Thursday, 11 September 2008

Nice article on negative ex-pat wetmats.

A nice article on South African expats who troll the internet looking for any opportunity to spread the same old outdated netagive gunk. I've encountered both these chappies written about here and man...are they some sad, pathetic cases. Guy, you left South Africa.... Let it go. We don't want or need you and your opinions, especially as they are soaked up in neurosis, lies and racism.

South Africa is my country, my birthplace,” says online blogger Daxk when questioned about his prolific belligerent presence in the many South African expat forums. “My family and I have been part of the country, its wars and its history since 1748.

It has more potential and promise than any other country. It’s being wasted by greed, corruption, arrogance and an inability to learn from its mistakes... If my one small voice out here on the web – complaining, bitching, criticising and pointing things out to international readers – can bring about one millimetre less indifference, then my time is worthwhile.”

Daxk is one of many South African expats living in the ‘big five’ destinations –Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada and America. He left South Africa three-and-a-half years ago after two attempted hijackings and an armed robbery. But a brain-drain statistic is not why Daxk is interesting. Rather, Daxk demands our attention because he has an obsession: a persistent online habit that is damaging to himself (although he may not know it), to others, and depending on one’s sensitivities, is blatantly offensive. It’s his need to spend a sizeable portion of his day on online expat forums penning long commentaries savagely attacking the current state of South Africa.

Daxk is not alone. Day in and day out, there’s a relatively small but very vocal tribe of expats who monitor South Africa’s news and blog sites, constantly reappearing on,,,, and The Telegraph’s blog. Commentators vary in their degree of assault – some merely pass judgement on news issues, and others blatantly advise South Africans to ‘escape’, and foreigners not to invest or, indeed, even visit our country.

Born2Run lives in Perth, Australia – what many refer to as the ‘Far, Far Far East Rand’. He emigrated two-and-a-half years ago and, like others, he cites crime as the motivation to up sticks and move on. He also mentions his frustration with the bureaucratic barriers he encountered while trying to work with various bodies on what was then the looming energy crises. But has he really moved on? He tells me he has settled well into his new Australian life; he has an Australian girlfriend whom he is marrying and plays for an indoor cricket team. “I definitely consider Australia home,” he says. “Australia has been good to me. It has, and is, giving me opportunities I would never have in SA (due to Affirmative Action).” But there’s a catch: he’s on South Africa’s Homecoming Revolution’s website – designed to provide information to South Africans who are considering returning home – on a daily basis, throughout the day, providing his top thousand reasons why South Africa could, should and will fail.

Daxk and Born2Run are constant negative forces. Both cite crime, lack of opportunity and what they see as an unresponsive government. Their web posts range from a few dogmatic lines – Born2Run’s response to the recently released official crime statistics: Why not compare SA’s crime stats to other countries? Let me answer - because there will be NO IMPROVEMENT. SA remains the murder, robbery and hijacking capital of the world. Murders are MARGINALLY down. Robberies are SUBSTANTIALLY up. Hijackings are SUBSTANTIALLY up. All in all, nothing to be happy about. In fact, more to be concerned over – to full page articles citing multiple sources that demand substantial time and effort to collect.

Not only do they expend extraordinary amounts of time posting their views relating to topical issues, they’re also quick off the mark to shoot down new bloggers that join forum discussions with a positive outlook. “Homecoming Revolution gets approximately 15 000 users a month,” says its MD, Martine Schaffer, founder of the site that is predominantly constructive – its modus operandi being to provide returning expat South Africans with the tools to help them seamlessly settle back into the country. “New people are continually logging on and they often contribute in a positive manner to ongoing discussions. However, unfortunately, they can’t keep up with the negative bashing they are open to receiving from other discussion members. The new members, many of whom are returning to the country, certainly have other things to do with their time and can’t carry on day in and day out defending themselves, their decisions or country of birth.”

Schaffer forwards an e-mail she’s just received from Ian MacDonald, online editor of, “Martine, you should really block Born2Run et al. from your blog. You shouldn’t be the platform that allows them to spread their toxic views. If they added something (albeit negative) to the discussion or were constructive or even mostly negative but occasionally supportive, then of course they should be heard… And you wouldn’t be accused of not expressing the ‘other side of the coin’… But the truth is, they are totally destructive and attack EVERYTHING… They have no respect for any other views and for the blog itself. Honestly, their presence deters me from going onto your blog, because I hate to be exposed to their bile. Get rid of them, enable the Homecoming blog to be a forum for constructive, intelligent debate… If they have so much to say, tell them to start their own blog (they certainly seem to have the time!) but tell them that their one-eyed views are no longer welcome on your site!”

