i was considering, i was, my friends and colleagues over in South Africa, or if you like the Africa of the South, earlier today. a year ago today, look you see, marked the end of my time at verk with them. a tough, heartwrenching and hard decision to make it was, but as those who know me will know, i wished to come home. and remain very, very glad, of course, that i am home.
i had no idea at all today was the day that South Africans around the world voted in advance of the election next week - the one they have slotted in around that minor murder trial and series of strikes.
the scary side is, of course, just how many people from SA are living here. but this has to be somewhat tempered by the fact that they are not all living in London (innit). as far as i am aware, London is the only place South Africans in the UK can go to vote, rather like the somewhat arse-headed and very counter productive move in Australia (g'day), where South Africans need to travel to Canberra to cast a vote. i would suspect that those living in NZ are expected to go Canberra too.
no, in answer to your question. no i did not travel to vote. why not? because i am not, nor ever have been, a citizen of that fine land. i was a mere guest on a residency visa. whilst this allowed me to cast my vote in that famous 1994 election, the law was changed so that from the next, 1999, onwards i could not. which is fair enough, i suppose - their land, their law.
it is impressive that so many have seemingly turned up all over the world to cast a vote. quite a level of dedication, and indeed a sense of remaining tied to their land of birth. obviously i understand the sentiment entirely, since the links to my own home country are and were always going to be very strong indeed.
did i vote in UK elections during my time in SA? no. i looked into it, but i was rather dubious about what i saw. for a start it seemed to be possible to do only via an organization called 'Conservatives Abroad'. they wanted what i would consider an unreasonable amount of money to allow me to vote, and there was no indication of exactly how my vote would be allocated. it didn't seem constituency-specific, as i would have expected, so i feared that the ruling party would simply take my vote and apply it wherever there was a "shortfall".
with SA's proportional representation system i imagine everything is a good deal more transparent and clear in regards of what vote goes where. maybe.
i expect images like these will, in the absence of Oscar trial juice, cause some senasational headlines here and there. "the sad face of those forced out of their country", "the true scale of the brain drain", "are you happy now, Bono?", that sort of thing. it would be misleading.
London (innit) has of course been a draw and an attraction for many, many thousands over the years. in terms of national populations, for instance, London is France's 4th biggest city. and Bono never ever got upset about the French. quite the opposite, in truth, if rumours of his [REMOVED ON LEGAL ADVICE] are founded, nice as her Bowie cover was.
that these people have sought the life they want elsewhere but still care about the future, immediate and long term, of their place of birth is admirable and to be celebrated. and, of course, to be exploited by South African fast food outlets operating in the area.
Spiros, by the way, is absolutely thrilled by the large number of French in London (innit). "Les Hommes" he calls them, believing himself to be quite the kindred spirit.
anyway, off to watch the last moments of John Terry not needing his shin pads for any finals this season, then off to bed.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!