A f r i c a n
P r o f e s s i o n a l s
B e y o n d
B o r d e r s
Nkandu Award-winning journalist now Communications Head – NEPAD
Kojo Baffoe The Real Destiny Man
Nigerian Daughters Society Obaasima Ghanaian Women’s Club
Inside SA Home Affairs • Zambia Ambassador Chikonde • The Making of Miss Uganda SA • Letter from France • Jobs in Africa - backpage! 9 772218 757007
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w w w. ex p a t ri a t e . c o. z a
Inside Home Affairs: The beginning of the end of the immigration practitioner
Maureen Nkandu - Award-winning journalist now Head - NEPAD Communications
Kojo Baffoe - The real Destiny Man
Nyinam - Daughters of the lake
26 Dr. Funmi Umunna - President of Nigerian Daughters Society 29
Making the last goodbye easier
Obaasima Ghanaian Women’s Social Club
Diasporan Darlings - We write what we like!
35 Senkubuge: The Double-edged sword of the South African Dream 36
Stella Nankya - The Making of Miss Uganda SA
Zambian High Commissioner H.E. Chikonde
SA’s Achiever Female 20-Something Expats’
Expat-travel - Expatriate in France
Kirsten Jensen - Park Inn GM Bitten by the African Bug
Hanging on with Hannington - Relationships 101
The Last Word - Is Helen Zille’s Cape Town Racist?
Jobs in Africa
NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
THINK LIKE A MAN He has been married for many years and as an evidently social guy, he has been around different types of men which provides useful insight to how they think. I attended a wedding a few weeks ago where a man of a similar age delivered a speech aimed at advising the newly-wedded husband which had a number of similarities to what Harvey has to say. Ladies can also learn a lot from this amazing revelation to man-like thought particularly when it comes to relationships.
t the time of writing this note, my partner and I had just been to the local cinema hall to witness the much anticipated SA premier of the movie “Think Like A Man”. The 90 minute presentation is based on Steve Harvey’s bestselling book “Act like a lady, think like a man” which I have read... twice....so far. I am not a big fan of his form of comedy so it was surprising that both book and film drained tears of humour from my eyes. The movie is as much a must see as the book is a must read for both men and women. I like the fact that both capture the experiences of the author and his observant nature provides lessons for both sexes. Women get to understand why men behave the way they do while men can learn something from an old head who is much more than a comedian.
Away from relationships but still speaking of ladies, it is by design that I write the foreword this time round. This is the ladies issue, dominated by the voices of our marvellous gender (plus some eye-candy in Kojo Baffoe). I find it quite inspiring that this time round our pages are taken over by women who are doing wonderful things in business, in their profession and in each of their particular spheres of endeavour. And in many of the groups we feature, it is also touching that we still embrace our innate tendency to care for those less fortunate. Whether you are a man or a woman who thinks like one or neither…. this issue celebrates women. Enjoy!
Carol Malonza, Director
Publisher: The Expatriate Forum and Magazine (Pty) Limited Reg. Number: 2010/012428/07 P O Box 4935, Randburg, 2125 Tel: +27 11 7917484 www.expatriate.co.za Director: Carol Malonza – email@example.com Managing Editor: KC Rottok – firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor and Content Advisor: Leah Maina – email@example.com Publishing Executive: Sheila Lynn Senkubuge Advertising and Event Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org or 0822146421 Edition Writers: Keith Kundai, Hannington Kasirye, Yaw Peprah, Andreas Krensel, KC Rottok, Sheila Senkubuge, Carol Malonza Contributor: Vimbai Gwata, Mukuka Mayuka, Hesta van der Westhuizen, Adanma Yisa and Leabiloe Molapo Art Direction, Design and Layout: Mike Obrien email@example.com Photography: Mzu Nhlabati www.creativenation.co.za Website: Drutech Media (0781121311) All rights reserved. Excerpts may be used as long as this magazine is credited as the source. Longer versions of our content may only be used with the written permission of the Publisher. Neither the publisher nor the editor accept responsibility for any of the information from edition writers or contributors. Whilst we have taken care in preparing this publication, the publisher/editor does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. The editor retains the right to edit all contributions. Advertisers are responsible for their material. © Expatriate SA 2012: ISSN 2218 – 757X
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Inside Home Affairs
The beginning of the end of the Immigration Practitioner
”Immigration representatives were barred from entering the Home Affairs office...” ince the last issue, we have noted that the processing times for temporary residence permits are being reduced significantly from approximately100 days during 2011 to between 30 and 45 days currently. So, the turnaround at the hub seems to have started delivering what was promised. Unfortunately this is not the case for permanent residence applications whose processing times are actually getting longer again. After that mixed piece of news, I wish to share with you a practical incident that recently occurred at the Home Affairs office in Cape Town. For some immigration representatives, April 3rd 2012 started as a normal day while waiting for the Department of Home Affairs Cape Town to open its doors in order to make their daily application submissions. This day turned out to be one of their more difficult ones as they were advised they could not do their jobs or even enter the building for that matter. Most immigration practitioners (IP’s) make use of representatives to submit and follow up on permit applications on their behalf. Apparently the Cape Town Home Affairs office and other branches had received a directive from Pretoria to only allow into their offices either the applicants themselves or practitioners who hold power of attorney on applications. A number of attorneys met to discuss this urgent issue and forced Home Affairs to open its doors to their representatives again.
In my view, this directive was unlawful for the following reasons: • No practitioner, attorney or advocate was consulted about this action. It was therefore an unfair administrative process. • It physically barred the representative from entering a public / government building. • Section 46(1) of the Immigration Act states “No one other than attorney, advocate or IP may conduct the trade of representing another person in the proceedings or procedures flowing from the Act”. The messenger is not conducting the trade as this is done in the office where applications are prepared and signed off by that power of attorney holder. The clerk or messenger is merely delivering documents.
basic knowledge of immigration law. The reason for the Departments critical view of IP’s is not really clear to me. On the contrary, there are perfectly good reasons to have them there including professionally prepared applications that make the processing of the applications more efficient and shorter queues at Department offices. Perhaps one major reason why the Department is mistrustful of IP’s is that those in the Department see themselves as working for a security organization as opposed to a service-oriented institution meant to assist the public. It is therefore quite possible that, as they are security minded, they do not like to be held accountable for their performance which IP’s frequently do. Andreas Krensel is the owner and managing
So, what do these actions mean? First, in my humble opinion, a very ill advised person within Home Affairs came up with this notice. It shows that there are no checks and balances within the Department before such illegal notices are made public. It also shows that some very senior employees of the Department are not adhering to basic administrative law. Secondly, it indicates that the Department considers IP’s a thorn in their side rather than a useful help. The Immigration Amendment Act will abolish the profession of an IP. They would prefer to deal with the public only and not with professional people who are governed by a code of conduct and a requirement to take an entrance exam in order to ensure
director of IBN Consulting in Cape Town. He is a qualified German attorney with an LLM from UCT and has been assisting foreign investors in South Africa for the past ten years. www. ibncapetown.com
1 – Henry Kihara of Atnet receives the prize for etiquette from Expatriate’s Sheila Senkubuge. 2 – Mrs Susan Githae left receives a half day spa treatment from Ethnique Designs for winning the female golfer competition. 3 – Grace Mlimo (left), Fortune Gowera (in blue) and Zakithi Ndwalane (in red) present Charles Mwaura with the prizes for the overall winner: a leather Callaway golf bag from Kenya Airways, two nights for two at the Park Inn Hotel, a gift hamper and trophy. 4 – Godfrey Chipangura (left) receives a Callaway golf bag for winning one of the closest to the pin competitions. 5 – Park Inn Hole. 6 – Reverend Elias Ndeda (left) receives designer blue tooth sun-glasses for winning the longest drive competition. 7 – Stuck in a bunker. 8 – Andrew Kakai (left) of the Gym Group presents Godfrey Kamatu of One World Hospitality with the prize for the longest day. 9 – John Njonde of Pinagare Engineers (left) presents Charles Thiongo with a Nike duffel bag for being the runner-up on the first nine holes. 10 – Obert Likhwide (left) collects a Nike golf bag on behalf of his Computek colleague Duncan Mcmurray who was achieved the highest number of points on the first nine holes. 11 – Obert Likhwide receives the overall runner up prize of a weekend for 6 in the Drakensberg on behalf of Duncan Mcmurray. 12 – Tinashe Madhumera of BSF International (right) presents the winner of the third place on the first nine holes, Mike Phetoane with a golf barbeque set. 13 – Carting away. 14 – Morne Pienaar of RSM Betty and Dickson presents Mrs. Susan Githae with a bucket of gifts for achieving third position on the second nine holes. 15 – Business card raffle winner Lucas Molobya (left) receives a Cleveland putter. 16 – Chris Mburu (right) of Tectura Architects presents Elias Ndeda with a Nike duffel bag for winning the runner-up position on the second nine holes. 17 – Moloko/Akani Hole. 18 – Charles Mwaura (centre) receives a 52 degree wedge for winning the second nine holes. 19 – Mpho Moerane (right) receives a gift set for winning one of the closest to the pin competitions.
