Key Announcements in SA’s State of the Nation Address

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered South Africa’s State of the Nation address last night, and announced a number of changes for the country going forward. Among them are plans to attract foreign direct investment, improve the quality of education, and resolve Eskom’s (the country’s power utility) debt crisis. The date of the 2019 general election was also announced; 8 May. Key announcements are outlined below.

Eskom will be split in three

Government plans to “immediately embark” on a process of establishing three separate entities – Generation, Transmission and Distribution – under Eskom Holdings. “The consequences may be painful, but they will be even more devastating if we delay,” Ramaphosa said.

‘Investment books’ will be compiled for each province

Following the success of the 2018 investment conference which attracted over in R300 billion in investment, Ramaphosa said a second conference will be held in 2019. Investment in South Africa should be spread out in projects throughout the country, Ramaphosa said. “In this regard, I have asked provincial governments to identify investable projects and ensure that we build investment books for each of our nine provinces to present to potential investors,” Ramaphosa said.

A new target to improve South Africa’s ease-of-doing-business ranking

Ramaphosa said the World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report currently ranks South Africa 82 out of 190 countries tracked. The state aims to be among the 50 global performers within the next three years, Ramaphosa said. A team from the Presidency, Invest SA, National Treasury and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will address the policy, legal, regulatory and administrative barriers that frustrate investors.

A requirement for work experience will be dropped in the public sector

It is important that more youth be absorbed into South Africa’s labour market, Ramaphosa said. The government would, therefore, do away with entry-level work experience requirement in the public sector. “Our young people need to be given a real head start in the world of work,” he said.

Release of state-owned land for human settlements

Ramaphosa said as part of accelerated land reform, the government identified land parcels owned by the state for redistribution. Strategically located land will be released to address human settlements needs in urban and peri-urban areas, he said.

Introduction of eVisa regime

The South African government will introduce a “world class” eVisa regime in 2019 to assist in growing the local tourism sector, Ramaphosa said. The goal is reach 21 million tourists by 2030, up from 10 million in 2018. Instead of applying for a South African visa at an embassy, prospective visitors will be able to apply for an eVisa online and the final visa can be printed at home.

New gas and oil legislation after the Brulpadda boon

Following Total’s discovery of “world-class” oil and gas in the Brulpadda field off the coast of South Africa, Ramaphosa said the government will develop legislation to ensure that it is properly regulated for the interests of all concerned. “We are extremely encouraged by the report this morning about the Brulpadda block in the Outeniqua Basin, which some have described as a catalytic find. This could well be a game-changer for our country and will have significant consequences for our country’s energy security…”, ANC National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe stated.

New infrastructure implementation model

Ramaphosa said Cabinet has adopted a new infrastructure implementation model to ensure projects are implemented. He said the new model is underpinned by the new Infrastructure Fund announced in September last year. Ramaphosa said government has committed to contribute R100 billion into the Infrastructure Fund over a 10-year period and use this to leverage financing from the private sector and development finance institutions. “As a first step, we will expand projects underway already, such as student accommodation.”

Eradicate unsafe school toilets within 3 years

Ramaphosa expressed deep sadness at the tragic deaths of Michael Komape, who drowned in a pit toilet at Mahlodumela Primary School in Limpopo in 2014, and Lumka Mkethwa, from Luna Junior Primary School in the Eastern Cape, who lost her life in March last year. He said the government has since August already provided safe and appropriate sanitation to 699 schools, with sanitation at a further 1,150 schools either in planning, design or construction stages. Government identified that nearly 4,000 schools require appropriate sanitation, and hopes to eradicate unsafe sanitation by 2022.

Compulsory early development for all children

The responsibility of early childhood development centres are being migrated from the social development department to basic education, Ramaphosa said. He said during the migration the government will proceed with the process towards two years of compulsory early childhood development for all children before they enter grade 1. “This is essential in equipping children to succeed in education, in work and in life – and it is possibly the single most important factor in overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality,” Ramaphosa said.

