Friday, July 1, 2011

LOCAL VOCALS - people's reactions when I was emigrating from South Africa

This post is dedicated to Colleen and Merry for their 
unstinting support and is in memory of Shirley Gault.  

If one 
is going 
to open 
to say 

may not want to hear, there's most likely 
going to be a wee ripple out there. 
I was never fearful to stick my neck out    >>>       
 Folly is my middle name. 

My piece in the blog post just below -''Leaving South 
Africa on a 
jetplane'' published in the paper
 in May 2008, created a reaction and a little tremor in our wonderful
 city, once dubbed  'Sleepy Hollow'. But if one is a writer (even small
 time like me), sooner than later one's going to 'piss on some one's 
battery.' One can't please all of the people all of the time, and one 
needs to be true to oneself, and not just try and say what makes 
people purr ecstatically, whilst ensconced in their comfort zones, 
nor remain forever silent -  quietly and conscientiously tending 
one's  own cabbage patch... That's not going to push the envelope
 one iota and I'm afraid to say that's what writer's apparently do. 
They nudge  to get people to think, debate and reflect.

 cat purr

I had attempted to share my feelings and emotions,  & WOW... it
 opened a can of veritable worms... As a writer one attempts to
 share with others about joy, pain & reality; in this context it was 
about the deep emotions which such an undertaking had evoked
 in 'lil me; just one of a million migrants.

Comments:  Posted in the Newspaper after my article and others' 
letters to the paper on topic of emigration.

Posted by Renee Alcock on 12 May 2008

That jetplane..
Oh Eve you've got a big heart and your words are powerful. I know you will 

 remember us when you have gone away to that other land. Africa is part of what 
you are. Keep on writing .hambe kahle. You will be missed.

Posted by Vren on 12 May 2008

Leaving South Africa on a jet plane
Beautifully written, Eve, and so true. Every happiness in your new home and hope 

we get to hear about your life in that exquisite country.

Posted by Brian on 12 May 2008
Nirvana does exist -- in the head. Emigrating is hard, physically because you are 

cut off from all networks to help when you need to move furniture for example,
 and emotionally because you have to make new friends and build a life in a society very different from he one you left. But it is, for most people enriching, if not materially then emotionally. In the bad old days I once hitched a lift with an Afrikaaner who poured scorn on the idea that "We Afrikaaners will fight to the last because we have no where else to go." At the time, he said his son was living in
Jamaica and loving it.  As soon as South African passports were recognised, Afrikaaners were the first to travel and some to stay, overseas, like tens of 
thousands of their Zulu, Xhosa and  Sotho countrymen. And of the three million Zimbabweans who have emigrated,  how many of them will return home? 
Enjoy and make the most of your new life and do not regret the past, treasure 
 the good parts, but realise they are part of the Nirvana in our heads.

Posted by Rory on 12 May 2008

Pretty punchy and emotional,because I`m half way there - living here and still 
with a foot there.Well put.

Posted by Steve, NZ on 13 May 2008
We left, about 18 months ago. Africa is in our blood, we are Africans - you can't just

 let it go. But here in the Land of the Long White Cloud we've found what we all 
long for in SA - peace &   safety. NZ is very different to SA, but there are so many similarities. The Brithish heritage instilled that. There are many places with the same 
names - Ashburton, Howick, Hilton Ave,  etc. In my part of NZ the country side is 
very similar to the Midlands, I call it the Midlands on steroids. There are bold autumn 
colours, frost on the grass and Jacaranda flowers. There is all the rugby you can 
watch (including SA rugby) and cricket (SABC Sport) and you can have the sizzling 
chop on the braai(BBQ), but thankfully there are no hadedas shouting outside the 
window at 4:30am, there are the Indians Mynas though. The winters are ok - a lot 
better than I expected - wet, but not depressive like the UK. Yes there are things we
 miss and it is the hardest thing to do, but there are enough similarities and with a pioneering spirit it is an amazing adventure.  You'll love it - all the best.