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More pics available at www.facebook.com/expatmag More pics available at www.facebook.com/expatmag
11 09 11
GHANA 55TH INDEPENDENCE DINNER AND DANCE, JOHANNESBURG
05 02 03
1 – Musician Thembi Seete left and her companion arriving for the event. 2 – Mr. Aaron Munetsi (SAA Africa manager) with his wife arriving for the event. 3 – Actor Mpho Osei-Tutu with wife Tumi. 4 – Ladies dressed to kill. 5 – Event MC Turas. 6 – Event entertainment
More pics available at www.facebook.com/expatmag
GHANA 55TH INDEPENDENCE DINNER AND DANCE, JOHANNESBURG
01 05 04
1 – Obaasima Chairlady Ophelia Akosah-Bempah. 2 – Message from sponsors ABSA. 3 – Message from Expatriate Magazine editor KC Rottok. 4 – Message from Deputy High Commissioner Parker Allotey. 5 – Debbie Chinah Collins takes part in the fashion show. 6 – Event After party
More pics available at www.facebook.com/expatmag
Zambia Afcon Victory Party, Pretoria
02 1 – Ambassador Muyeba Chikonde. 2 – Musician Dalisoul. 3 – ZASA Chair Edwin Mwitumwa. 12
Zimbabwe Business Network (ZBN) Cocktail
RADIANT FUNCTIONS Where your party dreams come true!
â€œWithout mincing my words, I see myself in the highest office on the land, be it nationally in Zambia or in an international organisation. I think I could really effect change given what I have experienced and seen as a woman reporter from Africa.....â€? 14
Zambia’s Maureen Nkandu – Award winning journalist now Head of Communications at NEPAD t’s 1998 in the outskirts of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The commandant, who is now heavily intoxicated with drugs and cheap liquor, grabs Maureen Nkandu by the arm and tells her that he is ready to have a ‘good time’ with her. Victor, the cameraman, is in tears. He pleads with their aggressor to let her go claiming that Maureen has a terrible disease that makes her shake and sweat all the time. Miraculously, he backs down but minutes later they are locked up in a damp dark cell littered with human faeces. “I was working for the SABC and had gone to interview Laurent Kabila at the height of the civil war following a rebellion in the east,” Maureen recalls as we sit poolside at her Sunninghill residence. “We happened to catch on camera some of his security forces beating up innocent people which is what landed us in trouble.” That evening, the SABC reported on the evening news that its crew was missing in Kinshasa. Shortly after, the BBC picked up the story and before long, it became international news which led to their eventual release and repatriation. Maureen’s love for broadcast
media began at a young age. She was influenced by her father Faxon Nkandu, former News Editor of the Times of Zambia, and one of very few African journalists to cover the Vietnam War. Out of all of his children, she was the one who showed the most interest in his work. She was nicknamed a reporter both at home and at school because she frequently told on her peers and siblings whenever they did something wrong. At age 11, Maureen read a speech on behalf of
all Commonwealth children to the Queen of England and other British and Zambian government leaders at the Commonwealth summit Lusaka. “I knew from the very beginning that this is what I wanted to do. I remember walking into the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and pleading for a job. I was 17, fresh out of high school and they said they couldn’t hire me given my age and inexperience but my persistence convinced them to put
me in a pool of about ten candidates. All the others at the interview were journalism college graduates who laughed off my chances. Little did they know that I had been practising for this in front of the mirror for five years and they were all stunned when I got the job.” Maureen began as a continuity presenter at the station all the while begging her bosses to let her do the news which was the preserve of ‘the veterans’ at the station. Then one day the news presenter did not show up on time and she asked them to let her read the news which they reluctantly allowed her to. “It was a big deal. The news was watched by virtually everyone in the country including P r e s i d e n t Kaunda. When I concluded the take, my director was ecstatic with my performance!” Having noticed her evident talent, the station invested in Maureen by sending her for formal training. Meanwhile, she had met and got engaged to arguably Zambia’s most famous footballer of all time Kalusha Bwalya who was based in Belgium at that time. “Together we had a daughter but our relationship did not last
long. I was in my teens and he was 23; we were young and all the public attention also put a strain on us. But we remain good friends today and he is a wonderful father to our daughter,” she smiles. In the early nineties, the time came for Maureen to take her career beyond borders with a move to BOP TV in the former Bophutatswana in South Africa. After a very short stint at the station, she headed to the University of Wales to pursue a Masters Degree in Journalism. Afterwards she travelled around Europe, doing freelance work for Radio Netherlands International and later lecturing part time at the Danish School of Journalism. “On completing my studies I joined the public relations department at MNET and did some field reporting for Carte Blanche. In
1997 I joined the SABC where I used to read the 5p.m. news and later became quite involved in covering stories on the rest of the African continent.” While in Zambia and at BOP, Maureen had won various journalism awards and her fearless reporting at the SABC attracted more praise and recognition. The BBC Africa Service noticed her work and offered her a position as presenter and producer of the flagship Focus on Africa programme. She returned to South Africa in 2007, citing fatigue from the western lifestyle. “I felt that I had a greater role to play on my continent by being here and not in London.” Maureen returned to the SABC,
when she reported on the volatile elections in Kenya in December 2007. She brought out the key political and social aspects of the tension in Kenya, while also showcasing how the violence and all the flawed processes impacted on the people there. She then decided it was time to hang up the notebook and microphone and took up a senior position at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as communications adviser for east and southern Africa, a role she served in until May 2012 when she joined the NEPAD Agency of the African Union as Head of Communications. “I enjoy living in South Africa because it is a mixed basket of life. The diversity is amazing and a great lesson to the rest of the world on how so many different people can co-exist. The cosmopolitan place that Johannesburg is makes it a great city, although there are still a lot of challenges to overcome. I travel regularly to Zambia for work and to visit my family.” In spite of having interviewed many influential individuals including sitting African presidents, her hallmarks were when the stories she brought to the fore had resonance, when they had an impact on people’s lives and the information that she reported helped them make better decisions. She believes this is still the case with her communications responsibilities at international organisations.
That is God’s great plan for me. Without mincing my words, I see myself in the highest office on the land, be it nationally in Zambia or in an international organisation. I am keen on servant leadership and not the prestige of these positions. I think I could really effect change, being an African woman who has travelled and lived around the world and has had firsthand experience in issues of poverty, under-development, human rights violations, prejudice, opulence and dictatorship. I believe I have a greater understanding of the fundamental issues to serve at the highest level of leadership.” Maureen confesses that she has a few profound regrets which she will reveal in a book about her life that she hopes to pen at the appropriate moment. - KC ROTTOK
“I left the BBC because I felt that I had a greater role to play on my continent....”
