Welcome to our A World In Motion series. The last two years have been a time when many people confronted the significance of mobility and borders – in our own personal lives and the lives of others. With much talk of people arriving in South Africa, it is also important to acknowledge that many South Africans move to other countries too. Our world is one that is in motion.
We speak to James Connolly who moved from Cape Town to Maun, Botswana
Why did you decide to move to Botswana and what city/town do you live in?
We chose to come to Botswana for its natural beauty and freedom of life style. We are based in Maun in the North West, next to the Okavango Delta. Maun has an amazing community spirit and is friendly and inclusive place to live.
What do you do there?
We have recently opened a cafe-bar in Maun.
Have you found it to be a welcoming country and city to live in?
Yes, Botswana is a very friendly country and Maun has been very welcoming to us. Coming into a close knit-community as an outsider can be daunting, but being a tourist town, Maun is socially open and friendly. Being out of the loop can make you feel unwelcome at times but once you get into the swing of things and get to know the community the place quickly becomes like home.
What are some things that you have done to help with your integration into the country that you are now living in?
I joined the social rugby team, action cricket, and generally see people out and about in town. Opening a cafe has greatly increased my integration as I interact with the community daily. Interacting with different groups and ages is the best way to integrate into a place.
Do you think it is important to make an effort to integrate into the new society you find yourself in?
Yes. You never know when you will need help from your neighbour or a passing stranger. Also, to live a fulfilling life in a new place it is important to set yourself up with friends. Networking with a wide variety of people can unlock great opportunities for you.
How is your life there different to your life in South Africa?
There are more opportunities here and I have the ability to directly help and train many people. Also, the quality of life here is incredible and having the Delta on your doorstep is an unbelievable privilege.
What do you miss about South Africa?
Diversity of people and environments. It will always be home.
Do you see yourself moving back to South Africa in the future?
It is not off the cards but I am pretty settled here at the moment. I enjoy my lifestyle and the outdoor freedom here.