Access to a tablet for every pupil by 2025

“Over the next six years, we will provide every school child in South Africa with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device,” Ramaphosa said. He said government will start with the schools that have been historically most disadvantaged and are located in the poorest communities, including farm and rural schools.

New technology subjects, and technical high schools

Ramaphosa said several new technology subjects and specialisations will be introduced into basic education such as technical mathematics and technical sciences, maritime sciences, aviation studies, mining sciences, and aquaponics. Several “ordinary” state schools will also be transformed into technical high schools, he said.

A new bank for housing

If the South African government is to effectively address the substantial housing backlog it needs to develop different models of financing for human settlements, Ramaphosa said. Therefore a new human settlements development bank will be established to leverage both public and private sector financing to aid in housing delivery. He said the state’s housing development agency will construct an additional 500,000 housing units in the next five years..

No taverns, shebeens and liquor outlets near schools

Ramaphosa promised the complete shutdown of all taverns, shebeens and liquor outlets near schools as the country deals with extremely high levels of substance abuse. “South Africa has extremely high levels of substance abuse, which feeds crime and violence against women and children, it deepens poverty and causes great hardship and pain for families. As government, we continue to roll out interventions to address social ills tearing our communities apart, such as alcoholism and substance abuse. Knowing, as we do, that there are strong linkages between substance abuse, drug trafficking, crime and insecurity in communities, we are focusing on tackling this problem at its source through prevention programmes targeting vulnerable persons especially our youth. We are resolute that all taverns, shebeens and liquor outlets near school premises must be shut down,” Ramaphosa stated.

Strengthening the focus on gender-based violence

“We will strengthen the national hotline centre that supports women who experience gender-based violence and ensure it is functional. We have listened to the call to make funds available to combat gender-based violence and have allocated funding in the current budget to support the decisions taken at the [Gender-Based Violence] Summit. Government will lead the campaign to include men and boys as active champions in the struggle against gender-based violence. Ending gender-based violence is an urgent national priority that requires the mobilisation of all South Africans and the involvement of all institutions,” Ramaphosa said.

Scorpions 2.0

Ramaphosa said he agreed with the new NPA head that an investigation directorate dealing with serious corruption and associated offences will be established as soon as possible. In broad terms, the Directorate will focus on the evidence that has emerged from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, other commissions and disciplinary inquiries, Ramaphosa said.

General election date

National elections will be held on May 8.

A war room for public health

The National Health Insurance Bill will soon be submitted to Parliament. The NHI will enable South Africans to receive free services at the point of care in public and private quality-accredited health facilities. Ramaphosa said a ‘War Room’ in the presidency has been established to improve public heallth. “We have a funded national quality health improvement plan to improve every clinic and hospital that will be contracted by the NHI.”

To read the SONA address in full, click here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3]. Image sources: [1], [2].

New Angolan Penal Code Brings Same-Sex Protections; Awaits President’s Signature

Angola has finally shed the divisive “vices against nature” provision in its law, widely interpreted to be a ban on homosexual conduct.

Taking things one step further, the government has also prohibited discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation. And so anyone refusing to employ or provide services to individuals based on their sexual orientation may face up to two years in prison.

The changes came on January 23 as Angola’s parliament adopted its first new penal code since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and removed the provision, inherited from its Portuguese colonizers.

While there have been no known prosecutions under the law, provisions like this one curtail the rights and freedoms of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, subjecting their intimate lives to unwarranted scrutiny.

Colonial-era laws outlawing same-sex conduct give tacit state support to discrimination against gender and sexual minorities, contributing to a climate of impunity. Iris Angola, the country’s only gay rights lobby group, has often complained that its members face discrimination when accessing health care and education.

Last year Angola gave legal status to Iris Angola, which was established in 2013 – a move that can now be seen as a forerunner for this latest step toward equality. The group called the decision an “historic moment” allowing the organization to defend the rights of sexual minorities in Angola. In contrast, Mozambique, another former Portuguese colony, decriminalized homosexuality in 2015, when it too adopted a new penal code, but declined to register the country’s biggest LGBT group, Lambda, leaving it to operate freely, but not legally.

