Migration and Marriage

Many of you will know that my ‘Come humble or be humbled’ post was published in the SA People online magazine. (http://www.sapeople.com/2015/02/16/moving-australia-come-humble/) It was shared a cool 3800 times via facebook. Woohoo!!! I am not bragging…well maybe a little bit. It does also show that it hit a nerve. One of the questions in the comment section however was, totally off the point, whether I have degrees and if I left it at home. (For the record – not one moment did I imply that a degree is not a good to have. I said it was one way to a job. Not THE ONLY way to a job.)

But, yes, mr. commentator, I have a degree. I have two in fact (three if you count my ‘ruggraat’). I have a B.Iuris degree, a B.A. Honnors in Latin and I finished most of my LLB degree. I am also a qualified facilitator and I have my MA (Short for ‘mamma’ degree – though I am constantly amending my thesis because my two subjects keep changing the rules.) I did not finish my articles and I was a legal advisor at a legal expenses insurance company for many years. And though I have not used my degrees here, except for my own purposes, I did not leave my experience and the memories of what I encountered behind.

I had the privilege to consult with people who could not afford legal counsel. I was faced with many, many stories that will stay with me forever. The most heartbreaking stories were those involving relationships. I had men crying in my office when the love of their lives cheated on them. I consulted with women who were battered to such an extent that their faces changed shape because of the assaults. I have seen things and I have heard things…

One of lessons that I have learnt is that the break up of relationships is almost ALWAYS messy. It is blood and guts and torment that is indescribable. And sometimes getting out is the only way to self preservation. But it hurts irrespective…

Over the past 6 years I have heard of numerous marriages here in Australia that have not survived. Migration takes a toll on many, many levels. I have recently finished a book on migration, called Migrasie – Die Eerste 1000 Dae (it will be available within the next couple of months) and there is an article regarding marriages and migration and what to lookout for. In Afrikaans we say, “Dit is die klein jakkalsies wat die wingerde verwoes.” (It is the small things that can do the most harm.)

Dear Migrant to the Great South Land,

this post may not be funny, may not make you laugh, may not be a joy to read, but it needs to be written. If you are having marital problems (I am not a counsellor, I am only relating what I have seen and hear happen) please get professional help before you come over. You and your marriage are worth the time and the effort.

Migration takes a hell of a lot out of you. You are emotionally and often times physically exhausted. This is NOT an easy road (nothing worthwhile ever is). Migration is not the reason people do not stay together, but it sometimes is a contributing factor, the proverbial last straw that breaks the camel’s back.

You and your partner must be united in this move. You cannot be divided because the blame game will be played sometime or the other and some one will be at the losing end, and then you are here, without the support network that you so desperately need.

You can succeed at this thing called migration and it is so much more fun when you share it with your best mate and the love of your life.

Much love,



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