the best solutions come from necessity, not desire.

    (But I am still planning my exit route, just in case…)

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.02.08 11:43:53 by hellbent Reply

  • lol HB!

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.02.08 12:46:45 by Vinnie Reply
  • Coming to join us, hb?

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.02.08 12:53:16 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I love it here, but even a rat deserts a sinking ship, so who knows?

    You not answering my emails?

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.02.08 13:51:22 by hellbent Reply

  • afternoon evrybody….
    interesting article, some very good points but as HB implies, south africans with the ability/opportunity to leave would be just plain stupid not to ignore all their options !
    I love SA, its certainly not sunk yet, but who knows what the future holds so plan while you can I say !

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.02.08 13:54:39 by Kitten Reply
  • I’m in a meeting!

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.02.08 14:53:43 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • This is a very interesting and enjoyable one for me. OK I am lucky enough to stay in a town just rated as the safest in SA for children, a town that have over 40 schools and three of the strongest schools in SA Top10 rugbywise, Boishaai, Gimmies & Landbou and also a town where you wont feel out of place when get to heaven one day because of our scenery. Its also the town where Afrikaans were born and currently Gimmies celebrating their 150 years. So really I have heaven on earth. Now in summer we hit the 40 degrees regalurly and me and my family sleeps every night outside beside the swimming pool under the stars. I tell myself every day, why would I change this for anything else?

    I have a good job , but the kids wont have this. So I honestly motivate them to move abroad, widen their horizon. They dont have the 2 year army like we had as young men.

    I am fortunate to live in a town like Paarl and have 3 kids, 2 still in school and I tell them everyday how fortunate they are.

    I’ll defnitely rethink my options the day my kids have a harder life then what I experiense as a kid.

    The Escom farce, well I try to use it positive, burning kerse reminds me of my childhood and reading the Bible under kerslig will stick with my kids forever, so sleeping under the stars and of course eating Skaapboud and gebakte aartappels!

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.02.08 15:00:32 by PaarlBok Reply

  • PB
    It sounds like you certainly have it all worked out. Paarl truly does sound perfect !

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.02.08 15:17:27 by Kitten Reply
  • Myself experiense a week in the UK. The day the plane landed in SA I was in tears and glad to be back home.

    Simple things like a braairooster, a BlackPot, driving with your car to any place.

    Honestly living in London feel like a sheep in a kraal.

    Nay will die a Springbok supporter and a South African and buried in south african soil!

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.02.08 15:34:43 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Just want to come back to this one. Like I said previously some good rugby schools in this area. Not only do you get your Sharks and Bulls scouts poaching talent, the new one is from down under.

    Just heard that a talented first XV fryhalf from Paarl Boishaai got a Canterbury contract to join their youth teams once finish school here. He is still in grade 10 and two years to go!

    Paarls Gim lost a very good prop to Aus, Queensland. His parents went there last year and he made the Aus A schoolboy team and only in grade 11. Luckily he came back to Gim this year to be part of our 150 year first XV.

    So this is on the cards these days. These kids followed some special programs from U14 and its like the world is open to them these days.

    Boishaai & Gimmies have 20 + rugby teams , so to make it to the top is not easy. Think its difficulter to make the U18A team then to play SA Schools!

  • Comment 11, posted at 10.02.08 19:22:19 by PaarlBok Reply

  • well – there’s more talent coming through than we can realistically expect to utilise in SA anyway, right? Maybe we must accept that we’re destined to be a nett exporter of rugby talent?

  • Comment 12, posted at 10.02.08 19:24:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Heart broken if a kid in grade 10 and two years to go heading to NZ, maybe the next Daniel Carter?

  • Comment 13, posted at 10.02.08 19:29:05 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Had a talk with Nick Mallet a week before he started his duties in Italy. He said the amount of talent you get from these parts is unique in the world. He attend a Big Brag before a interschools match and said he wish the politician can do the same. Just to get a feel about rugby tradition, history and culture. Himself a Bishopper and soutie, said he never endure something similair in his life and now understands more about these Afrikaans schools.