While countries such as India have been compelled by court rulings to strike anti-homosexuality laws from the books, others have done so through legislative reform. Recent examples include Sao Tome and Principe (2012) and Cape Verde (2004) – two other former Portuguese colonies – as well as Lesotho (2012) and Seychelles (2016) in Africa, and Palau (2014) and Nauru (2016) in Oceania.

In casting aside this archaic and insidious relic of the colonial past, Angola has eschewed discrimination and embraced equality. The 69 other countries around the world that still criminalize consensual same-sex conduct should follow its lead.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

From The Hippo’s Ears: Algeria

Facts you may not have know about Algeria:

Algeria, officially the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast.

Algeria has a population of approximately 42 million, is a Unitary, semi-presidential people’s republic, and gained independence from the France in 1962.

1.  When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?

Greeting in Algeria can be lengthy. In addition to shaking hands, it is common to ask someone about their family and work. Family and friends may exchange kisses on the cheek. Some resident in Algeria who are devout may not be comfortable shaking hands.

2. What languages are spoken in the country?

Arabic and Berber are the two official languages of Algeria. French is used for administration, business, and education, and the lingua franca is Algerian Arabic (Darja). Colloquial Darja is heavily infused with borrowings from French and Berber.

3. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?

We use a 24-hour system.

4. What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in the country?

We drive on the right side of road. The Algerian road network is the densest in Africa, and is 85% paved.

5. How important is punctuality?

Punctuality is not of the utmost importance and you should be prepared to wait at meetings.

6. Which types of music are popular? Who are some of the most popular musicians?

Music in Algeria offers a rich diversity of genre: popular music (Chaabi), various genres of Andalusian classical music such as Sana’a, Gharnati music, Ma’luf, as well as classical Arabic, Bedouin and Berber music. Raï is a creative outlet to express love and romance. This music is a mix between Western music and Bedouin music. Ma’luf is the Andalusian classical music music of Constantine and is also well known in Tunisia and Libya.

For a taste of Zimbabwean music, listen to Khaled’s Didi, and Idir’s Porquoi Cette Pluie.

Rock towers in Tamanrasset, in the Algerian Sahara.

7. Are there any Traditional Dances?

Ouled Nail dances are traditional in Algeria. They are a tribal confederation living in the Ouled Naïl Range, Algeria. The Ouled Naïl tribe originated a style of music, sometimes known as Bou Saâda music after the town near their homeland. In belly dancing, the term refers to a style of dance originated by the Ouled Naïl, noted for their way of dancing.

Watch an example of Ouled Nail dance here.

8.  What traditional Festivals are celebrated in the country?

Timgad Festival
The International Music Festival of Timgad takes place every July and lasts for a week with world-famous musicians. You will hear all kinds of genres, from rock to rai.

European Cultural Festival
Concerts, art and photography exhibitions, theater, dance performances and movie screenings take place every year in a feast of multiculturalism and diversification. This two-week event attracts artists from various countries, while activities are held all over the country from Alger to Constantine and from Tlemcen to Oran.

DimaJazz
Dimajazzis a festival of jazz music held every year in Constantine in Algeria.

Festival of du Rai d’Oran
Rai d’Oran is an yearly event held every August aiming to celebrate the popular Algerian genre of rai music. This music genre that appeared in the 30s is a type of folk music that was born in the cities, Oran and Aïn Témouchent, from Bedouin shepherds, mixed with Spanish, French and Arabic sounds.

Sahara International Film Festival
Each summer for the past 13 years, in the heart of the burning desert of Algeria, the Sahara International Film Festival has taken place.

9. What are the seasons like?

Northern Algeria is in the temperate zone and enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate. This area, the most inhabited in Algeria, is commonly referred to as the Tell. In the Tell, temperatures in summer average between 21 and 42 °C and in winter drop to 10 to 12 °C. Winters are not cold, but the humidity is high and houses are seldom adequately heated. In eastern Algeria, the average temperatures are somewhat lower, and on the steppes of the High Plateaus winter temperatures hover only a few degrees above freezing. Rainfall is fairly abundant along the coastal part of the Tell, ranging from 400 to 670 mm annually, the amount of precipitation increasing from west to east.

