Where is my home, for that is where my heart is?
On the 28th of November 2010, myself, hubby and our triplet sons, three months shy of their fifth birthday, said farewell to our families and our home. With the excitement of a new adventure coursing through our veins and the fear of uncertainty gripping our hearts, we boarded a plane and headed for, what we hoped was, a brighter future.
In the years since then, I haven’t seen my father or my brother. We have enjoyed the occasional and very expensive (for them) visits from my mother and father in law. Yes, we use Skype. We send text messages and stay in touch as much as possible via technology – but it isn’t the same.
We have lost many a friend. Some to the rampant violence ruling our country and others who turned their backs when we dared pluck our roots from the bloodied African soil. There were those with more insight and understanding. They were the people who praised, loved and supported our determination and bravery.
It’s not easy leaving so much of what and who you are behind. Especially when in your heart you believe you have forsaken your mother, father, siblings and extended family to the hunger of an ever-growing beast. When you stand as an outsider, looking in, you can see what danger you have left them in. Now they need to fend for themselves in a country which is so very keenly walking a tightrope between self-destruction and a gently tempered reconciliation.
You feel guilty about putting the strife of your ex-country men in the back of your mind as you struggle to comprehend your new surroundings, knowing we could never return – wanting, no, needing only the best for our boys.
It is no easy task building a new life from scratch. Not when the foreign earth you paid so dear to walk upon feels, smells, and is so different from the moist, damp dirt drenched with the hopes, sweat, and tears of your forefathers. But we did it, we survived, we pushed through all the days of uncertainty. We assimilated and adopted the Australian Way without losing our South African Identity. We made it through the dark lonely nights where we cried in each other’s arms, staving off the licking flames of temptation, to give up and jump on the next plane home.
Now some of you have asked: Is it not best for children to grow up with all their family?
Yes, it probably is, but I ask you this: Is it not best, for children to be loved so dearly by a mother and father who are willing to sacrifice all they are to provide a better, safer, more wholesome future for them? One where they are not caged in by a barbed ten-foot wall, or bear witness to their father being hijacked and shot in the driveway for a measly R50?
Instead, they are taught the value of life, regardless of race. They are taught a fair go for all. They are free to run and play in parks which are clean and drive on roads which are well kept, their leaders are not criminals, masters of corruption and wielders of a silent genocide.
I know of so many, who would sell their soul to leave but cannot. I wish I had the money to bring all of my family over to me. To not have to go to sleep every night begging my creator to keep them safe, fed, warm and clothed.
On the 29th of May 2015, myself, hubby and our then nine-year-old boys attended our citizenship ceremony. We were proud to have made it so far! We sang the Australian national anthem with a fervent love and a gratefulness known only to others who had made the same journey.
I also wept for what we had lost. For the country of our birth. It’s painfully hard-won, misunderstood and heavily propagated history. A history which is embedded deep within the marrow of my, my husband, and my son’s bones, for all eternity.
Call me a deserter, a traitor, and a coward. I no longer care, but also know this…
I left a Country, who had long since made it clear, that it no longer wanted us. That our skin was the wrong color and our ambition for a brighter, rainbow nation future, was not welcome! It threatened my life as well as that of my most precious creations – my children.
Therefore, we made the trek across the vast ocean to a country which welcomed us with open arms. It was arduous and fraught with soul wrenching pain. An odyssey of sort. One where no single person or family who has not attempted similar, can call it simple!
I am grateful for this new life. I grieve the loss of my South Africa every day. I long for my Mom, Dad, brothers, family and friends every second, but, I am GRATEFUL and proud of what we have accomplished, and no-one can ever take that from us.
Home is where the heart is, and mine is finally all here!