Of course, the question is not whether the posts are right or wrong, factual, fabricated or delusional. What is of more interest is what lies behind this compulsive need to lambast the country left behind. Since Columbus sailed the ocean blue, tens of millions of people have travelled to new lands and new lives. Today, in our new global economy, this is easier than ever. And letters home aren’t new, they’re just in a different form – easier, faster and not reserved for your granny or great aunt. Overwhelmingly, these are short snippets or expansive accounts telling those left behind about one’s new life and experiences. They provide news about where one is, not where one has come from.

The first explanation is given by the moderator of one of these sites, “Many of these types of expats have left the country for the wrong reasons. They haven’t moved for new opportunities, but rather feel they’ve been pushed away, and they have to justify their decision to leave.”
“Usually these bloggers are feeling guilty about what they view as abandoning their country,” says David Culverwell, a Rosebank-based psychologist. “To be fair, a lot of them have been through incredibly traumatic experiences and these will stay with them for a very long time.” Certainly Daxk and Born2Run cite the high level of crime as a key factor for leaving. Both admit to being ‘pushed’ away from their homes, leaving behind family and friends. For men, particularly strong South African men, being forced – physically or psychologically – from your home can be a serious blow to your ego. There has to be a level of conviction that they have made the right decision, and what better way to do this than openly voicing their opinions to the world, giving them an element of truth?

The anonymity of blogging also allows one to hide behind an alias. “Emigration may not be easy,” continues the moderator, “often those that have relocated don’t want to talk about their experiences with friends or family for fear of appearing weak.” Culverwell supports this adding, “Research has shown that when people do relocate it can be very difficult and can take up to two years to begin to integrate into the new society. It can be hard to let go, but through computers and the internet it’s possible to sustain a connection with home.” This may explain expat bloggers’ obsessive relationships with South African sites, often logging on up to twenty times a day.

According to the research done by the New York State Psychiatric Institute, “The psychology of place posits that individuals require a ‘good enough’ environment in which to live. They are linked to that environment through three key psychological processes: attachment, familiarity and identity. Place attachment is a mutual caretaking bond between a person and a beloved place, while place identity is concerned with the extraction of a sense of self, based on the places in which one passes one’s life. Each of these psychological processes is threatened by displacement, and the problems of nostalgia, disorientation and alienation may ensue.”

But displacement and justification of their decision to leave is only one layer to this saga. There also appears to be an element of seeing themselves as saviours. And as with all saviours, there has to be a form of martyrdom. Both of our blogger examples have a shockingly unerring sense that they are doing the country good. If they have to sacrifice their South African lives for the greater good, then so be it.

Through their online presence, bitter expat bloggers are pushing what they consider the disrepair of the country into public consciousness, and importantly into the international arena. “The SA government does not listen to its people, any of them,” says Daxk. “Million Man Marches and petitions online or in print mean nothing, [just] another file. There is no worthwhile, effective political opposition party, so voting them [the current government] out won’t happen, not till ‘Jesus comes’ anyway. The only thing that has brought about any change, for example the stance on HIV/Aids, was International Public Exposure.” Born2Run echoes Daxk’s sentiments saying, “Only international pressure and awareness will cause things in SA to change.”

Ironically another site moderator living overseas says he’s noticed more South Africans, mostly white males in their thirties, returning to South Africa than at any other time during the eight years he’s been away. A lot of them check websites like Homecoming Revolution and expatforum to help them make the right decision. Has the negative bashing had an effect on them?
Davon is an expat who recently returned to South Africa with two young children after spending four years in London. He says he never had it in his head that he was going to stay away from his home country forever.

He moved away to try something new; he wasn’t pushed or forced out by circumstance. Was he affected by comments posted on expat sites? “You need to be very careful with some of these sites,” he says. “There are some nasty individuals out there who try to attack your personality and come across as very aggressive and opinionated. Their opinions can have an effect on your mood and decisions when, in reality, they shouldn’t. Everyone’s opinions and circumstances are relevant to their own experiences. This does, however, help you develop a harder skin, so you learn to cope with some individuals and accept good argument and criticisms. You also get exposed to the good and the not-so-good news in SA and various intelligent people’s opinions on subjects – even though some can be positive and some can be negative.”

Did they have any impact on his decision to move back? “Although I believe I would’ve come home to South Africa regardless, the Homecoming Revolution blog made me realise a few things. It made me want to prove the detractors wrong, and made me realise that there are organisations and people out there doing good things. That people out there really want South Africa to succeed. People and organisations are trying to make South Africa better and trying to improve the lives of all South Africans. So, it made me feel even better about my decision.”

Poached from here
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Juan said...


It is a pleasure to read you from Chile, South America, although I am fom Canary Islands, Spain.

The Rooster said...

I'm glad you enjoy it Juan.
What exactly is your interest in the issue ?

Ron. said...

This article was obviously an elite / establishment attempt at dismissing the serious problems of the region by employing a disingenuous rhetorical devise aimed at attempting to discredit the messengers who attempt to inform a larger audience as to the said problems afflicting the region.

The Rooster said...

Whatever man. Do you even live in South Africa ? If not , then you lose your right to an opinion.