“I have been blessed all my life to achieve that which I set out for.
THE REAL DESTINY MAN “I describe myself as a half Ghanaian, half German writer from Lesotho..” wonder why I am writing this profile of my opposite number at a competitor’s publication when there are two fantastic reasons not to. First, it gives free publicity to that publication and second, it is an uncomfortable feeling to visualise him reading this piece like a barber who has just received a haircut. Having said that, not many expats have close to ten thousand twitter followers and after listening to his poem at Ghanafest 2011, I decided that his writing talent was certainly worth profiling.
“My father was an academic who always said that if something is bothering you, write it down,” Kojo who recently turned 40 explains. “I learnt from an early age the art of putting on paper what is in your head in a manner that conveys to the reader the exact picture you have in mind. My writing was developed by assisting my dad with research assignments and later, writing a column in a weekly newspaper he founded in Lesotho. It takes a lot of practice, just like a sprinter who is born with athletic talent needs to put
in hours of training. It is good to be paid to do what you love, but like any other job there are pressures such as deadlines which can occasionally inhibit your creativity.” Baffoe Senior left Ghana in the 1960’s for Germany where he met and married Kojo’s mother. They later moved to Uganda where Kojo’s father lectured at the University of Makerere. Unfortunately his mother passed away in Uganda and they relocated to Lesotho soon after.
“I grew up in Lesotho which is an oasis in the middle of South Africa. My father was good friends with the likes of Chris Hani and for a long time we were essentially banned from the country and so my early memories of SA are limited to the connecting flights from the then Jan Smuts airport.” Kojo studied at the international school in Maseru and was admitted into the then University of Natal to pursue Economics. He recalls that university was his first encounter with the term “coloured”. “Given this country’s history, there seems to be a need to box people and nine out of ten times matters such as one’s race or origin seem to be the primary classification criteria when it comes to the identification of self. One university administrator kept changing the tick box on my annual intake form from “black” to “coloured”. I got fed up with this and in my third year I took her a picture of my extended family and asked her what colour she thought my father and step-siblings were.” Part of Kojo’s university days were spent training as an athlete and twice he run for the Lesotho national team. But as fate would have it, he injured a blood vessel in his final year which not only ended his Olympic dream but also left him walking with a slight limp for the rest of his life. Other than a career as a sprinter, Kojo has been an entrepreneur having cofounded an IT consulting company, a model when he worked for a designer friend called Duvall and a booker for
an acting agency. “These were times when money was scarce and you applied yourself to all manner of things to make ends meet. I am a big believer in the fact that the experiences you go through can either be positive or negative depending on how you approach them. I always seem to have a story for everything now.” It was during these “broke times” that Kojo met his South African wife Estelle who runs her own project management company. Together they have two children; son Kweku who is four and daughter Ayanna who is two. He has tattooed their names on his body in an old German font along with a few traditional Ghanaian symbols. “I met my wife in a club; she doesn’t like it when I tell people that!” he says with a wry smile. “Unlike me, she doesn’t mind being referred to as coloured. The day my son was born, I figured out what my purpose in life was. I am a link in a chain that began with my forefathers in Ghana and the best legacy I can create is for my son to be saying 30 years from now that I created a great platform for him like I am now saying about my father.” Before becoming the editor of Destiny Man magazine in August 2010, Kojo did the rounds in the SA media industry. He wrote scripts for TV producer Pepsi Pokane’s shows including Afro Cafe and Zwahashu. He was the editor of a black men’s lifestyle publication and also
travelled around the world to do poetry shows. Kojo visited Ghana for the first time since childhood in 2009 to assist his father with a business venture. “I describe myself as a half Ghanaian, half German writer from Lesotho. I related very closely to an article I read in The Expatriate by Sheila Senkubuge titled “Citizens of the world” which spoke of her experiences as a child of the Diaspora. I feel it is more difficult as an African expatriate than any other foreigner in South Africa. Because of my complexion many assume I was born here and I sometimes get to hear what some South Africans really think of us.” Kojo is currently seeing a life coach who he says assists in many things including work life balance. He believes he has one great African novel in him and has a gentleman’s agreement with a publisher to see it through. He concludes by answering my question on what the future holds. “I am not concerned about becoming a millionaire, as long as I can have a happy and well taken care of family and as long as whatever job I hold allows me to keep writing. With just these two things, that’s my destiny as a man fulfilled.” - KC ROTTOK
A FRESH Approach
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ladys Bogoshi was born in Atteridgeville Pretoria where she grew up. She obtained her undergraduate degree in physiotherapy from the Medical University of South Africa and her Masters degree in the same field from Wits. She worked at various Gauteng hospitals before being appointed to the position of CEO at Helen Joseph Hospital in 2006. She manages an annual budget of over half a billion rand and is responsible for over 1700 members of staff who hail from different countries, a task she undoubtedly finds challenging. “It is even more difficult as a black woman responsible for a hospital that was historically in a non-black area in male dominated Apartheid SA. It is a high pressure position where you are on call 247. I rely on my managers; I tell them
that at this level it is not about your qualifications but rather about your people management skills,” Gladys said during our recent interview. The woman who holds Gladys’ position at Sandton based Tara Hospital is paediatrician Dr. Florence Otieno. She studied medicine in Kenya where she was born before moving to SA where she worked in various hospitals in Durban and Johannesburg before assuming her current role. “I also find the position demanding,” Florence revealed. “In fact when I took over the hospital in 2007, the employees were on strike. It was quite the baptism of fire for me as some of them appeared to believe that a foreigner could not understand their issues. But I have managed to rise above such challenges by sticking to the policies
and procedures that have been put in place for those in positions like mine.” Gladys and Florence became close friends when attending a Masters in Public Health course in 2008. Two years later, Florence’s daughter Sheila gave the two ladies a mother’s day gift of a lunch date at the Vaal Dam. While spending the day on a boat ride with two other friends Judy Odero and Vivian Mkumbuzi, they came up with the idea of doing something similar in East Africa. “We began researching the price of boats and were shocked to discover that even a second hand one costs over 3 million rand which was definitely out of our league!” Gladys laughed. “But we were a determined small group of women and a few weeks later we invited others to join us on a second trip to the Vaal.”
From Left: Gladys Bogoshi, Judy Seda, Alice Odhiambo, Millie Ogode, Judy Odero, Florence Buziba and V. Mkumbuzi
acumen in Kenya and SA, to create job opportunities for the community and alleviate poverty, to contribute to education development in Kenya and SA through the support of education centres and to promote self-development through innovation.
hosted a Golf Day at Killarney Golf Club in aid of De Poort School. Prior to that they had, in December 2011, held a fund raising dinner in the Lake Victoria town of Kisumu to raise funds for tables and chairs for an Early Childhood Development Centre in the town.
“Most of us hail from the Lake Victoria region in Kenya,” Seda explained, “and because our first meeting was at a dam we found the name appropriate.”
“In 2011, we hosted a mother’s day event at The Old Edwardian in Houghton,” Gladys recalled. “We enlisted Zanele Mathome to act as programme director; she is a young entrepreneur in the mining industry and the founder of Business for Change which supports poor schools such as De Poort in the Magalies area of SA.”
The group subsequently formulated five objectives; to promote the development of tourism opportunities in Kenya, to empower women by developing their business
The event was sold out and signified the formal launch of the club and they consequently decided to make their mother’s day event an annual affair. In May 2012, they
“We had over 200 people at the fund raising dinner which was sponsored in part by Kenya Airways,” Seda said. “We were keen to help that missionary school in Kisumu as we noticed that the kids were sitting on church benches for their classes. Through partnering with Zanele, we were also made aware of how we can help De Poort in SA. Other charity initiatives include our donation at Zanele’s charity birthday event last year and contributing funds to help those affected by the drought in Kenya.”
