I used to love SA so much but I'm slowly realising that our beautiful country has lots of work that needs to be done in order for people to carry on living here and succeed.
Here's a list of reasons (in no particular order) of why I would rather live somewhere else in Africa:
- Crime - I live in a secure part of Sandton which gives me some peace of mind but I still often find myself needing to travel to other parts of the city for various reasons. Somethimes these places aren't very safe and I'm just a little tired of looking in windows to see who is behind me or constantly scanning my surroundings at traffic lights. I've thought about how this could be solved and haven't yet come up with a solution. It's not easy to solve this kind of problem when a police officer could easily be bribed with a 20 rand note or a bottle of Coca-Cola. Corruption and poverty are the root causes of crime in South Africa. Poverty can't be reduced if corruption isn't, so the crime problem won't be solved any time soon.
- Business - Where do I even start? South African entrepreneurs or people with the means to help start-up businesses almost always want to help only when there is something they can immediately get in return. They have a list of reasons why they won't call, email or meet with people who reach out to them. This is because of many reasons such as racism, social circles, corruption, etc. The result of this is that many companies will fail and our country will keep getting worse while the rest of the continent improves. Just a week ago I met someone from a different country in Africa who chatted to my co-founder and I about the business we are starting, three days later he flew to Joburg. I met with him and he has helped us in ways nobody here would and as a result we will be saving lots of money and launching sooner than expected. We now also have trusted people to contact who are all founders/ex-founders and have years of experience in the markets we want to operate in. I could go on and on writing about this but I'd rather just build our product and let people watch our success instead of making a noise or planning PR stunts like many people do. My main concern right now is making Africa a better place in any way we can through the use of our skills, I'm sure we can make this happen in our lifetime.
- Culture - We live in a country with many cultures which is great. I used to believe that South Africans were the friendliest people in the world until I travelled out of our country. In my opinion, people in the rest of Africa are to be way more friendly and accomodating. I'd love to see this in South Africa some day but it will never happen as long as the majority of people here think that South Africa is not part of Africa. I also believe that by running a business in another African country, the culture in that country would somehow be part of my business and this will be amazing.
- Problem solving - Africa probably has the most problems to be solved which means that we should be the most innovative. I want to live and travel to the areas in which our product is used and experience the problems we are trying to solve or talk to people who experience these problems. I have no interest in hiring some huge company to do research and give me statistics which mean nothing. I'm good at reasing people so when I do research I want to chat directly to users and see their facial expressions, body language, the look in their eyes and hear the tone of their voices. This will allow me to understand problems better and be innovative by catering to people's immediate needs and then putting plans in place to help them grow in the future. As I result I hope that our own business would also grow.
- Friends - I've always kept a circle of friends that is very small and consists of people I trust one hundred percent. This is because it hasn't always been easy to find people who have no hidden agenda. I believe that if I live in other contries I would be able to find these people and expand my circle of trusted friends. It would also be cool to be able to have more people to turn to for advice when needed, or just to talk to when I feel lonely.
- Travel - I want to travel more often so living somewhere else might allow me to travel by car. I love driving and exploring places by vehicle and foot (mostly because I can't afford to fly). I learn about more places and have more fulfilling experiences this way. Some day when Siya and I are married and have kids I hope to travel all over Africa (and the world) with our family. I'd love to give my (future) kids experiences I could only dream of when I was a child.
- Awareness - Living in different countries makes you aware of things you never knew. These can be languages, cultures, political situations, etc. I would love to be more aware of what's going on in the continent and throughout the world. By living in a certain place I can get the "truth" of what's going on instead of what the mainstream media feeds me.
- Education - I love education! Except for my matric certificate and short course I did a few years ago I have no formal education (mainly due to circumstances) but I have never let that stop me from learning. I learn a lot about tech and other cool things on the internet but the best lessons I've learnt are sometimes from old, wise people who I have only ever met once and who I never expected too learn anything from. I wish to meet many more of these wise people and keep learning valuable lessons.
- Philanthropy - I love Africa and I want our continent to be the best in the world. The only way this can happen is if we each help each other succeed. I wish to be part of a continental network/initiative someday, one that does something small (or big) every single day, to help other people who are struggling in some way. I always want to feed people because I've gone days without food and I know what it feels like. I also know what it's like to be homeless and I want to solve that problem all over the continent. I have plans to do this in our next business but there's still a lot that needs to get done before we can solve those problems.
I really hope that South Africa can become great, but for now I'm slowly planning to exit our country in favor of working with people and businesses who are serious and fully committed to making Africa a better place.