      Posted by Anonymous on 16 May 2008
 One should always look at new adventures as a fresh start to ones life. Living in a
 new country  is   hard however being South African and the fantastic memories of a 
truely fab country will never depart ones heart. Good luck- A true South African

     Posted by Merry Torr on 25 May 2008

Leaving South Africa on a Jet Plane
Dear Eve and Ant

going to miss you so much and we hope you have a wonderful adventure and the 
career you deserve in NZ. We are rooting for you and look forward to hearing how 
things are turning out in NZ.

Love you lots!

Theds and Bruce


Not leaving 
19 May 2008                                                                                                                Geoff Caruth
Eve Hemming may be “leaving SA on a jet plane” (Witness, May 12) but what 
does her article seek to convey? We all know that crime is bad in South Africa 
and we all love the things she loves, but surely in this time when our country
 needs its educated people, true patriotism dictates she should stay?
The United States is noted for its high rate of college massacres — do all the 

victims’ parents emigrate after these events? 
While the decision to emigrate or not is a personal one, Hemming must realise 

that the loss of every talented emigre puts more pressure on those who decide 
to remain. Sorry Eve — I wish you well for the future but I for one can do 
without your self-indulgent sentimentality. Rather leave quietly and let us
 get on with the business of true love.

Posted by Colleen Webb, Florida USA  on 19 May 2008

Don't go quietly!
Who exactly is Geoff Caruth to judge anyone for deciding to leave

South Africa? with one of the highest crime rates in the world deciding 
to stay is decidedly risky and I wouldn't want anybody's blood on my hands (literally) for persuading them to stay. Leaving has been one of 
the most difficult  things I have ever done, something that has ripped
 my family apart and the families of thousands of other South Africans like me, so to call Eve's  expression of pain 'self-indulgent
 sentimentality' is base ignorance and utter disregard for the gut-wrenching heartache that comes with leaving behind everything familiar and beloved. Leave quietly? No sir!
Make as much noise as you can, Eve. Too many have left quietly.                                                      
"We should make a great clatter of noise about it so
 people pay attention to the problem, rather than sanctimoniously condemn Africans like Eve who can 
no longer bear the pain of living in Africa. True love 
can mean making tough choices to put family before 
country! "                                                                                                                I would like to think that when people like Eve, 
who have made it their life's work to uplift the 
 disadvantaged, decide to leave, the outrage will 
grow and something will change. But perhaps
 that is just too optimistic!  Colleen.

Posted by Penny on 19 May 2008
LEAVING: I met Eve many years ago but am very aware of her work for the

needy in this country and although I have not read her article it leaves me cold to know  that she is leaving. She has worked very hard for the needy and was 
considered liberal in the past, so this is a shock. I am now thinking gee, if people 
like Eve, so dedicated to this country, are leaving then maybe we should also
 think about it. Eve I wish you well.
Posted by A NON E MOUSE on 20 May 2008

Mr. Caruth what a stupid silly little man you must be.Please write a follow up to this article when your sister, daughter, wife ,mother, gran, aunt and even yourself have 

been hyjacked, beaten up ,mugged or raped. I wonder then how fast it will take you
 to consider getting out, your comments to Eve are an insult to anyone who has left this country. I have had had seven members of my family leave this country, with another four on their way out this year,I have no friends in this country as they
 have all left .I will also be leaving this time next year and I promise you I will not 
be singing the praises of S.A.So I raise a glass to you for staying, may you live long 
 enough to enjoy it. that will be true love.
Leaving a legacy 
22 May 2008                                                                                                                      Shirley Gault
I TAKE strong exception to Geoff Caruth’s mawkish generalisations about the
 departure of Eve Hemming (The Witness, May 19). 

For a start, I refuse to be included in those he terms “we” or in his use of the 

bland verb “love”. How does he know that I love what Hemming loves? I find 
vigour in experience. My responses to what I encounter are diverse. I resist 
pigeonholing them into enfeebling mass value judgments. I found Hemming’s 
leave-taking to her readers poignant in essence. Reading her lines and the 
meaning between the lines one identified with the fear, sorrow, heartbreak 
and courage entailed in loss and change.

To evoke emotion with both subtlety and symbolism is the skill of a writer 

worth her salt. If she only leaves this lesson as a legacy (and I know she leaves
 many more) she has left more than enough to lift any burden from Caruth’s
 smart ass decision to stay — provided of course that he is sufficiently enabled
 to drink deep from her maxim.