10. What are some interesting facts about the President?

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been the fifth President of Algeria since 1999. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1963 to 1979. As President, he presided over the end of the Algerian Civil War in 2002, and he ended emergency rule in February 2011 amidst regional unrest. He is former president of the United Nations General Assembly in 1974. The President was born in Oujda, Morocco, and moved to Algeria after joining the Algerian Liberation Army (ALN). In November 2012, he surpassed Houari Boumédiène as the longest-serving head of state of Algeria.

11. What are the country’s major industries?

Oil and gas exports form a large majority of total exports in Algeria. Main industries include agriculture, construction, mining, food processing, pharmaceutical, and government. Major export partners include the United States, Spain, and Italy.

12. How do people spend their free time?

Locals spend their free time socializing with friends and family – family is a very important part of Algerian culture. The Botanical Garden of Algiers (Jardin d’Essai du Hamma) is a popular scenic place to visit.

View of Algiers, Algeria.

13. What is a popular local drink?

Popular drinks include mint tea (drunk frequently throughout North Africa and the Middle East); strong, sweet coffee (sometimes called Turkish coffee); and Medea, Mansourah, and Mascara red wines.

14. What is a popular local dish?

Algerian cuisine is typically a mix of Berber, Arabic, Andalusian, and Mediterranean cuisines. Most of the Algerian dishes are centered around bread, lamb, beef or poultry, olive oil, fresh vegetables and fresh herbs. Traditionally, no Algerian meal is complete without bread. Traditional bread is almost always made with semolina, and French bread is also common. Mediterranean seafood and fish are also eaten frequently. Seasonal fruits are typically served at the end of meals.

15. What do you pay, on average, for the following? (1 USD = approx. ZAR 118)

In place of the Zimbabwean dollar, which was demonetized in 2015, currencies including the South African rand, Botswana pula, pound sterling, Indian rupee, euro, Japanese yen, Australian dollar, Chinese yuan, and the United States dollar are now regularly used.

3 Course meal: DZD 750
Domestic beer (500ml): DZD 150
Cup of coffee: DZD 78
Coca cola (330ml): DZD 62
Milk (1l): DZD 55
Loaf of white bread: DZD 17
Apples (1 kg): DZD 250
Water (1.5l): DZD 31

16. Any general safety tips?

Algeria has improved in safety immensely in recent years and for much of the country there are no significant safety issues. However, the lack of foreign visitors means that you will stand out in a crowd and so it still pays to exercise caution. Check the current local advisories when travelling to the northwest Kabylie region, a short way east of Algiers. Many governments warn again anything outside of essential travel to this region. It’s illegal to visit the Saharan regions without an officially accredited guide. Carry your passport/ID at all times, and try to avoid driving after dark. Outside major towns, small protests or strikes can affect transport. Observe instructions given by the local security authorities.

17. In conclusion, famous (and sometimes infamous) people from the country include:

  • Taoufik Makhloufi, an Algerian track and field athlete who specializes in middle-distance running. He became the 1500 meters Olympic champion at the 2012 Summer Olympics. In 2016, Makhloufi took the silver medal in the 800 m and 1500 m at the Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil.
  • Assia Djebar, an Algerian novelist, translator and filmmaker. Most of her works deal with obstacles faced by women, and she is noted for her feminist stance.
  • Souad Massi, an Algerian Berber singer, songwriter and guitarist.
  • Merzak Allouache, an Algerian film director and screenwriter. He has directed 18 films since 1976.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]. Image sources:  [1], [2], [3].

SA Elections: Upcoming Voter Registration Weekend; ID Collection Push; and Party Funding Source Bill Signed

2019 is a general election year in South Africa, with national and provincial elections set to take place, and three important recent announcements have been made in relation to elections in the country.

Voter registration weekend

The Electoral Commission of South Africa has announced that a final voter registration weekend will take place over 26 and 27 January.