The trip resulted in the formation of a social club christened Nyinam which means “Daughters of the Lake” in Florence’s native tongue, Luo. The club consists of nine women from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya including Judy Seda who hosted Expatriate magazine during the conduct of this interview. Other members are Alice Odhiambo, Millie Ogode, Dr. Teresia Ogina and Florence Buziba.
Gladys Bogoshi Nyinam has registered an account with a South African bank as a stokvel. They contribute to the account and the funds are used for activities such as the registration of the Nyinam Foundation to run their charity initiatives which is currently
underway. They have registered an investment company in Kenya which they intend to use as a vehicle to pursue investments in the tourism and hospitality industry in the country. - KEITH KUNDAI
Dr. Florence Otieno
â€œMost of us hail from the Lake Victoria region in Kenya...â€?
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DR FUNMI UMUNNA President, Nigerian Daughters Society of SA
r. Funmi Umunna welcomes me to her practice on the second floor of Trinity Village in Honeydew. She is a soft spoken and motherly woman and I try to keep my questions brief as the waiting room begins to swell. Notwithstanding the clear evidence to her answer, I ask her how the practice is doing. “Very well,” she responds. “Other than a number of residents in this area, the students at the African Leadership Academy keep me very busy.” Funmi arrived in SA in 1999 when her husband Larry’s company relocated to Johannesburg from their native Nigeria. Despite the fact that she had been working as a paediatrician in Lagos, she found it difficult to work in SA, first because she was on a spousal permit and secondly due to the SA government’s agreement with other African countries that prevents the registration of their nationals as doctors in SA. “I joined Wits to study family medicine and completed my residency in 2004. I subsequently worked for the South Rand hospital for a year. It was an internship without pay but I enjoyed the experience. Thereafter I worked for a number of hospitals in Gauteng. Then three and a half years ago, I decided to open my own practice.” She sits back, clearly comfortable in her own space. She catches me looking at the framed family photo and pre-empts my next question. “Those are our children; daughters Ifeoma and Isioma and
son Lawrence Junior. They are quite happy living here although they also enjoy visits to Nigeria. We go there quite often due to family ties and my husband is doing a lot of work in West Africa for his company. They love getting spoilt by our family there but they sometimes battle with the dust.” I think to myself that they must find the two countries quite different. While on that topic, I ask her how she has handled the transition from Lagos to Johannesburg. “Moving to SA was difficult for me particularly due to the sudden loss of independence. From having a car and a regular job, I now had to contend with the status of an accompanying spouse everywhere I went. But my husband was very supportive. He paid for the many exams I needed to write to be registered locally and his company handled our permanent residency application,” she says. “How about the change from being an employee to running your own practice,” I ask. “I really enjoy it as family medicine is mainly preventative and I also get time to work at a local clinic. The residents here sometimes call in and enquire where I am from. They get sceptical about a Nigerian doctor particularly those whose children have had issues with drugs which they blame on my countrymen. But after becoming my patients, some even admit to me how pleasantly surprised they are by my work.”
A brief laugh leads us into her role as the President of the Nigerian Daughters Society. “The Society was founded by Biodun Ikomi in 2004 with the main objective of assisting expatriates from Nigeria, particularly women, in settling in the country. Since then the membership has grown to 16 members. We meet once a month to speak about different topics like personal finance, flower arrangement, cooking and sexology. We also do philanthropic work; a few years ago we went to the Johannesburg General Paediatric ward for Christmas to present the children there with gifts.” I glance at a document she has printed for me which lists other charitable initiatives the group has undertaken. They have donated to various homes including the Maria Klopper home in Yeoville and Ikholwa in Weltervreden Park. “We have actually adopted the toddler wing at Maria Klopper. Most of the patients there are poor children born to unmarried mothers. We also provided relief to the victims of the 2009 xenophobic violence. We periodically visit the children at Zandspruit Primary School to provide food and have conducted stationary drives to a school in Soweto. We have a debit order to assist a foster mother in Cosmo City and have joined hands with a female empowerment scheme in Midrand.” Touched by their efforts, I ask about the Society’s structure and how they have managed to
accomplish all these things. “We have a monthly contribution from members and have conducted auctions at some functions that we have organised. It is these funds that we use for charity. The group was registered as a nonprofit organisation last year and the requirements to join are quite simple. Members are all women who are either Nigerian or married to a Nigerian and they must also be legally resident in SA.” The document has the Society’s logo as its header and the list of executive committee members as its footer. Other than Umunna as president, the document lists Makungu Adenigba as the public relations officer, Chinee Benson-
Okoli as the treasurer, Fatima Sizwe as the general secretary and Toyin Oyekanmi as the vice president. “We elect the officials once every three years. It is our most significant meeting after our annual women’s function. We had our first one last year in August, which is women’s month, and it was very well attended. One of our members Mrs Tina Eboka who is a financial expert was the main speaker. We plan on having the same function this year either in August or late July.” The Society may be contacted through the email address – firstname.lastname@example.org - KC ROTTOK
Standing from Right to left: Chinee Benson-Okoli, Nogie Ayere, Abiola Animashaun, Fatima Sizwe, Sharon Odinwakpa. Seated from Right to Left: Funmi Umunna, Bukky Ogunrombi, Tosin Oyekanmi. Members not present: Makungu Adenigba, Sylvie Bapende Ngalula, Fatima Bintube, Sheila Charles, Masana Chikeka and Tumi Nwamadi.
MAKING THE LAST GOODBYE EASIER ne challenge one faces as an expatriate is to arrange one’s affairs in such a way that dying in one’s adopted country will not have serious negative financial implications. • Immediate expenses While the cost of a funeral in SA starts at about R12,000, burial costs for funerals outside the country also include fees for compulsory embalming, funeral directors in both countries, legal fees, and of course the cost of transporting the body as well as accompanying family members. Actions you can take The easiest way to make sure that there is money available for these expenses is with a funeral policy. As these are usually very expensive for the amount of cover you get, it is advisable to check with your employer whether your group risk cover includes a benefit for immediate expenses. A number of insurance companies also allow a beneficiary to draw a small advance on the deceased’s life policies. Confirm with your financial planner whether this is available on your risk policies. • Living expenses for dependents Most expatriates working for corporate entities in South Africa have the benefit of group risk cover as part of their employee benefits. You may also have additional life cover policies from an insurance company.
