Expats, come home and build SA
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Show your goodness and return to the Rainbow Nation. You owe it to your family, yourself and your fellow citizens, says Yusuf Abramjee.
Johannesburg - I have just returned from London where I addressed expatriates as part of the Homecoming Revolution initiative.
Thousands of South Africans work in the UK and other parts of the world.
Homecoming Revolution was founded by Angel Jones, the chief executive, and one of the most passionate South Africans I have met.
Some 350 000 South Africans have returned home over the past few years and it appears more are planning to return to their motherland.
It was a humbling experience to participate on such an important platform and I’ll share the thoughts I presented at the London Expo.
The time has come to ask: What can I do for my country? LeadSA constantly encourages citizens to stand up, do the right thing and make a difference.
The initiative was launched on the back of the 2010 Fifa World Cup and it continues to grow. We need to continue spreading the LeadSA philosophy.
South Africa is plagued by a series of “problems” – or as the government calls them, “challenges”. Crime, corruption, poverty, e-tolls, load shedding, poor service delivery and potholes are just some of the issues we have to deal with.
We cannot sit back and expect the government to take the lead. We must all take the lead and become active citizens.
As Jones puts it: “Don’t wait until it gets better, come home and make it better.”
We have a great constitution that enshrines our rights as citizens, but we have a responsibility to ensure these rights.
Earning pounds, dollars and euros is tempting. South Africa is losing doctors, nurses, engineers and other professionals. But, we need you back home.
We need your expertise and need you to come to where you belong and help us build a better South Africa.
Our country is not only about Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani.
We have much more. We have lots to offer.
As we celebrate 20 years of freedom, you need to ensure that you vote on May 7, wherever you are.
You may be outside South Africa, but every vote counts.
Nelson Mandela said: “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”
Show your goodness and return to the Rainbow Nation. You owe it to your family, yourself and your fellow citizens. You owe it to your country.
The words of former president Thabo Mbeki come to mind: “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.”
Remember, you can begin a movement and turn the tide of history.
I was delighted to read a tweet: “Our children are home after six years in London. Enjoying Stellenbosch. Lekka in SA.”
It is stories like these that make us feel proud.
Crime is a problem. My family and I fell victim to an armed robbery at our Pretoria home in November.
I could have put my head in the sand. I could have decided to leave South Africa. But no, I decided to stand up and continue to fight the scourge.
This is the duty of every citizen.
In October, we will host the first Crime Stoppers International conference in Cape Town.
We need to unite the world.
South Africa has many unsung heroes and heroines.
We need expats to come home and join hands with millions of fellow citizens as we continue our journey to a better and prosperous South Africa.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.
* Yusuf Abramjee is a LeadSA activist and the head of Crime Line.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.