The country’s 22 932 voting stations will open from 08h00 to 17h00 on Saturday 26 January and Sunday 27 January 2019 to allow first-time voters to register and existing voters to update and to check their registration details.
Currently there are 26.1 million registered voters on the national common voters’ roll and it is hoped that at least one million voters will be added to the voters’ roll ahead of the 2019 elections.

The Electoral Commission is also hopeful that voters who are already registered will use the opportunity to visit their voting station to check their registration and specifically to confirm and update their address details.
Registered voters can visit the Electoral Commission website (www.elections.org.za) to check their current registration details and voting station location.

They can also SMS their ID number to 32810 to receive an SMS containing their registration status and the address of their voting station (charged at R1).

Unregistered voters can insert their address in the Voting Station Finder application on the website (http://maps.elections.org.za/vsfinder/) to find their correct voting station or call the Contact Centre.

An online facility (www.elections.org.za/MyIEC) is also available for registered voters with access to the internet to update and review their address online.

Identity document collection

The Home Affairs Department has called on people who have applied for identity documents (IDs) to collect it, ahead of this weekend’s voter registration.

In the Western Cape alone, more than 23,000 people have not collected their IDs. Bellville and Cape Town branches are the highest with over 3,500 uncollected IDs each.

The department says it is extending its office hours at some of the offices. Spokesperson Siya Qoza explains, “Our offices will be open from 8 am until 5 pm over the weekend to assist as many people as possible who may need assistance. Our assistance will include handing out IDs and assisting people with temporary IDs so that they can register to vote”.

Political Party Funding Bill

It’s now law for political parties to reveal their private funding annually but it’s unlikely to come into effect before this year’s elections. The Presidency confirmed late on Tuesday night that President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed the Political Party Funding Bill into law, which was passed by the National Assembly late last year.

But the electoral commission has already indicated to Parliament that it will need at least six months to get the system functional. Lobby group My Vote Counts, which took the matter to court, says that the implementation of the bill will drastically enhance transparency and accountability in the country’s political and electoral system.

The new legislation repeals a 1997 Act to better regulate the public and private funding of political parties. It establishes a multi-party democracy fund that will fund all political parties from state coffers.

The new law will prohibit certain donations being made directly to political parties and compel them to disclose private donations to the electoral commission. Political parties will not be allowed to accept donations from foreign governments or agencies.

The African National Congress (ANC) has welcomed the law, saying it will deepen democracy and usher in a new culture of transparency. But My Vote Counts says that it is however regrettable that the law will not have an impact on this year’s elections and that the electorate will once again go to the polls without this crucial information.

The bill follows a June 2018 order by the Western Cape High Court to have Parliament make provision for political parties to publicly disclose private funding within 18 months. Judge Yasmin Meer stressed that there must be transparency about private political party funding. The Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa’s opposition party, was the only party to oppose the application for the transparency bill.

 

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]. Image sources: [1], [2].

10 Fitness Tips for Expats in a New Country

After making a big move to another country, keeping up a fitness routine can linger near the bottom of your priorities as an expat. Read on for expert advice for expats on how to stay healthy and fit while living abroad.

Moving to a new country can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but dealing with the stresses of a move and adjusting to a new culture can be overwhelming, not to mention the added pressures of juggling a demanding job and a family life. Kick-starting an exercise regime can be a fantastic way to not only improve your physical and mental health, but meet new people and help you discover your new home.

While gyms are easy to find in cities and towns all over the globe, they aren’t necessarily for everyone. Whether you’re a casual jogger, a weekend warrior or a competitive athlete, physical activity can provide a much-needed boost and transform the place you live into your fitness playground.

With the help of expat bloggers who’ve been there and done that, along with expert advice from a counselor specializing in expat issues and a personal trainer, we’ve curated some helpful tips to help you keep fit anywhere in the world. So lace up your trainers, warm-up, and get ready to explore your new country with our suggestions for ten ways to get fit in a new country.

1. Find your feet
With so much to think about after a big move, the beginning can be the most stressful period. “Keeping a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, even for people who aren’t expats, so it’s natural that it can be particularly tough if you’re settling in a new country,” say Agness and Cez, best friends who run fitness travel blog Fit Travelling alongside another travel blog, eTramping. “There are so many new things to adapt to: cuisine, culture, interactions and relationships, accommodation, climate and much more.”