Even if the amount of cover is enough to provide for your family and replace your salary in the event of your death, your dependents could still be left destitute due to the time it takes for the policies to pay out. Retirement funds and life insurance companies could take up to 12 months to verify medical or police reports before they authorise the payment of the benefit as they are legally obliged to make sure they are paying the benefit to the people who are financially dependent on you. For example, if they are waiting for a forensic report in the event of a violent death, this could be as long as two years due to the backlog at forensic labs. Most insurance companies will only pay the money to a bank account in SA due to the restrictions of the Exchange Control Act making it difficult for non resident dependents. Actions you can take • Make sure the trustees of your retirement fund at all times have an updated list of who your dependents are – both here and in your home country. These include full names, ID/Passport numbers and contact numbers. • You could also structure your individual life cover policies in such a way that if you add an item such as accidental death cover to the policy, the company may pay out without asking for police reports in the event of a violent death. This will help your dependents with some money before the balance of your policies is paid out. • Make sure your will is up
to date so that there are no delays in the appointment of the executors. Even then, please note that it could take a few months before they can start working on the estate. The executors can however advance money to your dependents if there is sufficient money in the estate. They can also receive the pay-out on behalf of your beneficiaries from the life assurers should your beneficiaries not have a bank account in SA. They will then forward the payment to the beneficiary’s offshore account. • Finally, ensure that you have enough money in a savings account for your family to live on for a few months. Your best course of action will be to sit down with your financial planner and decide how best to provide for your family and sort out the practicalities in the event of any life-changing event. Hesta van der Westhuizen CFP® (BCom, Adv Post Grad diploma in Financial Planning Law) is a financial planner at Consolidated Financial Planning. www.consolidated.co.za
OBAASIMA GHANAIAN WOMEN’S SOCIAL CLUB embership of The Obaasima Ghanaian Club (the “Club”) comprises Ghanaian and other ladies affiliated to Ghanaians through marriage or other relationships who are resident in Johannesburg and its environs. The Club was formed on 2 February 2008 with the initial objective of providing a platform for socialising and networking amongst its members, the Ghanaian community, our host nation South Africa and nationals of other countries resident here. The Club also has a charitable arm through which it donated a theatre table and bed linen to the Swedru Hospital in Ghana. They aim to pursue more charitable causes in the coming years. Obaasima means fabulous or ideal woman in the Akan language of Ghana. It is the belief of the Club that life is essentially characterised by relationships. No human being can live a fulfilling life without relating to others, be it family, friends, colleagues at work and sometimes the stranger
we meet on the street. Remember, your bosom friend today, was a stranger yesterday. It is for this reason that the Club selected as its logo, the Ghanaian symbol “ese ne tekrema” which means the “the teeth and the tongue”. The symbol signifies the interdependent relationship between the teeth and the tongue; despite the occasional conflict between the two organs they remain indispensable to each other. As it is with the teeth and tongue, so it is with human beings, we need each other to make our lives a lot more fulfilling and worthwhile. This is despite our differences that sometimes result in conflict and misunderstandings. Each member is required to pay monthly membership dues of R100, participate in the activities of the Club to the best of her abilities and attend the Club’s meetings. The dues of Obaasima are used to run the Club and to assist members in times of need such as weddings or death of a close family member. Non-attendance of three consecutive
meetings without valid reasons is considered unacceptable conduct which could lead to expulsion. The affairs of the club are managed by a four-member executive committee comprising the following current office bearers: • President – Ophelia Akosah- Bempah • Organising Secretary – Cynthia Obeng • Treasurer – Gina Essah • Secretary – Vivian Darko According to the Club constitution, the executive committee is elected annually in October. New members are invited to join the Club; contact the president on her email address akosah.ophelia@ gmail.com Compiled from the Obaasima Ghana Independence Dinner Brochure and Club Constitution
2nd Annual Expatriate Dinner
Spring Day 01 September 2012, watch our website www.expatriate.co.za for details
DIASPORAN D A R L I N G S WE WRITE WHAT WE LIKE! “Our beginnings can be traced back to 2009 in cyberspace where we, Mukuka Mayuka (a Zambian in Australia) and Vimbai Gwata (a Zimbabwean in SA), happened upon each other’s respective blogs......” hen Steve Biko’s writing collection was re-published between 19782002 under the title “I write what I like”, the dream that is now www. diasporandarlings.com (“DD”) had yet to be conceived but its vision was
influenced. How did the founder of SA’s Black Consciousness movement affect the path of two female African bloggers residing in the diaspora? He believed that only by black people valuing themselves, their culture and their history would they gain real democracy and freedom. Post-
apartheid and after Biko’s death this message still came through via Thabo Mbeki’s famous 1994 “I am an African” speech which many perceived as the beginning of the African Renaissance, calling Africans to be aware and proud of their past, their present and their future.
DD essentially was born in the midst of this growing African renaissance. Our beginnings can be traced back to 2009 in cyberspace where we, Mukuka Mayuka (a Zambian in Australia) and Vimbai Gwata (a Zimbabwean in SA), happened upon each other’s respective blogs. Despite residing on different continents and time zones, what bonded us - and the small community of female African bloggers that we were a part of - was a deep-seated love for all things African coupled with our shared experiences of living outside our respective home countries which ranged from the humorous to the down-right nostalgic. We, like many others, were also tired of following stories of Africa being told by non-Africans. The stories that bathed our supposedly dark continent in a brighter light
rarely had a stage. We were inspired as Chimamnada Ngozi Adiche’s now famous Ted Talk reminded us of “The danger of a single story”. We felt that it was a call to arms to contribute to the rich tapestry of African stories and eliminate the unfair stereotypes that exist about Africa and Africans. DD was founded in late November 2010 over email and Blackberry Messenger. Each idea made us realise that we are not the only Africans in the Diaspora hankering for exciting African-related content. We tasked ourselves with shining a spotlight on the unique experiences of Africans in the Diaspora (and at home) and highlighting the opportunities and challenges facing Africans living outside their home countries. As active participants in the growing African diaspora blogosphere, we read blogs tinged with South African humour like that of ‘Mushy Peas on Toast’ owned by blogger turned published author, Laurien Clemence or caught up on Nigerian
celebrity news via Uche Eze’s ‘Bella Naija’ who went on to be featured on CNN Voices as a force in the Nigerian blogging world. All that was required was for us to read diverse African stories and not the single story narrative of a corrupt poverty stricken Africa. We followed the blog links on fellow bloggers that were like bread crumbs to a new Africa, where people have relationship dramas, career woes, fashion crises and life lessons. Africa was blissfully normal! This is an Africa where starvation is being discussed and solutions sought from an African perspective and based on African experiences. We have abandoned seeking out international TV networks and instead rely on bloggers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, SA or whichever respective country they may reside in to tell their story of what is going on in their home or host country. They are telling their stories and in turn challenging the single story that we have read about their respective
countries. Nigeria is no longer associated solely with 419 scams but also with upcoming fashion bloggers and afro-creatives. Zimbabwe is no longer a flailing economy with an aged president but a place where there are people still living and working as professionals with a keen political eye and wicked humour. People are writing what they like and changing their landscapes while doing it. Biko was right. Mbeki was right. A mental liberation is necessary. Where we as Africans see ourselves as worth more than what was told to us about us by others not privy to the culture, the language and the traditions of our land. Through blogging we become aware of ourselves, our history, the
possibilities of a better future and we are engaged in changing our present day because of it.
engages all Africans, especially those largely based in the Diaspora; and
In a nutshell our vision has grown from blogging about our everyday lives in the places we live in to a full blown website where we aim;
• To keep abreast of African events and activities while maintaining a pulse on what the rest of the world is doing.
• To produce appealing and informative content that will inspire and empower our readers; • To showcase and promote Africa’s untapped talent, ventures and successes from within Africa and the world at large;
• To create a social community and network that
Most importantly DD wants to inform, entertain and connect. Of course like Steve Biko before us, we hope to continue to ‘write what we like’ about the continent and the people that we love. This article was submitted by the authors at the request of The Expatriate SA magazine. It is not a paid promotional feature.
THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN DREAM “The irony is that people back home only saw the glamour of the SA lifestyle and never realised the rot that was festering beneath the opulence...” friend who arrived in SA a decade ago mentioned how fortunate he thought those of us whose families arrived nearly 30 years ago are. It was a fairly different country then; there was less crime and the laws pertaining to foreigners were more relaxed. He revealed that it was conversations with friends who arrived here in the eighties that had convinced him to move here. I found the view that ‘new expats’ have of us ‘older expats’ interesting. It is true that there were advantages but few people ever explore the dark side of the original SA expats. Perhaps this is ignored because it may spoil the illusion of the grass being greener. Yet the truth is many sacrifices were made and a high price was paid in the name of living “the Great South African Dream”. Many of those who arrived in the eighties were young professionals, some with young families while others only started their families once they arrived. They were from very conservative societies where there were strict rules and societal norms. I’ve often heard that some of the men had never even drank alcohol, simply because it was not an option they had ever considered back home. I wonder where it all went wrong for those who succumbed. Was it the excitement of being in a new country, a country where perhaps things considered unacceptable back home were considered the norm? Perhaps decisions made in the spur of the moment spiralled out of control and
ended up being life decisions. Either way, the disintegration of families began. Men who had wives waiting patiently for them back home took new wives in SA. Those who had never touched alcohol became drunkards and the ones with wives and children started running in the streets at night with the local girls, forgetting their responsibilities. The unmarried expat men became enablers providing them with venues for whatever activities they had planned. Expat women became breadwinners while their husbands squandered their earnings on flashy cars, women and beer. It is a heartbreaking story. These are women who left their homes and families and everything that was familiar to them, to travel with a husband to a foreign land, only to be betrayed, broken and battered. Their husbands shunned them because they were not “modern enough”. They didn’t wear trousers like the local women, or go drinking beer in pubs. The children sat silently, hearing their mothers cry in the night and watching their drunken fathers come staggering home. These moments would slowly entwine themselves into the developing character of the impressionable child.
