Friday, August 11, 2017

Change - Friend or Foe

The period between March and Now has flown past me such that i cannot really give a satisfactory account of how i lived through it. Mainly because of my migration (once again) from South Africa to the United Kingdom, the settling period has proved to be much longer and difficult than i have previously thought. Here i am thinking i was the Plan-for-worst-case-scenario Kind of guy. it really has been a hectic change, coming from an African country, to a 1st world country.

Now before you all get excited about my pet Lion and the Giraffe i rode to work, let me just clarify this, South Africa is probably as advanced as the United Kingdom, and after spending 10 years in that country, It has become a part of me. with all the things about it that I love and hate, i can safely say that I am a part of it and i am today what and who i am because of South Africa. the change i felt when i first moved there in 2007, everything so foreign and not having a clue of my North to my South, every single street looking exactly the same as the previous , was exactly the same position i found myself in when i arrived in London. The Change was Foe.

I remember trying to phone my sister at Heathrow and not having any coins to put in the public phones which have long stopped working in Johanneburg. so i walked into a small shop to buy a drink as an excuse to get the coins i needed. I got my drink but i was all alone with noone to assist me. How can the shopkeeper be so reckless to leave the store unattended. what if someone steals. i mean, things get stolen back home with a number of security measures in place including security personnel and CCTV cameras. surely the British (a term noone likes, people prefer being reffered to as English, Scottish or Welsh) are not serious about their security. An old man (many of them around here) noticed my confusion and introced me to the self service terminal for the first time in my life, a grown man only discovering this in 2017. so you must be wondering why i then say South Africa is as developed as the UK? Dont ask, just take my word for it. Change is still Foe.

A week into my stay, i kept sleeping at midnight because it was not dark outside. Difficult to comprehend this new Cycle, because hey, when we say goodnight, it must be dark outside. well clearly not here. but the beauty of it was being able to go shopping at Tesco or sainsbury's late at night, using your mobile phone with very little chance of being held at gunpoint and walking back home without your wallet as well. being able to walk with my daughter and seeing other kids on their scooters, happily enjoying life and being respected by motorists at every pedestrian crossing. Now that was a sight. one sure way to die in Johannesburg is to try and cross the road on a Zebra crossing thinking cars will stop. nonetheless, the Change was becoming Friend.

In no time i had found a Job and derogatory terms and titles for Jobs that still exist in Africa are not here at all. I remember asking if there was a 'General worker' only to be corrected that he was the 'Yardman'. I asked why one of my managers was 73 years old and still working. at 65 you must be forced out of your Job. little did i know that there was coming a mini lecture on Age discrimination. however, once that lecture was done, my eyes got opened, and i saw clearer how the Physical technological objects in South Africa were the same as those in the UK, but the system and concepts and mentality that are still in place, need a complete make-over. Change remained a Friend.

They say im still happy because its summer, once winter comes i will miss home and hate London. well, i will judge for myself when the time comes, but its been a beautiful settling in time, and I hope i will remain in good books with my newly found friend- Change.