We are on a plane again. This time, we are making our passage to India.
Johannesburg was more dynamic than we remembered from our visit last year. More shopping malls. More new restaurants. The place is booming.
“Yes it is very nice…very full of life,” says the pretty South African woman, now sitting to our left. “But crime hangs over your head all the time. You always have to be careful. That part of it is not so nice. I have never been a victim of it…but you are always reminded. You don’t walk down the street. You don’t leave the doors of your car unlocked. You always have security guards and electric fences.”
“Do you have a Plan B?” we wanted to know.
“Well, we’re leaving South Africa next year. I love the place. My family’s been there for hundreds of years. We’re Africaaners, not English…we feel we are part of the country. I had to learn English in school; almost no one spoke it in the town where I grew up. We feel it really is our country. And it’s beautiful. But my husband is a pilot. He’s 50 years old, so he was a pilot in the South African Air Force before the Blacks took over. So, they call him an ‘apartheid pilot’. They’re trying to get rid of the ‘apartheid pilots’ and replace them with Blacks. The trouble is, there aren’t many qualified Black pilots…so they’re training them in Australia. But it takes years.
“My husband and the other ‘apartheid pilots’ are probably the best in the country. But they’ve got to leave to find work elsewhere. We’re going to China. A new airline is hiring a lot of them. Jade Airlines, I think it is called. We’re going to live in Shenzhen, China. It’s going to be very exciting. But I will miss South Africa.”
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