wayward husbands. The irony of the entire situation is that people back home only saw the glamour of the SA lifestyle and never realised the rot that was festering beneath the opulence. Years go by and while some men learned their lessons and went back to their marriages, most followed their South African dream and substituted the wives they came with for locals. And the expat women? Our mothers, our aunts, our sisters… they are still here, beautiful strong powerful women. They smile because they are survivors, but the scars of what they have endured still remain, embedded deep into their souls. Because of the mistakes made by those before them, today’s expats know better. They don’t make the same mistakes, and for that we have the original expat men to thank. None is without sin but many original expat men caused so much pain and irreparable damage. Sad…but true. - SHEILA LYNN SENKUBUGE
The young women had no family with them here, and no community to support them by intervening to repair things in their marriages. All they had were their children, their careers and their
tella Nankya. No, she is not the winner of Miss Uganda SA, the event has not even happened yet. This diminutive good-looking lady from Kampala is actually the organiser of the occasion that is set to take over the Pretoria City Hall on Saturday the 23rd of June 2012. She sat with Expatriate magazine to tell us about herself and the event that she has invested so much time and effort in putting together.
and various products from our line are available on our website www. starqt.com Other than fashion we have other business lines including laser printing, a star qt magazine and events. We have hosted several “Face of Star QT” events in Uganda and Miss Uganda in SA will be a continuation of that legacy.
What is your background leading up to living and working in SA?
I had been planning to do it for a few years now but it took a while to get authorisation as Miss Uganda is a protected trademark. I am hoping to bring together Ugandans and showcase our talents to our countrymen and other Africans in SA. This will also be an opportunity to promote the Star QT brand. How did you decide on the date, timing and venue for the event? The date was determined by the fact that that was the earliest date I could book the Pretoria City Hall. I wanted to host it there for two reasons; first, I wanted to have it in SA’s capital city and secondly it is big enough to accommodate the over 500 attendees we expect to be there. Being held in the winter is an advantage in that most people who show up for the event will be covered up meaning all the attention will be on the contestants and the clothes we will be showcasing.
I first came to SA in 2005 on holiday and loved the country. I subsequently returned to study accounting but I didn’t complete my studies as I realised I did not have a passion for it. My passion is in fashion and therefore I enrolled for a three year diploma at an academy in Johannesburg. Since then I launched my own fashion label called Star QT which is trading in both Uganda and SA. Tell us more about Star QT, how did it come about and how has the label performed? I don’t really recall how I came up with the name but it had been my dream to have that label from way back when I was in high school. I had even given two of my three children the names Star and Qtie even before they were born. Since the launch, the label has done well. It was recently voted the best new label in Uganda at an awards ceremony in Kampala. I have a retail store in Garden City Mall
Why did you decide to do Miss Uganda SA and what are you hoping to achieve?
What do you perceive as your biggest challenge? My biggest challenge here and throughout my career is my size. I
am perceived to be a little girl with no presence so quite often people fail to believe that I am the one responsible for putting together the Star QT brand and affiliated events. I actually recall an incident when I went to sign a contract with a hotel owner in Kampala and he chased me away. I had to call my elder sister to sign the agreement for me! What is required of the contestants and others who would like to attend the event? The young ladies who enter the competition must have a father of Ugandan descent. We are actually doing background checks in this regard. Admission fee for members of the public costs R200. There will be a VIP
“I am perceived to be a little girl with no presence so quite often people fail to believe that I am the one responsible for putting together the Star QT brand and affiliated events.”
section costing R350 per person which includes a seat at a private table with dinner and wine. Who are the event sponsors and what prizes are in store for the winners? Star QT is the main sponsor of this event. The winner walks away with a contract with the label as the face of Star QT to attend events in our clothing, a magazine cover and a brand new car! There will also be a prize for the best dressed couple. - KEITH KUNDAI
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Know Your Envoy
MUYEBA S. CHIKONDE NEW ZAMBIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER What was your career path leading up to your appointment? I am an architect with over twenty yearsâ€™ experience in the construction industry having initially pursued a degree in architecture at the University of Camaguey in Cuba. I later completed a postgraduate qualification in housing with a
specific focus on housing policies in Africa, Asia and Latin America and also obtained a Masterâ€™s degree in the area of human settlement from Belgium. Early in my career, I joined a Zambian parastatal called the National Housing Authority where I rose to the position of project manager in charge of large scale national housing projects. I have
been involved with UN agencies in the area of poverty reduction interventions in the delivery of shelter. In 2002, I established my own private practice focusing on development architecture and have done consultation work for entities such as Family Health International and Engen.
Know Your Envoy
How did you receive the news of your appointment? It was a pleasant surprise to be accorded the opportunity to honour the president and the Zambian people by serving at our second busiest mission after London. What are your priorities as High Commissioner to South Africa? Enhancing relations with SA is a major priority as is ensuring that economic trade is not skewed
the doors of our chancery to our constituents in February to hold a victory party in celebration of our gallant national soccer team that recently won the Africa Cup. We also have a strong link with the Zambian Association in South Africa who also assist us on consular matters. We have a strong presence of professionals, academics and businessmen in SA as well as a large student population. My advice to them would be to be law abiding and consider the abundant investment opportunities back home. How would you describe the relationship between Zambia and South Africa?
