How ZAbroad was conceived and why we do what we do
It is a while ago that Retha and I left our home countries (South Africa and Spain respectively) with the intention to explore new places and new people. Retha left for the U.S. in 2002 and I left for Austria in the very late 90’s and for the last 16 years we have been moving around the world almost non-stop.
AWAY FROM HOME
While away, people, in particular our family and friends, ask us to share our experiences and thoughts about living abroad. This is easier said that done, as it is really complex to explain in a couple of sentences or pictures how it feels to be far away from home.
So, we tried to keep our families updated through postcards and letters at a time when telephone calls would ruin you and an internet was only attainable by a few and more often than not, it was a one-way connection. Retha would regularly send postcards to Grandma and Mom telling them about her adventures in different places and I would call, every now and then, as in my family we are not very fond of written communication.
Later, when the internet came into play, we would call or write emails to the ones connected to the net but Retha continued sending postcards as she is a bit of a romantic.
It was in 2011 before setting off for Borneo that we had the idea of acquiring a video camera and recording our lives in the middle of the Bornean jungle – if not for the enjoyment of our families then at least as a keepsake for our future selves. (Not excluding the potential as measure of embarrassment to our future children as we insist all their teenage friends watch it while we reminisce over a bottle of red wine about days gone past!) At any rate, it is pretty difficult to explain with words how it feels to wake up in the early morning in a wooden house on stilts on a Bornean river surrounded by monkeys, snakes and a monitor lizard that in months to come would become our faithful companions in the kampung (village).
THE CONCEPTION OF ZABROAD
Sunset conversations on our private jetty over a cold one lead to the realization that perhaps the families and friends of other South African expats would be interested in seeing how their relatives were experiencing the start of a new life in their respective countries of residence. Consequently, we started to make contact with several expats in peninsular Malaysia, asking them for an interview about their adventures in their respective cities. We combined these conversations with some picturesque and symbolic photograms of those places and an idea was born. ZAbroad started to take shape. That was back in 2013. A lot has happened since.
WHAT WE BELIEVE IN
We are both ardent believers in the beauty and potential of South Africa and her people. In most of our encounters with fellow countrymen, we have found one thing to be true: South Africans reinforce their roots and culture while away from home. In spite of the current realities South Africans face, East West aspires to remind our community of that elusive “something” South Africans have – that thing that makes us embrace each other when we sing the national anthem, wear the flag with pride or organize potjiekos competitions. Making biltong in tropical temperatures with spices snuck in through customs, having bake sales with koeksisters, melktert and Amarula cheesecake and living and dying by the motto: “Where there’s a will, there’s a braai.”
WHAT WE DO
ZAbroad attempts to give a realistic and truthful portrait of all those fellow South African expats beginning or living a new life in a foreign country. Think of it as a travel reality show.
This show is something for you;
Expats living abroad
-If you are already an expat living abroad for a while. You will find among our talents a bunch of soul mates making their own new experiences, the same way you have made it happen for yourself some time ago.
Relatives of an expat
-If you are relative of an expat, you will find it easier to understand the way your family members feel while spending time away in foreign cultures and how alienating and overwhelming it can be to return home with all those new experiences acquired over time.
Somebody thinking of moving out from SA
-If you are somebody with the thrive to move out from South Africa or you are thinking of doing it, you will find helpful information about the possibilities open to you in different countries and the pros and cons of every place. Our blog will provide you with practical and useful information about the places we feature and whether you want to go on holiday or relocate, it might make your journey just a little less stressful.
If you visited these places
-If you have lived in a place we feature, it might be a great trip down memory lane for you. See the places you frequented, the food you ate and the quirky aspects of the culture you forgot you knew.
If you live in SA but want to discover how other SAn's share passion and love for their country
-If you live in South Africa and never thought of looking for a new place to live any other than home, you will discover that the South Africans overseas often share the same passion and love for their home country as you do and that most of them long for the big and small comforts of home.
WHY WE ARE UNIQUE
ZAbroad is unique because of our people. South Africans from all walks of life are our presenters and no two shows are the same. We hope that you all will enjoy watching and journeying with us and the other South Africans zabroad. East West wishes for the show to be a meeting point for every South African all over the world. We want to bring you a digital postcard of the wonderful places we see and the even more wonderful people we meet. And, of course, we want to hear from you. Let us know where we should go next and who we should meet.