4 Reasons I could never leave South Africa

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Let me start with some context: I am a well-off white male – the international trifecta of privilege – and Afrikaans to boot, just to add some local flavour to my human stew of oppressiveness.

Born 8 years before the end of apartheid the only thing I really remember about the dark days are oddly vivid memories of plastic wall mounted posters – with tactile examples of different kinds of bombs and landmines – usually found in the waiting rooms of nervous white South Africa.

My facebook friends list is definitely not as demographically representative as it should be, not by preference, but because I honestly just haven’t had the pleasure of meeting that many non-whites (shocking to admit, having lived in Africa for 30 years). I am acutely aware of domestic politics, but not especially active. I was born Afrikaans, but I don’t really feel a deep connection to any South African culture or creed.

Sometimes I feel hopelessly lost in the country of my birth…

…but I am not unique – there are many others like me and many of my kind have already, are in the process of, or are planning to leave the country.

I, however, cannot leave. I won’t ever be able to, and neither should you if you identify or agree with the following four reasons why: Continue reading

Engineers in SA much richer than in UK/ US/Australia

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Brain-drain: “the emigration of highly trained or qualified people from a particular country”.

Experts regularly warn of the impending doom that South Africa’s own brain drain will bring to the country’s economy in the near future, and with over 300 qualified engineers leaving South Africa every year, it seems that the pool of competent engineers, critical to the development of any country, might soon be completely exhausted.

But why are South African engineers emigrating, when the data clearly suggests that South Africa should be the one draining the engineering brains of other countries – sunny South Africa not only offers engineers more earning potential, in terms of purchasing power, than other English speaking countries (and by quite a large margin compared to countries like Australia and England) as well as higher chances of employment.
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A Comparative Study of International Engineering Salaries Dataset

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Generating Data on Comparative Salaries

Average Salaries per country/engineering field/experience level

The data for the average salaries of engineers from SA, UK, US and Australia in the fields of mechanical, chemical, electrical and civil was found on Payscale.com, a website that aggregates the employment information of thousands of users, including engineers, across different levels of experience ranging from those new to the industry to the veterans with more than 20 years experience.

Salaries after tax

The average salaries from each country, for each field, and within four ranges of experience (0-5 year, 5-10 years, 10-20 years and >20) were then each run through the online tax calculators of each respective country (with the most basic settings) to get salaries per year after tax.

Applying Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

The amounts generated by the above processes only served to illustrate the nominal value of earnings in each country’s local currency, but to be able to compare all the values they need to be translated into a single currency. Rather than using the current nominal exchange rate, the theory of Purchasing Power Parity – an economic theory that estimates the amount of adjustment needed on the exchange rate between countries in order for the exchange to be equivalent to each currency’s purchasing power – was applied to find a ‘real exchange rate’ (for instance R5 can get you the equivalent of $1 of the same goods, which suggests a much lower exchange  rate than the current R15/$1 rate) between the respective countries and all the  foreign values were subsequently converted to rands. The World Bank’s PPP adjustment were used. 

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Emigrating for Safety? Stats say Cape Town Safer than Paris.

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Preface – The following article is not meant to belittle the horrible events that occurred on Friday the 13th of November in Paris – this article is meant to highlight the notion that the winds of change have brought new terrors that should make one rethink traditional conceptions of safety.

Eleven-Thirteen (11-13): another infamous date to be added to 9-11 and 7-7; another senseless act of terror; another deadly attack in Paris in 2015 (following the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo). The worst terror incident ever recorded in French history left 129 Parisians dead on Friday. Has one of the safest European cities become, overnight, one of the deadliest? Continue reading

Anatomy of a South African Aviation Accident

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The previous two years have been turbulent times in international aviation: two Malaysian airliners, and their full complement of passengers, lost in the span of four months and a Russian airplane performing a fatal nosedive over the pyramids, on Halloween – its deadly descent possibly expedited by explosives. With this current spate of deadly aerial disasters, the question is: how safe is South Africa’s own aerial industry? Continue reading

ProtestNation – South Africa the protest capital of the world(?)

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On the 23rd of October 2015 the fees finally fell after a massive, coordinated protest action against increasing tuition fees by South Increasing number of protestAfrican University students – one example of civil unrest among many this year. In 2014, there
were 218 protests across the country        – 1 every 40 hours – double as much as in 2007 and the highest number since democratisation. The trend suggests that this year is set to surpass that amount, and the next will see even more public unrest. Some say we already have the highest rate of protesting in the world.

Is it true? Have we reached a precarious pinnacle of protestation?  Have we become The ProtestNation? Continue reading

Boks to Beat the All-Blacks

Boks to Beat All Blacks

On Saturday the 24th of October a wary Springbok squad will tackle a devastatingly in-form All Blacks in a RWC 2015 Semi-Final set to thrill.

Bookies across the world seem to believe that the Kiwi’s are near guaranteed a win after their 50 point thrashing of the French. And most pundits seem to agree that while the Bokke are likely to show heart, they will be impotent to stop the continued blitzkreig of the black clad barbarians to the finals.

But a word of advice to the All-Blacks: disregard the guys in green and gold at your own peril – South Africa still has some of the fastest, strongest, hardest, smartest and most experienced players in the world. Continue reading