Streaming issues? Report here
Just the Hits generic CapeTalk Just the Hits generic CapeTalk
Just the Hits
15:00 - 19:00

Up Next: Inside EWN
See full line-up
Just the Hits
15:00 - 19:00

Meet the woman behind South Africa’s tsunami of returning expats

3 November 2014 10:18 AM

We interview Angel Jones who, in 2003, founded the Homecoming Revolution.

(Click here for more "Shapeshifter" articles such as this one.)

Angel Jones at the 2014 Homecoming Revolution London Expo.

You might be living the highlife in London or Perth, earning a fortune with the world at your fingertips, but where do you feel really alive?

Madiba sowed the seeds of the Homecoming Revolution when Jones saw him address a packed Trafalgar Square on a freezing cold Tuesday morning back in 1996. “I grew up always a South African, but never proud of my skin colour or flag,” says Jones. “Then I saw him and he said, ‘I love you all so much. I want to put you in my pocket and take you home’.

“He made us feel so proud of our shiny new South Africa. There was an idea that, actually, if you returned home you weren’t a failure. I realised there were opportunities back on the Continent and that there were stories to tell of those who returned home.”

Why expats are returning home

“People return home for emotional reasons,” says Jones. “They return for a sense of purpose and belonging. They return for friends and family. But they also return for the outdoor lifestyle and to contribute to the economy.”

More than 359 000 professional expats have returned home in the past five years. “The brain drain is reversing!” says Jones. “Economies abroad have slowed, rules around foreign workers have tightened and the viability of South Africa is more certain than ever despite, as usual, nothing being smooth sailing.

“It’s a trade-off to come back, but it’s absolutely worth it!”

Africa is rising and it’s scatterlings long for home

At the last Homecoming Revolution gathering in London there were 650 professionally qualified African looking for jobs so they can return home.

“It’s not just a job fair, however,” says Jones. “It’s an emotional decision to return home. You want to see the stories of other people who have done it for their children and for that sense of belonging. You need information about property, schools, relocation and entrepreneurial opportunities for those who want to start a business.”

An authentic brand

Homecoming Revolution is dedicated to providing a complete picture; both good and bad. “We make a point of asking every single homecomer what the worst part of returning home was for them. We make a point of it, because it’s important to be realistic. We don’t have our heads in the sand, but we just have so much proof of homecomers who are really making a go of it and really loving it.”

Homecoming Revolution, now sponsored by First National Bank, is a fully commercialised, revenue generating organ.

“We’re looking for wider sponsors across the continent. But we’re making our money primarily from human resource budgets that are servicing a lot of businesses in African multi-nationals looking for top talent. We’re head-hunters that market for companies who want to reach the African diaspora in numerous ways including showcasing property, schools, relocation services and all the rest.

“We have more credibility and respect as an organisation now than back when we were purely an NGO,” says Jones.

Stories of expats who have returned

Nicky returns home to work for Michael Jordaan

“I moved to London in 2001 and, in 2005, I heard about Homecoming Revolution. I went to their presentations and heard Michael Jordaan speaking. I leaned over to my friend and said to her, ‘I’m going to move home and I’m going to work for that man.’ Seven years later I’m still working for the First Rand Group.”

Madiba asks Freek Robinson to return home

“I lived in London where I worked as a journalist,” says Robinson. “I went to France to report on Madiba’s first visit back in May 1990. There were hundreds of journalists, but he walked straight up to me and said, ‘Mr Robinson, it’s nice to meet you.’

“He said he watched me many times when he was in prison and that its time for me to come home. So that’s what I did a couple of months after that.”

Crime is down, but remains a problem. Expats return home nonetheless

South Africa is a much less violent country than it used to be. Between 1994 and 2009 the murder rate reduced by 50% but, at 34 murders per 100 000 people, it’s still a huge and on-going concern.

“I returned home to a high walled security estate in Gauteng and I’m very happy to be back!” says a caller named Glen.

“I returned home from Australia against frantically panicked advice. I am completely overjoyed and have never looked back,” says another happy caller.

(Click here for more "Shapeshifter" articles such as this one.)

Also listen to the Souncloud clip for more detail.

This article first appeared on 702 : Meet the woman behind South Africa’s tsunami of returning expats

3 November 2014 10:18 AM

More from ShapeShifter

Humility and grit - Lessons from entrepreneur who bought first business for R1

17 February 2021 8:41 PM

Tech entrepreneur Kirsty Bisset started her business journey as a result of a challenge on The Money Show in 2012.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Picked the wrong job? There's a company that pays you to quit if you're unhappy

22 October 2020 7:06 PM

'If you're happy at work it rubs off on your colleagues and clients' says Gideon Galloway, CEO of King Price Insurance.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Shopping for a home loan? This bond originator pays you back up to R25,000

15 October 2020 7:15 PM

'Self-service' allows clients to benefit from taking full control of the process says MortgageMarket founder Tim Akinnusi.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Amplats boss passionate about making a difference (and the smell of explosives)

27 August 2020 7:18 PM

'The pandemic is an opportunity for innovation'. Natascha Viljoen shares her life story and beliefs on The Money Show.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Together we are solving diabetes, one human at a time - online coaching platform

20 August 2020 7:07 PM

Personalised one-on-one healthcare is the answer to the problems diabetics face says Guidepost CEO, Graham Rowe.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

SA needs 'the Madiba compassion' more than ever now, says Afrika Tikkun CEO

5 August 2020 8:54 PM

Marc Lubner on the NGO's programmes for young South Africans and how working with Nelson Mandela inspired his life's work.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

'My single most important aim is for load shedding to disappear from face of SA'

30 July 2020 6:20 PM

The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield interviews Eskom interim chair and Health Ombud, Prof. Malegapuru Makgoba.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Missing Image Placeholder

Shapeshifter: Springbok-turned-businessman, Bryan Habana

3 June 2020 8:18 PM

Former Springbok Bryan Habana about where he is at this point of his career.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Gloria Serobe (Solidarity Fund) is one of SA's most important people right now

29 April 2020 8:32 PM

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Solidarity Fund Chairperson Gloria Serobe.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Digital banks have started thriving

25 March 2020 8:33 PM

Technological advancements have made it possible for new banks to operate and flourish.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward