So long and thanks for all the fish

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Don’t panic! We are not the next unfortunate local website to close. Critical Hit is very healthy and will hopefully be around for many years to come.However, I can’t say the same for myself.

As some of you know I’m uprooting my family and leaving South Africa in the next two weeks…for the third time. Yes in 2001 my wife and I left for London for 2 years and then came back once our first daughter was born. Then in 2008, we left for Brisbane, Australia where we stuck around for 2 years before deciding that South Africa actually offered us a better quality of life for our family.

We arrived back in 2010 and I have never regretted that decision. I love South Africa. I love the people, the culture and the quality of life that we (in the middle class at least) really enjoy.

So why am I leaving now? Well, it’s the fact that everyone keeps asking me this that I thought I’d do an article about it to answer all the questions and let you know about the exciting adventure that lies ahead.

There are 3 main reasons why we decided to emigrate:

Why Are We Leaving?

Tertiary Education

I’m so old that both of my children are now in high school and it is time for us to start looking at options for tertiary education. Unfortunately, the Fees Must Fall protests over the last few years have worried me quite a bit. The country can’t afford free tertiary education now and the violence that has followed some of these protests have left me feeling cold. I have two daughters and the thought of them being stuck in some of those protests is just something I couldn’t shake. To be clear, most of the protests were peaceful, it was amazing to see people standing together to fight for a cause and I wish them all the best in getting it.

My one daughter is also interested in becoming a doctor and the truth is that we have quotas in our tertiary education and being white and not disabled does mean she will find it much harder to get into medicine. There are workarounds that I am aware of but that doesn’t change the fact that she has far less chance of becoming a doctor in South Africa compared to elsewhere simply due to her skin colour.

Corrupt Politicians

We phoned the estate agent the day after Zuma survived his last motion of no confidence. It was clear (well I thought it was) at the time that the ANC would protect Zuma come hell or high water and his “alleged” plundering of our countries resources were just too much for me to stand. He became so brazen in his “alleged” corrupt dealings that it became accepted by all and not even being found guilty by the constitutional court seemed to change anything.

It was the first time since 1994 that I was honestly worried about the future of the country in the long-term. Thankfully the ANC appears to finally be self-correcting but it’s still a long journey to go and I’m not convinced enough that the country will sufficiently self-correct in the next 3 years and I have to put my family’s future first.

Cost of Living

Have you seen the cost of food recently? We were having lunch with some expats who now live in Switzerland on Sunday and they were telling me how incredibly expensive food shopping is in South Africa. I’ve heard the same from friends living in the UK and Spain recently which actually made me feel better as I thought I was losing my mind. Food prices just seem to be exploding and our quality of living in that regard has been suffering.

I also feel our income tax is also extremely high when viewed in relation to what we get back from the government. It feels like we have a lot of private tax on top of the 40% income tax that we are being charged. Private taxes in my mind would include medical aid, security companies, private schooling and more leaving us with very little, if any, disposable income.

Do we hate South Africa?

This is a common question asked in a multitude of ways and the very simple answer is “No. No, we don’t”. We love this country and pretty much everything about it. Our lifestyle is probably going to be worse for leaving and that is the extremely difficult decision we had to make as we feel this is the best thing for our children’s future.

If my kids were in early primary school we wouldn’t be leaving. I strongly believe the country is going to come out of the Zuma years stronger than ever and once again be a shining light in the world as we were when Madiba and Mbeki were president.

However, that doesn’t mean we are going to come back in the future. We’ve sold everything here – in the previous trips we always kept our property as we always planned to come back. We are not planning to ever come back except for holidays and business.

So where are we going?

We don’t know. Yes seriously, we actually don’t know where we are going to end up even though we all leave on the 21st of March 2018.

Thankfully we are in the enviable position of all possessing British passports so we can travel Europe, for now, freely. Our first stop will be in Dubai for a much needed holiday. After that, we will be flying to London to conclude some business and purchase a car. We are then driving from London to Paris and then onto Barcelona where we will be staying for the first 3 months and then we literally have no plans after that.

If you have lived or visited places in Europe that you absolutely feel we must visit please let me know in the comments below. My wife wants to live on a Greek Island for a while to live out her Mamma Mia fantasy and we’ll probably be in Germany for Gamescom as I’m still a gamer but that’s really all we have right now.

The rough plan is that we will travel Europe for the next 18 months before finding somewhere to settle down. I am very fortunate that I can continue with my job from anywhere in the world so I will still be employed(ish) and as long as I have internet I can work. This is the beauty of the internet.

As for my daughters, they will continue their studies online doing their IGCSE’s which is the English educational system after which they will do their A-Levels and then will be ready for university.

One of our end goals is Canada as the country appeals to me for various reasons, excluding their weather. But in all reality, we may end up anywhere in Europe.

So what now?

The eagle-eyed amongst you would have noticed I barely post anything on Critical Hit anymore and that was by design. I’ve handed over to Geoff, who’s run and managed the place for the last few years as I wanted to start some new adventures. I just didn’t realise it would be this.

I’ll still be online commenting on articles and you can follow me on Twitter. However, be forewarned I get very political and say naughty words on there so don’t follow me for happiness and gaming. If you want to see pictures of our travels you can follow me on Instagram, I’ve not used it for a while but I plan on taking quite a few pictures to record our adventures.

I’d like to thank (nearly) everyone in the local gaming industry for all the friendship and fun over the past 10 years that I’ve been part of it. Some of my best memories have come from being associated with this site and while I hope this isn’t the end of the gaming adventure I do know it’ll likely be a break from it for the next year or two.

Some of my very best friends have also been made in gaming and while the gaming community sometimes deserves its bad rap for being entitled, extremely vocal and toxic, I can also say that some of the most generous and friendly people in the world are gamers.

And on that bombshell, goodbye.

Last Updated: February 28, 2018

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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