towards SA but that there is mutuality in investment and trade. Another priority is to ensure that more of our companies are able to move into the SA market. I would like to see an emergence of a small to medium scale Zambian entrepreneurs through partnership with SA companies. They need support in terms of financing and management capacity. What is your view of Zambians in SA and their engagement with the High Commission? The interaction between nationals living here and the Mission is of primary importance. We opened
The two countries share history and bound by blood. A lot of our South African brothers were in exile in Zambia including Oliver Tambo, Thabo Mbeki and indeed the current president Jacob Zuma. Thatâ€™s the history part. The blood link is that during this period many of those in exile got married to our nationals and there is therefore an entire generation today borne of these intermarriages. I regret that there is a physical absence in Zambia of elements of this history of the struggle. My generation lived through it and we certainly have the memories, but we need more than memories to pass this history to future generations. I think we should convert buildings used by the ANC into symbolic structures such as libraries, a view I share with the current Secretary
General of the party who I met at the recent launch of the book â€œUnity in Diversityâ€?. SA and Zambia interact significantly at various regional and international platforms and I intend to continue strengthening our bilateral relations. What can be expected from the new dispensation in Zambia? Zambia is one of few African countries to experience peaceful transitions of power from one government to another following a precedent set by former president Kaunda in 1991. We were blessed to have this happen again when the Patriotic Front (PF) party won the elections with an overwhelming majority. I am happy that the new government is living up to expectations with a new draft constitution having been finalised and circulated for public scrutiny. It will allow for the implementation of programmes that will address issues of unemployment and poverty. Moreover, the new government will fight graft and promote the empowerment of women and youth. Tell us more about yourself and your family I am married and have three daughters. I love jazz music and occasionally play amateur golf when invited by my fellow diplomats. - CAROL MALONZA
SA’S ACHIEVER FEMALE hen I look at us Sharna Darko, 28, Louise Darko, 29, Alexandra “Alex” Fitzgerald, 27, and I, Adanma Yisa, also 27- I see four young female expats in SA with a story to tell. Despite all having been born in the UK, we are definitely African inspired. Let us start with Sharna and Louise. They opened a fashion boutique, MSC Boutique, in 2011. M S C stand’s for
My Sister’s Closet, a reference to the fact that the two are sisters through Sharna’s marriage to Louise’s brother. Louise, who is of Ghanaian descent, believes that every country she has lived in has shaped a portion of her personality including the USA where she received her bachelors in Fashion, Marketing and Design. Sharna, who is of Jamaican heritage, says that they noticed an entrepreneurial opportunity upon moving to SA. “Having worked both in the UK and SA, we noticed gaps in this market and decided to join forces to open
our boutique. MSC is an eclectic mix of everything a young fashion conscious woman would want in her closet, stocking a mixture of South African and international brands as well as our own label – MSC Unique” Alex on the other hand chose to tread a more corporate path. After relocating from the UK, she attended Wits University where she obtained a BA, an Honours degree and her Law degree. She currently works at Norton Rose, an international law firm. Although born in the UK, Alex spent her formative years travelling due to the interests and pursuits of her parents. “My parents, a British mother of Jamaican descent and a South African father, met
20-SOMETHING EXPATS in Botswana during the 1980s. My father was working for the International Voluntary Service while in exile. I spent my first six years living between Oxford in the UK and Lusaka. I attended the ANC crèche in Lusaka and had an idyllic childhood there ignorant of the stresses and dangers of exile life my parents experienced on a daily basis.” In 1990, Alex moved to Johannesburg with her father as former exiles like him began to
return home to participate in the negotiated end to the Apartheid era. She stayed in Johannesburg until 1998 when she and her mother returned to the UK. “I moved back to SA in 2005 and since then it has been my home. It is a country which certainly has a hold over me and I love it dearly.” I on the other hand, am of Nigerian descent and moved here in 2010 having been introduced to Johannesburg by Alex who was a close friend when she lived in the UK. Having visited the country on a number of occasions to see her, I fell in
love with the lifestyle, culture and opportunities that the country has to offer. I am a Development Officer at Wits University where I raise funds for the University’s various development projects, building programs and
bursaries for disadvantaged students. My past roles have been in the corporate financial environment working for two renowned international banks in New York and London. My role at Wits is therefore a career change of sorts. I truly enjoy helping to improve education opportunities for students across the social spectrum as well as working with socially conscious companies and individuals. I find Johannesburg to be a vibrant place, with a particularly great social and cultural scene for young black people – something that is hard to find in London. The one thing that I struggle to get used to is the lack of accessible public transport, I think it is the one area that if improved
would elevate the country to “world class status”. Sharna has a similar take: “It has taken some adjustment living in SA. The pace is slightly slower than Europe. London is very fast, but on the other hand you have more time to enjoy and appreciate life here. What I love about living in SA is the amount of opportunities there are particularly for young entrepreneurs such as myself and my sister.” “Adapting to SA has been an interesting experience, with many cultural differences but an amazing platform to see my dream of opening MSC Boutique materialise,” Louise says.
Alex, the individual with the closest and longest association with SA thinks that she and the country are treading a progressive path. “I truly believe that my fate and the fate of SA are intertwined. It is a commitment to the project of making the nation a more egalitarian, just and equitable society for all who live in it. It has afforded me many wonderful opportunities and I am lucky enough to have just started what will hopefully be a fulfilling and rewarding career as an attorney.” That is us in a nutshell - an awesome foursome and all very good friends. SA take note, we four young expatriates have entrepreneurial flair and are set on making our mark in our chosen home. - ADANMA YISA
“Some of my fondest memories growing up are of time spent at the National Library in Maseru. I have now made the Bibliothèque Mazarine and American Library in Paris my new sanctuaries. They couldn’t be further from home – but they feel just the same……”
Expatriate in France: seek familiarity in foreign places. It is a survival mechanism I employ. Not the familiarity to be found in socializing with fellow compatriots while abroad, but the familiarity of spaces and places. Places that will not only feel like home, but also offer some semblance of sanctuary in my home away from home. It does not matter if I am staying for a few days, or on an extended sojourn â€“ my habits remain the same.
Roald Dahl, C. S. Lewis and others. My mother would simply see me to the entrance and pick me up hours later. The library to me was multifunctional, a place of work and pleasure. When the schoolwork was done, I could then indulge my every fancy through the pages of the books
to the library was the books; even seeing the titles on the spines all lined up thrills me. Secondly, it is a sanctuary, a place to be still that is vaguely familiar. I can be anywhere in the world, yet the muted silence of a library, the whispering, the occasional all-too-human sounds; a cough here,
I read. They still remain the perfect place to be anonymous and indulge the voyeur in me- there is something intriguing about watching people go about their business of being scholarly, unobserved. My first draw
a shuffle there, always feels familiar. These were the sounds of my childhood afternoons, where I could escape to faraway places, and travel to worlds beyond my imagination. Now, I do travel to these places and
Perhaps it is the feeling of being foreign and the need to alleviate the intensity of that very feeling that drives me to these places. In museums, I feel less alone. There is comfort in the knowledge that there will always be at least one other visitor that is as foreign as I. There is comfort in numbers for the foreigner who enjoys anonymity but who also inadvertently seeks the company of fellow foreigners. It is for this reason that I am to be found far away from the watering holes where my fellow compatriots might gather. That kind of socializing compromises the anonymity I enjoy and takes away from my need to be alone. My other favoured places are libraries. For me libraries hold the memories of my childhood. I grew up in Lesotho, and some of my fondest memories are of time spent at the National Library in Maseru. A legacy of the British government, it was a small, albeit well-stocked library, which I dare say was put to much use by the community. This is where my many encounters with some of the literary greats began. The years passed and I moved from Dr. Seuss to
Comfort in places that feel familiar inhabit these foreign worlds. And yet I continue to seek the familiarity of my childhood memories. I recently read an article in the New York Times written by Kamila Shamshie titled The demise of the Public Library. In the times
is no different, but our relationship with public libraries is of a different kind. In a country where even the literacy of educators is sometimes in question, inculcating a culture of reading in children becomes something of a challenge.
In some cases though, it was equally clear that the libraries are used by many as a place to study and not a place to pass time on a free afternoon. The fiction section of some of these libraries, the article stated, were not sufficiently stocked. What a shame this is. The children who make use of these libraries will never see the point of opening up a book, letting their imaginations run wild, and getting lost in its pages just for the love of it. They will simply associate libraries with study and reference books. The affection, to which Mark Twain referred when he said; “A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection…” will never form a part of their memories. They may be places that feel familiar in years to come, but not necessarily for the right reasons. I, on the other hand have made the Bibliothèque Mazarine and American Library in Paris my new sanctuaries. They couldn’t be further from home – but they feel just the same. - LEABILOE MOLAPO
of austerity for many European countries, budget cuts for school funding programmes and the advent of e-book readers, it does raise alarm bells about the redundancy of Libraries. South Africa’s experience
In a recent article in ‘The Star’ newspaper, For the love of reading, one book at a time, it was comforting to read that in communities around Johannesburg, public libraries are still being made use of extensively.
kirsten jensen PA R K I N N G . M . B I T T E N B Y T H E A F R I C A N B U G
Tell us about yourself and how you ended up living in South Africa? My Danish father and Dutch mother met and got married in Nigeria the 1970â€™s. We left for Saudi Arabia when I was one and in 1980 moved to SA where I attended primary school. Ten years later we moved again, this time to the Philippines. I believe that once you are bitten by the African bug, you canâ€™t help but to return. It was therefore no surprise that we returned to SA in 2001 where my parents are now retired in White River. Having been an expatriate for most of your life, how would you sum up the experience? We lived in various places around the world as my father was working for Heidelberg International and was also the Danish Consul to SA. The expatriate experience has been fantastic; because of it, I not only have friends in different parts of the world, I also got to experience different cultures. In the Philippines for example, our school had students from 54 different nationalities. Learning about different religions, languages and customs also makes it easier for you to travel later on life. Why did you choose to work in hospitality? I think it was in my nature as I always enjoyed things like setting the table when we had guests at home. I remember when we first arrived in Manila when I was 12, my father took me to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and I was in awe of the place.
