Why I chose to raise my kids in South Africa

Why on earth would you leave France to come back to SA?

Its a question I get asked so often – and my response always varies.I lived in Paris, France for 7 years, but as soon as we found out we were expecting the Twincesses, we started planning to relocate to South Africa.

Part of that decision was due to the fact that I wanted my children to have a childhood similar to mine. A childhood of sunny days at the beach, surrounded by family. Days of playing with their friends outside and riding their bikes up and down the neighborhood streets.

I know that SO MUCH has changed in South Africa since I was a child though. Crime has escalated exponentially, and the days of playing in the streets are well and truly over for most kids in South Africa. Yet, I don’t see our decision to relocate to SA as a gamble… I see it as a leap of faith.IMG_1822

My kids will only have one childhood. And my intention is to fill that childhood with wonderful memories for them to cherish when they are older. Part of those memories will be having their extended family around them. The biggest motivating factor for me to make the move back was my family. They are all in South Africa, and I did not want my kids growing up to feel like strangers around them. Watching them with their grandma … my heart melts. I wouldn’t trade it for a million euros!

Space was another deciding factor for us. We lived in the heart of Paris, a stone’s throw from the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. But our apartment was a mere 45m2. That’s pretty average by city-dwelling standards…but i could NOT imagine raising TWO children in that cramped space. Yes, there was the option to move – buy a bigger place, but that would have meant a mortgage or rental, and most definitely a place OUTSIDE of the city, as real estate prices in Paris are through the roof!

While in SA, we reside in a four bedroom house with a large backyard, large, open spaces to have the extended family over for braais and sleepovers, and our very own pool which the kids just adore. We could never have had this in France. And don’t get me started on the weather!

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We did not make the decision to relocate to South Africa lightly. We had 2 stable, well-paying jobs and left it all for a step into the unknown. We considered various factors such as the cost of living, healthcare, quality of life and safety. We thought about it long and hard, and changed our minds at least twice before finally deciding to take the leap of faith.

There are some days when I question my decision (opening a newspaper normally does that)…but do I regret my choice to raise my children in South Africa? A resounding NO.

THIS is where we are meant to be right now. The option to go back to France will always be there as dual nationality makes it relatively simple to reconsider….and it may very well be something we do in the future when the girls are older (as the thought of them being teenagers in SA sometimes scares me)… but for now, right here is where we belong.

And I intend to live our lives to the fullest, and enjoy every moment in our sunny, vibrant country that has SO MUCH going for it, in spite of all the negativity.

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0 thoughts on “Why I chose to raise my kids in South Africa”

  1. Enjoyed reading your post and agree with all you say but much as our family would also like to return to the SA of our youth I’m afraid that time and place is no longer there . The SA I see now has way too much crime and corruption and incompetence ! We cancelled our September holiday to SA due to the water crisis . When will that get sorted or will the next thing be a food shortage due to farmers being chased off their land by lack of water or being murdered and living in fear of having their farms ‘taken’ ? Nevertheless I’m happy to hear of SAfricans returning to the motherland ! I just lack the courage, sorry to say. Hopefully that will improve as we miss the country all our friends and family! Best wishes
    for a happy future to you and your family , including the twincesses!!!

    1. Thank you for reading Renee! I totally understand where you’re coming from!
      As I said we thought about it long and hard and made a leap of faith. I don’t regret our decision… not yet anyway. But that may change in future and we could always return to France. But for now, we are right where we belong.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts… I hope you get to come home soon, at least for a visit x

  2. What a ray of sunshine. Loved reading your blog and selfishly urge you to stick with the ‘Twincess Diaries” which is full of phun, sunny optimism and a good healthy dose of reality. The best years of my life were spent in the Beloved Country. I miss it every single waking hour and whenever possible, return for three months where I catch up with my dearest pals, make new friends and fall in love, all over again, with that magnificent country.

  3. I saw this post on the SApeople site and couldn’t agree more with your decision. Whilst I was born in SA myself and have lived here for the majority of my life, I have also lived in 2 other countries in Europe at different stages of my younger life. I intend on relocating overseas again in the forsee able future for reasons that are not the standard reasons as other people who emigrate. Should the time come that I have kids and I’m still abroad I will definitely be making the same decision as you and your family have. Having experienced life overseas as a child myself, if you could say SA is just so much more better equipped for families. Families are a unit here, and this country has so much more to offer than the average person realises! Also one thing I’ve noticed is that kids that have grown up here tend to be much more respectful 🙂 anyways, welcome back! And make some lovely memories for you and your little ones 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing your reasons. I think it becomes especially hard when we constantly question our decisions of staying and going. I have 2 girls and I can so relate with regards to them being teenagers here. My tummy gets into knots. We are truly blessed with so many things here in South Africa.

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