Agness and Cez share their passion for keeping fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while travelling, and write destination-based fitness guides to inspire and inform about ways of keeping fit in locations around the world.

“Once you arrive at your new destination and arrange your accommodation, legal documents, bills and work, you simply might not have the time or energy to work out and eat healthy at first,” they explain, and it’s OK not to expect too much of yourself when you first get your bearings.

“Many people often have a stressful time setting up everything, which requires much time and energy. It’s a new environment, so give yourself time to work out what’s best for your situation and establish a healthy routine.”

2. Establish your routine
Moving to a new country inevitably brings a big change in your usual routines. Take advantage of the transition, as this time can actually be a perfect opportunity to turn a new leaf and implement healthier habits through a fitness routine alongside your new lifestyle. “Create a daily routine that will help you become your personal best,” says Vivian Chiona, founder and director of Expat Nest, which provides emotional support to expat fitness tips for travelers and their families through online counselling services. “Exercise will boost your self-confidence in multiple ways: you will feel better in your skin and gain a ‘can-do’ attitude by challenging yourself to sweat a little more every day. Exercise can also help to sharpen your memory; indeed, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body.”

As a bi-cultural and multilingual expat herself, Vivian created Expat Nest’s e-counselling service as a way of offering counselling without borders to expats globally. “While going for a walk once a week is much better for your body and mind than not going for one at all, for most optimal outcomes to result, physical activity should be regular,” Vivian says. “It can be hard to break out of our cycle of habits, but try to think of ways to exercise that bring you joy. Do you enjoy spending time with your dog, or love chatting away with friends? Try to incorporate these elements into your routine. Do what works for you personally.”

3. Get social
“Finding a new skill or hobby to take up, whether it’s a sport, language or art, can offer you a sense of achievement and can boost your confidence,” says Vivian. “Join dancing classes or (re)start a hobby. It helps you build social networks and is a fun way to get to know people.”

Getting involved in organised or informal sports and fitness groups can be a great way to meet like-minded people in a new place, while also improving your health. Meetup.com is a free and easy way to find sociable get-togethers based around a diverse range of interest categories, including sports and well-being. So if you’re looking for some hiking buddies, yoga classes or a kick-around, browse the local listed events or create one yourself on Meetup.com.

4. Fitness for free
“If you think you need a gym to stay fit, you’re wrong,” say self-proclaimed fitness and travel enthusiasts Agness and Cez. “There are countless ways to keep fit outside of a gym. For example, think about starting a body-weight training routine, which has the benefit of saving you a lot of time and money.”

Governments and local authorities in many countries are finding different and new ways to promote easily-accessible fitness to its residents. One of the most widespread and successful ideas has been the 4,100 Calisthenics outdoor workout spots which have been installed in parks, inner-cities, green spaces and beaches across the globe.

From full outdoor cardio equipment to pull-up bars and parallel bars, outdoor gyms and Calisthenics spots are a free way to exercise 24/7. You can easily search for workout spots by specific equipment or by location on their website.

5. Earn your rewards
It can be tough to stick to a healthy routine, particularly if you are an expat in a city with tempting restaurants and nightlife around every corner. “We can be enticed by it all,” says Omar Al Duri, an award-winning personal trainer, football coach and nutritionist in the United Arab Emirates.

“Although striking the right balance is important,” he adds. Having helped Ghana’s under-20 national football team reach the Youth World Cup and advocating for healthier school lunches with his passion for children’s nutrition, the British native has worked with communities, athletes and celebrities around the world.

Omar advises using foodie treats in a positive way as your motivation to work towards, however you choose to exercise, ensuring you feel good and guilt-free about your little indulgences. “Map out your week ahead so that you can earn the treat,” he suggests. “Whether that’s a special outing or a cheat meal you’re really craving.”

6. Take care of you
Self-care is vital through stressful periods, and Vivian advises you not to forget to take care of yourself and your vital needs. “Try to make your daily activity choices carefully, as they can have a great impact on the way you feel physically and emotionally,” she says. “It is really important to try and keep a balance in your sleep and nutrition when moving to a new country. Try to meditate, or try a breathing exercise after a workout session.”