As for his intended true love business that we must indulge in, can he 

provide examples from his own life of what he means me as an individual
 to do?



     Posted by Japes on 22 May 2008
     I agree. Caruth probably inherited a business, does not have a profession and 
does not work  for a salary. Try walking in someone else's shoes smarty pants.

Posted by Geoff Caruth on 23 May 2008
Eve Hemming
Your correspondent who suggests I"inherited a business,does not have a profession, 

and does not work for a salary" !!! is wrong,wrong,wrong! I built a business,am a 
University graduate,and work very hard for my income,employing a hundred and
 twenty other south africans to boot. Who is the smarty pants now fatso(seeing as 
we are to indulge in adolescent name calling).

    Posted by Eve Hemming on 25 May 2008
Response to Geoff's latest posting.
Greetings to Geoff. No finger pointing from my side to ANYONE. I'm a peace-loving

 soul who has worked intimately with all cultures for 30+ years & have a humanistic &
 abundant philosophy. Of course no one wants to leave beloved S.A., & no one who opts 
to stay wants others to go either. That's the core truth. But sweeping reality under the 
mat doesn't resolve anything. We need to talk about it & share the angst & pangs of our 
country. We're all children of the universe & moving around has an upside too, as it 
regenerates the human race & individual psyche. I'm off on an adventure & to ultimately
 be close to beloved family, with no answers on time frame or   permanency. The process
 is traumatic & I have chosen to be the Mouthpiece for others experiencing the same
painful massive paradigm shift; which creates ripple effects on all their loved ones and 
networks. Blessings and best wishes, Eve.
Posted by Geoff Caruth 

Shirley Gault
As to you Ms. Shirley Gault-I have read some arrogant,self opinionated,patronising,

verbose comments in my time, but you take the cake-"provided he is sufficiently
 enabled to drink deep from her maxim."!! You have got to be kidding-you don't know 
me nor of my background or education-sufficiently enabled!!! I should say something 
rude at this point....
Eve-I repeat my comment-I wish you well for the future and intended no personal insult. 
But cutting to the quick-you can not be that naive not to realise that publicly proclaimed
 departures such as yours add to the burden of those of us who chose to stay. It is painful 
and unsettling to see quality human beings such as yourself leave our country. It makes 
us more lonely and our burden heavier. Better you should have suppressed your 
predisposition "not to go quietly" and maybe just leave by the back door. 
Or tell us "lies,sweet little lies" that maybe you will return one day?

Legacy                                                                                                            Eve Hemming
Thank you for reading into my deep sorrow and my very real passion for being an 

African born and bred - one who loves the profound closeness of my family and 
friends, the flamboyancy of my life here and the wonderfully rich and diverse
 cultural work environment which I've had the privilege of being intimately part
 of. This is the legacy which I have been left with - the greatest gift of ubunthu 
imaginable!I've no intention of defending my complex reasons for leaving. 
Suffice to say that various circumstances and epiphanies directed me. 
And yes, I am bereft which is totally natural. Every respondent has supportively 
or critically interpreted my story through their own eyes; from their own
perspectives and life experiences, journeys of pain, anger, frustration, joy or
disappointment. And that is good, as we are all mirror reflections of one another. 
That is what writing is about - to spark the passion within each individuals soul. 
However, I confess that I somehow doubt that I shall go quietly. That's just not me.
Our country needs us 
8 May 2008                                                                                                                    GEOFF CARUTH
SHIRLEY Gault (The Witness, May 22) misses the point of my comment on 
Eve Hemming’s self-heralded departure. I was trying to make a distinction between 
a superficial “biltong and Karoo sunsets” love of country and the business of real love 
and true patriotism. Scott Peck in his best-seller The Road Less Travelled describes 
such a love. It consists of unselfish giving, of hard work with perhaps little reward, to 
achieve a difficult end. In this instance I was referring to our beloved South Africa 
and its current difficulties. Our country needs us now more than ever; in the  words 
of Dylan Thomas, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. 
Auckland is an easy option. The choice is entirely personal and I do not judge those 
who go this route. What I do judge is those who publicly seek absolution for their 
decisions; those who shouted the loudest for our new democracy and, when the going 
gets tough, cut and run; and those who patronise us and rub our noses in it with their 
condescending self-justifications.Rather give me the young man who I bumped into 
in the thornveld recently. He wore a Vierkleur-emblazoned T-shirt that said: 
“Ek is ’n boer en ek is hier om te bly”. I didn’t agree with his politics, 
but I loved the sentiment. 


