The following article was written by a fellow South African. This is an article of hopes and dreams as well as courage and has inspired a huge movement toward the actual realization of such a project. This project, as we speak is already in the planning phase and if you would like further info, or would like to be a part of this project please do not hesitate to contact us and we will put you in touch with the people turning this dream into a reality.
The following article was written by: John van der Linde on 15 March 2019 Titled: South African Immigrants in Uruguay – Envisaged cooperation initiatives
If you are reading this, you are probably seriously considering moving to Uruguay in the foreseeable future to escape the inevitable turmoil and destruction currently escalating in South Africa. Perhaps, like many others, this was not exactly on your bucket list and the timing is certainly not ideal. You’re considering Uruguay as it is relatively easy to get in among other things, but have no job prospects, don’t speak the language, no ‘special skills’ and limited funds to survive on, but you are not alone. Many among us have noticed that immigrants from other countries to South Africa band together and cooperate at different levels to make their transition easier and in some places excel in business and even convert entire areas into a cultural heartland. I may mention the Portuguese and Greek communities in Bedfordview, the Jewish community in Greenside as well as the numerous Indian communities in various provinces around SA. I would like you to take courage from what others have done and realize that we as South Africans can do elsewhere to help us survive and prosper.
In this writing I hope to start capturing the essence of the collective vision of people on the WhatsApp, Facebook groups and those who attended meetings. While many details and legalities are still to be investigated and confirmed, the vision is pretty much this. . . . Proximity. The very essence of the entire matter is proximity. If we could, like many other immigrants do all over the world, settle in a similar area we could benefit from having a community. As war makes strange bedfellows, so does having common grounds help to build relationships and friendships. You will not be alone in a strange country, but will have friends, partners and countrymen around you to lend a helping hand, share a joke, look out for one another for safety and perhaps have the same outlook on faith. In short, we envisage a community of friends and countrymen living in ‘close’ proximity to one another.
Part of the idea is that, as many will not have regular jobs, we will have to use whatever reserves we have to start farms and other businesses, build our own houses, get around to buy supplies, and set up amenities such as sewerage where economies of scale play a major role. As labor is ridiculously expensive, we may need to assist one another with physical labor and pooling other resources. We can negotiate better prices, share facilities; skills; tools and protect one another from getting ripped off as a lone gringo in Uruguay. It may be possible to, for instance buy land together and have more negotiating power as a group rather than as an individual. We could trade with one another. If you could, imagine, one person could farm and sell his produce to the next who processes it into a product which is sold to the guy who has the shop. Many guys will have jobs merely doing work for his neighbour, helping on a farm, building houses or whatever needs doing.
From so many discussions we have all realized that many people are in dire straits as far as emigrating as concerned, and I for one, am concerned that the situation will continue to deteriorate in correlation with the economical and political situation in SA. Considering this, we all realize that many people are and will be escaping with very meager resources and opportunities. South Africans have always been good, caring and giving people and it will break our hearts see our kinsmen suffer gravely, while we do nothing. It is our Christian duty to help them. In order to do this well, we need to set up networks, funds and entities who can deal with this in a concerted and highly efficient manner to make the most of our resources to get as many people as possible saved, settled and self-sustained. Proximity plays a role here again as it becomes harder and more expensive to assist people who are spread across the country. We have discussed crowd funding and job creation as means to fund this, but more needs to be done here. The basic idea is to establish a fund which will buy land and set up dwellings where new arrivals find a roof over their head, orientate themselves and become economically active.
Thus far, the dream has been to get as many expats as possible in the same area where property is not too expensive and not too far from Punta Del Este/Maldonado or Montevideo, possibly in and around a small withering town. There are two options from here 1. Some folks have the means to buy property and will do so either as part of a consortium or on their own. They have full ownership of their property and do what they want on it, be it farming, housing or whatever activity they wish, but they still benefit from having their fellow South Africans around them to have community with and to help and employ as they see fit. 2.The other option is to obtain property owned by a trust, managed by administrators (one job created already) and overseen by a council. The trust should be audited by an independent and qualified firm to avoid any trust issues. This will be common property which will function as a commune, guided by a constitution and have a code of conduct enforced by the council. I myself pray for a rural self-sustaining town which is developed to be aesthetically pleasing, peaceful little town built around a town square, skirted by restaurants/pubs, hand craft shops and art galleries. My dream town is so pretty, tranquil and safe that tourists and locals alike, would flock to our town to spend a weekend or a holiday there, winter or summer. Our town will create jobs for young and old expat and local and could be a cultural hub where artists and the who’s who would want to come and settle or sojourn. This would increase property value exponentially and provide a comfortable place where the expat can integrate at their own pace as well as live out their own culture. Where one can retire in bliss and raise children safely under a big sky having some sense of where they are from and remembering the how Lord has led us through our struggles in history.
• No one must lose anything • Everyone must contribute as far as possible • We give our own people preference as far as possible • Order • We respect the laws of the country, the customs of its people and the integrity of the natural environment • A strong Christian ethos.
Please contact us if you would like further information regarding this particular project.
Thank you so much John van der Linde for sharing your vision with us, as well as the courage you have demonstrated by turning your dream into reality. You are a true inspiration to all of us!