Agness and Cez add: “The life of an expat can be pretty challenging at the beginning, but try to keep your mindset positive and use organisation as a tool. When cooking, for example, prepare healthy meals you want to eat in advance for maximum efficiency, freeing up time to establish your new fitness routine throughout the week.”

7. Join in
“To lead a healthy lifestyle where you can reach your potential, aim to develop discipline and stay motivated until you achieve your goals,” say Agness and Cez. “That goes hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle as it will lead to higher energy levels, which will keep you motivated and feeling more positive.”

A good goal to aim for is to participate in regular fitness events such as parkrun, which are free weekly 5k runs in unique locations all over the world. The local volunteer-organised aspect means you’ll feel part of the community in no time, and get to know people while you exercise.

After registering once, you can run in any parkrun event across the world, making it perfect for frequent travelers. Keep adding up your runs from different events in order to reach milestones, and when you’ve completed each run, track your progress on the app or website to see your position compared to other runners, your exact time and other data. Spark some friendly competition as well as working on improving your personal best every time you run.

“Joining communities is now easy to do once you find something that interests you,” adds Omar. “There are some really cool teachers and instructors all over the world who are truly passionate about what they do. They encourage and motivate people to get active and have fun. Take advantage of any good weather and get out!”

8. Explore feet first
It’s been said that walking is the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise. A hike in the fresh air can boost your mood and give you a good workout, as well as giving you an opportunity to explore your expat country. Maybe you’re surrounded by interesting landscapes, beautiful spaces or great walks which you haven’t yet discovered.

Walking is also an entirely versatile exercise, meaning you can tailor your hikes, strolls or power-walks to exactly the level or time that suits you, and work your way to harder trails gradually. “Physical health can boost mental well-being and vice versa,” says Vivian. “When you achieve an improvement in physical health, then you have a positive influence on your mental well-being too.” So find a trail to suit your level and grab your walking boots.

9. Pedal push
Getting around by bicycle is a healthier alternative to the daily commute, and is fast becoming more recognized by local authorities as an active and cost-effective method of inner-city travel for residents.

More and more government-funded bike-sharing schemes are popping up in cities globally, and chances are that if you live in a big city, there’ll be an efficient scheme for renting bikes near you.

London, Paris, Barcelona, Shanghai and New York City are just a few cities in which you can easily pick up and drop off one of thousands of bikes at different bicycle stations, with some cities even offering free time slots as an incentive.

10. Talk about it
In addition to the significant physical health benefits, adopting a physical activity routine can positively impact your mental well-being, reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress through inducing chemical chain reactions in your brain and body. The sudden loss of a support system, loneliness and culture shock can enhance the feelings of isolation that many expats experience, regardless of where they have relocated from or to. Out of the 300 million people around the world who suffer from depression (World Health Organisation), a study has shown that expats are over twice as likely to experience anxiety and depression than the general population.

If you’re struggling to motivate yourself and feel like you need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to seek further help. Above all, don’t be too hard on yourself: adjusting to a new life can be difficult. “When you keep your mind in a good shape, then you will also feel the need to improve your physical state,” says Vivian. Although she warns: “There may be challenges in accessing support, for example language barriers, cultural differences and lack of specialized mental health services for internationals, but see what options are being offered in your local community and online. Of course nowadays, with online counselling, these barriers are easily overcome – that’s why we love what we do and can help people all over the globe.”

“In counselling, we help clients learn how to manage their emotions,” she says. “We offer them a safe place to express their thoughts and feelings so they find solutions that are right for them so they can move forward.” If you’d prefer to speak to someone face to face, the international therapist directory is an online directory of suitably qualified and experienced therapists in different countries, so no matter where you are in the world, there’s always someone to talk to.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: Vivian Chiona (Expat Nest) via Expat Assure [1], [2]. Image sources: Victor Xok [1], Sara Dubler [2], Mike Bowman  [3], Aaron Benson [4].