Catherine Parker

The sharpened outline of a South African

Thought Leader often becomes the platform for The Great Emigration Debate, probably because there is such a collision of minds reading, writing and commenting in one place: expats who have left and who are defensive about it, expats who are dying to come home, those in South Africa who are thinking of leaving, and those…

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“African-American”: meaning what, exactly?

One of my favourite stories illustrating the fragility of US race relations is that of Trevor Richards, a South African who emigrated with his parents from Johannesburg to the States in 1998. Six years later, at his school in Omaha, Nebraska, fifteen year old Trevor (with the help of two classmates) nominated himself as a…

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Walking on HR eggshells

Before I joined my current company, I worked for a small firm in San Francisco where part of my role involved interviewing people to join our team. Before I was allowed to interview anyone though, I had to go through human resources training about the types of questions I was and was not allowed to…

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US sport: A marketer’s dream

This weekend, I watched a cricket match. I don’t mean I joined some fellow South Africans and crammed into one of the few pubs in the city that broadcasts cricket and rugby. No, I mean I watched a live cricket game, which, in the US, is about as rare an event as hen’s teeth. It…

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I left my liberal heart in San Francisco

I live in a bubble of liberalism. Not just within the US, but even within the state of California, which is in itself almost a different country to the rest of the States. In San Francisco, I am in a place where freedom of speech is a point of pride, and rightfully so (within the…

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Perfect state or police state?

One of the things that has been hard for me to get used to about living in the US is the feeling of being policed at every turn. Here, my life is filled with a multitude of rules and regulations, along with a strong presence of law enforcement officials to make sure that I follow…

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The abused becomes the abuser

Immigration is as old as human society itself. It’s in our nature to move forward, whether to seek out better opportunities or to leave behind persecution. After all South Africa has been through, particularly over the last 60 years, one would think that we’d have a little bit more compassion than most for those trying…

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Why homesickness is a good thing

I’ve never met a South African overseas who isn’t homesick. I thought about that statement for a while, and then wondered whether I was exaggerating. Yes, it’s true that I haven’t been to every country in the world and for all I know, there may be many South Africans who live overseas and never give…

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