Emigration Focus


Transnational Therapy​

I read somewhere that airports are story-making factories: People waiting to watch their loved ones walk further and further away from them until they can no longer be seen. Today is my turn…you with a backpack filled with dreams on your way to another continent and me with my memories bidding you farewell, not knowing when I will see you again. I wanted to paste a red and white “Fragile: Handle with care” sticker like a band aid plaster over my heart to ease the pain… –  Sulette Ferreira.

This is the experience of many South African parents left behind after the emigration of an adult child. Migration across continents and regions has been part of human existence for centuries but never have so many people had to wrestle with the loss of a loved one due to dreams and or career opportunities in another country or on another continent as right now.

If home is where the heart is, what happens when your family resides in two different

Emigration has a ripple effect on all family members involved, not just family members, but all loved ones involved. Everyone is affected in a unique way. The relationship as it was known has changed. The ones staying behind deal with different challenges than those emigrating. Each experiencing a loss that needs to be grieved.

Continuous Research

Reliable and up-to-date emigration data is generally hard to find. This is particularly true for the South African scenario (Höppli, 2014:4). The number of South Africans residing in 31 countries had increased from 435 000 in 2000 to 820 000 in 2017, implying an average of 23,000 people leaving South Africa per year (Buckham, 2019). Even the current Covid pandemic and the lockdown has done nothing to stop people leaving South Africa. While the Covid-19 has put a delay on the plans of some South Africans looking to leave the country, it has not put an end to the overall demand.
This results  in a growing generation of parents having to adapt their lives to include their children and grandchildren not living in close proximity as well as being part of a transnational family. 
Therefore, I am passionately researching emigration, especially in the South African context, and the effects thereof on intergenerational relationships in families. I share this knowledge via articles, conferences and workshops, to create awareness among the general public about this ever-increasing phenomenon.
If this is an area you or your family members need help with either before or after emigration, get in touch here.