  • Comment 14, posted at 10.02.08 19:33:01 by PaarlBok Reply

  • PB – I maintain that given equal quality raw material, the New Zealand trained player will always go further, due to the quality of the coaching and specialist attention they receive. That said, the naturally-talented std 8 flyhalf that goes to NZ and goes through the academy is system is more likely to turn into a world class player than the guy who stays here. So we always bemoan the world beaters that we have given away, neglecting the fact that they may not have turned out so good had they stayed.

    Just my take on it, anyway. I agree that it’s heartbreaking to see any promising youngsters leave.

  • Comment 15, posted at 10.02.08 19:35:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I think we have come a long way now. WP have their academy running from last year at Stellenbosch (Mallets brain child and we reap immediate rewards last year in the youth compos), Cheetahs started theirs this year and that talented Grey team of 2007 starting there (Kleynhans brain child and sponsored by Absa, remember the Ebersons twins?), Pukke , Bulle, Sharks and even one in Boland, Alan Zondachs one at Riebeek West. This is were we lack in the past, but we catching up quick and every single province should have this!

    We have the Vodacum Cup and this Varsity compo which is unique to NZ & Aus. Aus cant even maintain a CC compo!

  • Comment 16, posted at 10.02.08 19:42:26 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Fish,
    interesting article, he makes some good points, there’s alot of positivity, hopefully it all goes well.

    one thing he does not touch on tho. criticism.

    every healthy democracy has this, since it balances.
    all the goodwill in the world wont count for anything if you do not examine very carefully the policies that will determine whether the country is a success or a failure. quite simply i refer to transformation, which is a race reservation policy based purely on skin colour.

    while some might argue there is a need for it and other might argue thats its just desserts, it remains a race reservation policy and its policies like these that make ppl the most worried. One has to ask is the benefit to the country as a whole justified.

  • Comment 17, posted at 10.02.08 19:47:47 by cab Reply

  • nice pic, cabman! Welcome here.

    PB, you are right. We are catching up. Let’s hope we manage to stem the tide.

  • Comment 18, posted at 10.02.08 19:49:46 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • cheers Rob

  • Comment 19, posted at 10.02.08 19:52:34 by cab Reply

  • While typing on here I heard CartBlanche have the outflow of people from SA. Worrying is the amount of younger people and not old timers like me!

    I have two sons and very sportive and if I’ll motivate them to go. Having went through the painfull experiense of a provincial playing hockey player son. Going through the pain of making the final trials and to lose out at U14 & U16 final teams. Was very happy he make it at U18 level tho.

    This turn our boys into racists and make the underpreviledge coloured players not feeling worth of the team.

  • Comment 20, posted at 10.02.08 19:54:20 by PaarlBok Reply

  • PB – I myself left SA almost a year ago, so I can’t really comment. Let’s just say I’m living in a fool’s paradise that believes that the wider problems in the country will have no impact on rugby.

    Rugby is my passion and my love. I don’t like to let politics interfere with that, even if it means intentionality closing my eyes to the truth, at times.

    “One more good season for the Sharks”… that’s pretty much my mantra.

  • Comment 21, posted at 10.02.08 20:22:29 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Hey guys, Im sorry i couldnt join the discussion earlier, but was very busy.

    I found the article very interesting as a comment on how our perception affects our attitude.

    The author was looking at things that we all see and just putting a slightly different spin on things, and suddenly one wonders if maybe we sometimes close our eyes to possibilities cos of we are distracted by the negatives in a situation.

    Cab, Transformation isnt the only questionable policy of this government, and after reading the article. it just struck home to me even more that EVERY government has questionable policy to a lesser or larger extent – so while I most definitely agree with you on the need for a critical evaluation of politicians and the need for a strong opposition, the points in the article are about individual, not public perception or development.

    The creed off hope would be an interesting article – it was one of the central tenets of White’s tenure, and it does seem to be crucial to PDV too. Maybe an article needs to be written about that.

  • Comment 22, posted at 11.02.08 08:38:09 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish

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