I used to think that nobody could change me. Nobody will change my slang. Nobody can convert my accent. I used to think that everything was a comparison to Africa. “In Africa this, in Africa that”…
I used to get angry at the social systems that challenged my past, that walked all over my understandings, my values and my beliefs. I used to get frustrated at the ‘’lack of soul and energy’’ my new life had.
I used to live my new life in my old head.
Being ‘exotic’ or ‘different’ has done two things for me. In some ways it seemed to separate me from Australia, making me yearn for a place to belong and to fit in again.
It was like being that new guy in school. I had to learn to adjust and to do it quickly.
It has also made me not only understand my own culture a lot more, but to question some of my own ways and make adjustments in my new life.
I am South African. Four words I find myself saying to people on a daily basis.
Immigration will test your will power, your determination and ability to see it through to the end. Battling the financial requirements with a currency working against me initially, has only been part of the challenge. Emotionally, it is another story altogether.
“Letting go” has been the best thing I have done. Letting go of that deep, sunken resistance to change. That stubborn energy that says “I am South African, and this is how it is done.” Having my history and my cultural background will always be part of me. It has shaped me and continued to shape me, but we are notorious as Africans for being aggressive in our ways at times. Since letting go of this notion, I have lived a free life. I have dived into many cultures, I have learnt about many people. I live a life of freedom, happiness and satisfaction. My relationships are stronger, I make friends more easily and most importantly, I do what I love.
You may miss the African sky, the sunsets and the birds. You may miss the smell of the land, the vibrancy and the sand. You may miss the friends and family and all that shaped our plan. But once you open your eyes to Australia, you will see a massive helping hand.
Immigration is not for the faint hearted, it will make you or it will break you. It will make you understand the world a lot more. Above all, immigration is a test of your patience, your tenacity and your determination to create your future life. And if you can survive that test, you are in for a magical journey.
Nobody said we had to forget. Nobody said we had to let go altogether. But it is equally important to reward yourself with a chance, to wake up and embrace change for a day. And when you can do this, you will wish you had done it sooner.
Its okay to feel. Its okay to be sad. Leaving Africa is like a long break up. But just remember:
“Africa is not just a place, it is a feeling
It is the heart of the world and only a few of us have been touched by her
Africa defines our soul and people just feel it, they just know.”
– Kevin Fraser –
Kevin Fraser is a South African Comedian/DJ now based in Australia. His unique style of comedy is influenced and supported by his musical ability to create a special live performance. You can catch him live at one of his shows:
BRISBANE: November 5th at The Twelfth Night Theatre. Tickets selling via Ticketmaster.
PERTH: March 4th at The Octagon Theatre
All details: www.facebook.com/kevinfraserofficial