South Africa: Should I Stay or Should I Go? the Drivers Behind Emigration

opinion

There are many factors that drive emigration from South Africa - among them fear, racism and insecurity on the one hand and the desire to be a global citizen on the other. But ethics should also have a role to play in the decision.

The number of emigration queries by South Africans increased by 70% from 2018 to 2019, according to a recent report on immigration consultancy data. In other words, an unusually high number of people are considering leaving the country, and no doubt a sizeable portion are doing so.

There are various ways to interpret this statistic. One straightforward interpretation is that those who can afford to move (so, a minuscule proportion of the populace) have calculated that the future prospects of staying have become more bad than good, and so are deciding to avoid that future. The state of South Africa's economy, political environment, education system, healthcare system, crime rates... pick any of these factors, and they will almost certainly feature in the reasons given by the prospective emigrants, and it is invariably in this type of language that emigration trends are reported on. Shocker headlines like "Devastating brain drain" and "Emigration is killing the country" abound....

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