I decided then that I wanted to be a hotel manager. I took up a position at the Mandarin as an intern when I was 17 and later studied hospitality in the Netherlands. I joined the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in 2000 and worked in a couple of their hotels before becoming the youngest female General Manager (GM) in the group when I was appointed to head the Park Inn at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris at the age of 29. In October 2010, the GM of Park Inn Sandton moved to Belgium and I seized the opportunity to move back to SA. How does the Park Inn Sandton fit into the Carlson Rezidor Hotel group? The Park Inn brand is part of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group also known for its five star brand, Radisson Blu. The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is working on developing this brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as we have noted the significant demand for midmarket hotels in these regions. In EMEA, there are about 300 hotels open or in development including the Park Inn by Radisson Foreshore in Cape Town and projects in Polokwane SA, Nigeria and Mozambique.
June 2010 because there were many hotels that were open during that time and after the tournament there was a significant dip in occupancy. We have gone from virtually no guests to profitable occupancy levels thanks to the strong and dedicated team that we have here. I enjoy the teamwork we share and my management style is firm but fair. What does the Park Inn Sandton offer and what sets it apart from other hotels? We are a mid-market hotel offering four star services. We cater for various guests including corporate clients as this is an ideal location in Sandton City. We host several leisure travellers including tourists on their way to and from various destinations in SA. Given that disposable incomes have dropped in the wake of the global recession, guests are pleased
a full buffet breakfast. It is a full dining restaurant from 12 p.m. daily. We provide an hourly complimentary shuttle bus to the Gautrain and we also transport business guests anywhere within a five kilometre radius. Most of our competitors in Sandton are much older while we are new and funky. The hotel owner has an eye for aesthetics as is evidenced by the attention to detail even in the lounge chairs that we have. We have young and energetic team members at management level who are also very experienced having worked at some of the top hotels around the country. We are very responsive to requests and are flexible enough to look for a solution should your requirements differ from our regular offering. - KEITH KUNDAI
“My Danish father and Dutch mother met and got married in Nigeria the 1970’s. I believe that once you are bitten by the African bug, you can’t help but to return.....”
How has the experience of managing Park Inn Sandton been for you? This hotel has been a fantastic challenge as it is a beautiful product to sell. It opened in a turbulent time in
to enjoy a good hotel at a reasonable price. We manage to offer this by focusing on what is needed; a good clean room with tasty cuisine and not necessarily pricy extremes like gold laced fabric sheets and multiple cupboards. We offer room service in all 273 rooms and there is Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel. We have several conference rooms and the RBG restaurant offers
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Hanging on with Hannington
Relationships 101 his being the women’s issue, I felt it appropriate drop my two cents on relationships which is certainly one of the favourite topics for the opposite gender. But first, something for the lads. The secret to approaching women. I do not profess to be an expert in this field but the one thing I do know is that women like confident men. Certain attributes such as being handsome are out of your control because they are dependent on nature but charisma and charm you certainly have the ability to influence. A man has to be disarmingly charming and be able warm up a woman’s soul. It doesn’t matter what’s in your bank account, what you are wearing or where you meet them, just know your story and be able to tell it like there is no tomorrow. A few lies here and there are also vital.
Now over to the ladies. They continuously wonder why a man who has a very pretty or beautiful wife and seemingly fine relationship attempts to hit on other women. Why can’t men focus on one woman and be monogamous? Well in my view, having a wandering eye is not the same as cheating. It seems healthy to be attracted to others, look at others and enjoy their beauty. The idea of monogamy to me is that you’re making a promise not to have intimate physical relations with someone else; it does not mean that you turn off your attraction to others or deny your human sexual nature. Enjoy the power of attraction and use it to energize your other pursuits
in life. You can also use it to energize your promise to the person that you are monogamous with. You’re giving your word to that person and to yourself. Going against your word doesn’t just hurt them — it also hurts you. It damages your own integrity and the power of your word. If however you really like having lots of sex with other people, just refrain from making the promise not to. I don’t think there is a particular time or a timetable when a man should get married. These days more and more men are postponing marriage due to financial pressures and also a need to explore life more. The same goes for women. In the days gone by, our mothers married young due to social and cultural pressure society exerted on them. Not anymore. That said, I also know that you shouldn’t leave it so late. Personally, I think that going beyond the age of 40 is a tad tardy! But at the end of the day, everything is relative, right?
My favourite pastime is braaing and hosting parties. To many this is a rock star-like lifestyle and they question whether this creates some sort of instability in my relationships. I think this all depends on what one’s dreams are. Telling me to give up this part of me is as good as encouraging me to give up my dreams. And why would anyone do that for the sake of stability? It’s a choice I have made and maybe this is where I find meaning and happiness. Look for stability and peace of mind inside yourself and not in your relationships or the dreams of others. - HANNINGTON KASIRYE
It’s incumbent upon each partner to love the other’s dreams and if anything support them where possible. The idea of “making this work” sounds more like a way to make life more boring and predictable. At worst, it’s a genuinely sadistic desire to control someone else because your own life feels out of control or a cruel need to dominate and break someone’s spirit for the sake of your own peace of mind.
The Last Word
IS HELEN ZILLE’S CAPE TOWN RACIST? “Calling a City racist may just be a Mandela bridge too far!” t the end of last year there was a big discussion about Cape Town (CT) being racist. If you have heard me on the phone without seeing me, I could easily sound like a John Smith who went to Bishops High School in CT. With that, a friend’s parents thought it appropriate to remind me that I was black. A comment I found quite unnecessary although I am first to admit that I can also be quite unnecessary sometimes.
lived there for maybe eight years in total, so I know the scene. I have observed some blacks trying to come into a bar and they have been told that you have to be on a guest list or some other reason that leads to their exclusion. Then there are the times when we stroll into an expensive restaurant in a group of about six blacks and the looks we receive make it seem like we were there to rob people. But it is not the place, it is the people.
I visit CT a lot and I am of the view that calling it racist might be a Mandela bridge too far. True, the place is still very segregated, but no one makes that a law, it is just how it is. Quite often I cruise the streets with my brother and friends and we remark that we are the only ‘brothers’ in the area. Given how common this occurrence is, I am convinced that there is a huge void when it comes to successful middle class blacks in the city.
The thing that exacerbates this thinking is the migration of many whites to CT. It is no coincidence that this corresponds with the fact that this is a DA run city and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. However, an underlying undertone would be that the rest of the country is not good enough because it is run by the brothers. Yes, I said it!
But the city isn’t racist per se, some elements of CT are racist definitely but that is like any other city in this country. The only difference I believe is that industry in Johannesburg is big enough for blacks to prosper. That is a relevant aspect because I worked in CT for two years but could not stay longer. You hit a ceiling very quickly. If your life isn’t really about the mountain, the beach, the runs on the promenade, wine routes, the sea and Caprice on Sunday evenings, well then the big smoke beckons. What I will say though is that my experience of CT is different to a lot of other Jozi blacks though. I
Anyway I can rant on about this forever. CT is a beautiful little city with some super good-looking ladies. There are racist elements just as there are some really good people of which I know plenty! Instead of sitting on the outskirts and passing commentary about how racist the place is there is
nothing really restricting blacks from moving there and just making it happen for ourselves save perhaps for the ridiculously high property prices. In life you have to prioritise and decide the best course or path for your life so don’t be bleak because you decide to chase money instead of the mountain. Yaw Peprah is a self employed entrepreneur pursuing interests in business advisory, consultancy and commodity brokering. www.asitissoitis.blogspot.com
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Issue 7 of Expatriate SA Magazine