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The top things South Africans miss when living abroad

By July 3, 2018February 7th, 2023FinGlobal

The top things South Africans miss when living abroad

July 3, 2018


There are many South Africans living all over the world and the reasons they have left South Africa are as varied as the countries they are currently living in. However, all you have to do is visit a rugby match where the Springboks are playing abroad to know that “once a South African, always a South African”. We spoke to a number of expats and here is a list of things they like to reminisce about when it comes to South Africa:

What South Africans miss when living abroad


You either love them or you hate them – but they are a unique part of South Africa that expats often fondly miss when they are abroad. Their unique screech first thing at around 4.30 am in the morning is the South African alarm clock we all love to hate.


Petrol attendants

The friendly faces of petrol attendants as they rush to help you fill up your car are one of the top things South Africans (and foreign expats miss) when they move abroad. Not only do you get to catch up on everything that is going on in your neighbourhood with a quick chat, but you also leave with your tank filled and a smile on your face.


Cape Town

The mountain, the sea, Chapman’s Peak, the restaurants, sunset at Signal Hill, Kirstenbosch, the penguins, walking in the Tokai forest – the list can go on and on. Not surprisingly Cape Town is loved by everyone who visits and has a special place in South African hearts when they are far away.


Ons gaan nòù braai!

Yes you can ‘barbeque’ abroad. However there is nothing quite like a South African braai with traditional boerewors made at your favourite local butcher and the biltong you just can’t live without. Add to this the South African jokes and irreverence – and it’s an occasion that just can’t be replicated.



As every South African student knows – when the Jacarandas start blooming, you better have started studying because the end-of-year exams are just around the corner. The beautiful purple blooms of these wonderful trees create a carpet on the ground every year that just takes everyone’s breath away.


Now, now

I’ll do it now, now. He’ll get to it just now. No one quite knows what that means unless you are South African – and for your first year abroad you might find people looking at you a little strangely when you say “I’ll do it just now” and then only get to the task half an hour later. Talking “South African” is something every expat misses. Shame!


Highveld Storms

You have never known a storm unless you have lived through an electric Highveld thunderstorm! The lightening, the thunder, the beautiful smell in the air afterwards with the world washed clean. It’s an experience that just can’t be replicated.


11 national languages

The best part of walking through any busy street in South Africa is hearing the mix of all the local languages and being able to ‘sort of understand’ what everyone is saying!


If you are a South African living abroad and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through financial emigration, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today.


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