Home away from home.
The dream of something bigger, better, successful because, unfortunately, the situation in their country is not suitable for such an environment.
People always decide to move abroad and Dubai becomes that top destination. A land that has been home to more than 9 million people and most of them come from all over Africa.
South Africans living in Dubai
During a visit to Dubai earlier this month, I met many Africans trying to find their feet in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city.
Take Dawayne from South Africa, who has been living in Dubai for eight months. He admitted the adjustment has been difficult, citing factors such as the heat, and long hours of hospitality as one of the waiters at the Swissotel Al Ghurair Hotel.
The Cape Town native has an infectious personality, his smile and sense of humor can’t be ignored – it’s a simple reminder of home. He said moving to Dubai was easy as some family members live in the UAE, adding that nothing feels better when a stranger surprises him and brings him a gift from home such as a pack of rooibos.
NOW READ: A tale of two cities: Five places to visit in Dubai
Another native of Cape Town, Shireen decided to stay in the oil-rich city after being stuck in the city due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Working and living in Dubai has been a great career for the former general manager of a financial institution in SA.
She is open in saying that she feels she has gone backwards as the cost of living in Dubai is very high and working as a receptionist is not enough to meet financial needs such as paying for her daughter’s school fees.
The story between the working class and the rich is a bad one, which is in any case in the world.
The good and the bad
Take Sally who grew up in South Africa and is of Kenyan descent who says she is not going anywhere, as she is in Dubai she is comfortable and happy.
His move was only for his work. “I didn’t hesitate to do it [the decision] from what I saw as the benefits of living in Dubai, such as improved security, better pay, and a travel hub that makes international travel easy and affordable”.
For Sally, the convenience and basic amenities to work are some of the many advantages she values.
“Another professional has a sense of belonging, and almost everyone being an ex, almost everyone has that shared experience and we are all part of that community so negative experiences from SA like the experience of the ‘other’ and. prejudice against foreigners are not common.”
He adds that there is a “shared identity” between ex-lovers and a sense of belonging.
“The fact that there are opportunities and services and the opportunity to have a good and accessible life for ex-pats and locals alike helps foster that sense of belonging.”
He was honest when he said the negatives found are still very common in the world.
ALSO READ: Don’t do it December delay: Tips for booking your flights for the year-end holiday
“From time to time you hear cases of people being treated badly by staff due to their race, nationality or gender (for example, a taxi driver denying a black person a ride).
“This is obviously not different from many countries (if not all) in the world but it is so easy to get caught up in the ‘perfection’ of Dubai that when these things happen, it really shakes you and it is a fact that although the infrastructure is there, the systems are working and everything that good.
Sally explains incidents of discrimination can be reported and is comforted by the fact that law enforcement is quick to act.
To take care of their people
Having traveled to several countries around the world including SA, Bernice, from Nambia, says her adjustment was not as difficult as when she had gone to the UAE before.
The biggest change in life was meeting his soul mate, whom he affectionately calls “Habibi”. “He is my happy place.
He currently works at Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark, the job takes up most of his time, however, he has many happy times such as international friends who come to visit.
And like others, he reiterated the cost of life is not for the desperate. “Dubai [isn’t] cheap. The currency is stronger than SA’s, and to make a living here, you’ll have to have a well-paying job.
He concluded, “Overall, it’s a very developed country. Other countries could definitely take a few tips and tricks on how to take care of their people”.