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What do you miss the most about South Africa and what is the one thing you wish you could have packed in your suitcase when you emigrated?

Feb 7, 2024

AfriForum Worldwide recently asked our Worldwide friends this question. Most of them agreed that they would have wanted to take their family and friends with them, because they miss them tremendously.

We also compiled a list of some of the other things that people miss the most and that they wish they could have packed in their suitcase.

  1. Wow, that is one colossal question with a list as long as my arm. Can I pack the Bushveld, the warm sun, South Africa’s delicious food and our family who still live there in my suitcase? – Marcel de Beer, Bury St Edmunds

  2. I miss my family, of course, I miss petrol attendants (having to put petrol in your car in temperatures of -20° C can get COLD), I miss driving 500 km and going through three to four provinces. I miss speaking Afrikaans in the supermarket and bumping into the whole town in Spar after church. I wish I had packed more Afrikaans books, I wish I had packed all my protea décor, I wish I had packed all my three-legged black cast iron pots. – Magdel Jansen van Vuuren, Canada

  3. The smell of braai fires, “braaibroodjies”, and to be able to swim on a hot day. I burst out in tears when my mother sent me a box of Ultramel Custard. Mrs. Balls Chutney and Wellington’s Sweet Chilli sauce are like gold in our house. I wish I could pack my whole family in my suitcase. Some days I miss them a lot. We miss the Sunday braais and sitting on the verandah with the family, and we miss the South African sense of humour and the languages. I miss it to hear Afrikaans, Zulu, Sotho and isiXhosa. – Dorette Vermeulen, London

  4. The only thing we really miss are our families that we really wish we could see more of.  But we have everything here that we need, and because we often go to South Africa we can get everything we like there. Stuff like Old Khaki shirts, Puma vellies, and of course, products from every woman’s favourite shop, Woolies. – Gerhard van Eeden, Ireland

  5. Biltong, boerewors, Ouma Rusks and Bovril. And Spray and Cook. And I miss my little school, the children and parents who are like family. I miss free toilets. Here you need to pay to use public toilets, even in the shopping malls and at McDonald’s. – Jolene Harley, Bavaria, Germany

  6. What I miss the most are the conversations with people you’ve known since childhood, or coffee with my mom. Video calls and calls only go that far and we quickly learned that a smile on a video call doesn’t necessarily mean everything is going great on the other side of the line. It is very easy to pretend.

    There is nothing else I would have wanted to pack in, except two of my dogs that are now staying with family. – Alecia Odendaal, The Netherlands

  7. The likelihood of understanding everyone around you and to conduct business or personal matters without translation software or possible misunderstandings. The one thing we would have liked to bring with us, is certain foods or tastes, including salt and vinegar chips, fresh seafood, and a never-ending supply of biltong and dry wors. Although we used to make biltong here a few times to supply our colleagues (they were very impressed). – Carmen Ebersohn, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

What is the one thing you wish you could have packed in your suitcase when you emigrated? We would like to hear from you, let us know in the commentary or send an email to

Photo: Freepik/ Dc Studio

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