Home or abroad?
By Drishal Moodley, 20, Gauteng
From a very young age I was always in awe with our country and its beauty, land, diversity, and culture – and as cliché as that sounds, that passion and love for my country has guided me. From my high school days, I have been an avid accounting geek and that continued with me until I finished school, I always dreamed of being this “big city” accountant and living this corporate world life. And when it came to that time of choosing my career, I asked myself “How does being an accountant fulfil my dream of living a life of service to South Africa uniquely?” and oddly enough I could not answer that question. And this is no insult to those pursuing a career in accounting, it reflects my encounter with a career choice.
Four years later, I find myself falling more and more in love with my country (as hard as it is) and also on the path to becoming a teacher. Yes, a teacher! Why? Because that is an avenue, I saw most effective to live my life of service to our beloved country. It took a lot of laughs from people remarking “You, a teacher, you have to be kidding me?” or remarks like “so you willing to be poor for the rest of your life?”, but amidst all of that because of my great call of passion to education and the role of a teacher – I am feeling ever grateful for me making that choice of choosing this career.
The power of pursuing your passion is paramount.
And while my call is to remain in the country to see out a better future for the future generations of South Africans, others’ call and choice might not be the same.
South Africa in terms of its “reputation” and current state is at a low and continually disheartening that it takes only a few individuals to take away from our beautiful and bespoke land. So it is inevitable that I find myself in conversations with family and friends whereby the topic loos around “Where do you want to immigrate to?” or advice from people saying “I think now is the time for you to look at overseas as an option?”. But because of that strong call to my country – I could never let that sit well on my chest.
And while my call is to remain in the country to see out a better future for the future generations of South Africans, others call and choice might not be the same
Something all South Africans have in common is a “South African Story” to tell – some good stories and some not so good stories. Foreigners would love to hear stories of how we ride on a lion to school every morning because we are from Africa – but when they hear the stories of Zozibini Tunzi, Siya Kolisi and so many other South Africans – they are still in awe and still as shocked as they would have been if they had to hear the lion story.
But a lot more foreigners and overseas cooperations are hearing our South African stories because of the growing number of South African emigrants that the world is gaining outside of us. And although its amazing that they are hearing our stories and sharing in our journeys, South Africa and its people are losing chapters of its own stories that it could have shared in, had those people decided to stay.
And the reason for me writing this is to hear from others what their feel and take is on whether to stay in our country? Which becomes less and less hopeful as the day goes on with social ills such as gender-based violence, theft, poverty and corruption or take the option to make their “home” elsewhere around the world which may also face their own “social ills” but are seen as a more viable place to journey through and find opportunities.
Another interesting point is that if you are a graduate with a professional qualification or a professional and accredited skill and decided to work overseas, you are then considered an “expat”. And as of 1 March 2020, “South African residents who spend more than 183 days in employment outside the country will be subject to South African taxation on any foreign employment income that exceeds R1 million,” Treasury says.
So what’s your take on whether to live and see out a South African dream or to take that dream to other corners of the earth? And what is your opinion on the expat tax that came into effect recently ?
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