Posted by Merry Torr on 27 May 2008

Jet Plane

Your friends and colleagues know you and love you for what you have 
achieved and stood  for in your life in the Pietermaritzburg educational 
You are a devoted wife and granny, perpetual student, hard working 
headmistress of a disadvantaged school and (unpaid!) counsellor of so 
many, and an all-round, fun loving and most of all very caring person.
Remember Eve, as you start your career 
in NZ, in life it's not the accolades from Pietermaritzburg society that are 
sweet,but those tiny simple moments 
that you have had with all the people 
that you have helped.
You know what I mean, the look, 
the hug, the smile, the tears - those 
intangible "things" that no-one can
 take away from you, ..ever. 
That's the field we as caregivers/
professionals of the people are in, 
we don't get paid enough, we 
(can be) unappreciated, but we
 go to bed knowing that we have 
helped people and that is what
 we do and go to sleep happy doing.

You are such a special person, you have achieved more than 
most of the people I know ( how many degrees now???) and you 
are appreciated by so many voiceless people. People who have no 
access to papers, computers or time for comments in the daily 
newspaper, because they simply can't afford it.

Just remember all those people that you have touched and smile
 with pride, my darling. Enjoy the last part of your career, I know 
exactly why you are going to NZ, and for those of you who don't, 
tough tacky hey? 
(Hint: its got a lot to do with Love of family. )

Posted by Eve Hemming on 27 May 2008
Geoff - please read between the lines.
Hi Geoff -You have little idea of my background and what I have shared in S.A. 
for over 30 years in special needs' education with the underprivileged. Auckland
 is a Hard and very painful option for me. (You would have to call me for me to 
explain !) I personally think that one should always thoroughly investigate 
ANYONE'S scenario before reaching conclusions about them that could be based 
on assumptions. As said, I am being a mouthpiece for many in my situation and 
emotions run high about something so traumatic. People who relocate should be 
respected and not condemned, as much as those who wish to stay in their 
homeland. I'm not condemning you for your choices. Best regards Eve.
I CRAVE the Editor’s indulgence for a few last words on the 
Eve Hemming saga to wish her all the very best for her future 
in New Zealand. She seems to be a kind and well-loved woman 
and it was never my intention to insult or demean her. 
Go well, Eve.


Comments: [Post a Comment] 
Posted by A NON E MOUSE on 10 Jun 2008

To little to late, you did insult her and a great many others 
that have left their families for an unknown hard but safer life,
 something that is not easy to do, also heart breaking for the ones left 
behind. Next time you pick up your pen think before you scribble, 
once in print it can almost never be erased, anyway who cares about 
what you think, just keep it to yourself.
Posted by Eve Hemming on 10 Jun 2008

Thank you!

Thanks Geoff - Much appreciated and keep smiling !
 Life's too short and precious for anything less 
than mutual respect.....
And on that merry note of forgiveness and 
Ubunthu, people settled down and got on with 
the business of their daily lives whilst I set about 
 packing and tried to enjoy my precious last 
month on African soil....the panic rising and 
the doubts and sense of shock and disbelief 
and adrenaline,       
medieval knight dressed in armor redy for battle Stock Photo - 2472247pumping through
       me to keep me going >>>> 
And what is the moral of this roller -coaster 'self-indulgent story' ? Hopefully to help  prepare any emigrating wannabes to put on their 
armour, stand tall, strong and courageous ! And 'moenie worrie' -  the ones who have done it before you, will be here 
to welcome you and offer you loads of support !
We're all family (whanau/gesin) here in 
NZ & in SA !
My indebted thanks to all my supporters, 
friends & family during this torrid time !
 I couldn't have managed without you :)
 It's been quite painful, but also cathartic
 reliving it now- 3 years later ! 

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