White South Africans still view Britain as a dominant international force; no other country exerts a greater cultural influence.
English Premier League football is available live on television most Saturday afternoons; the media dedicate far more space and time to the travails of John Major than to the agonies of neighbouring African states; dog- lovers and keen gardeners abound; Scottish country dancing, Gilbert and Sullivan, bridge and bowls are not unpopular.
South Africa has endured three successive years of economic decline; unemployment is six million (40 per cent) of the economically active, mostly black, adult population. But there is a shortage of technical skills. Engineers, managers, artisans, electricians and fitters are in demand. The standard of living of middle-class whites remains high.
A spacious, modern, three-bedroom house with garden, 15 minutes' drive from the centre of Johannesburg, will cost pounds 70,000. A new 1600cc family saloon - Toyota, Honda, Opel, VW - will cost from pounds 9,000. A three-course meal for two plus bottle of wine at a quality restaurant will cost pounds 40. Average salary for, say, a marketing director of a medium-sized company, would be pounds 25,000.
Health care is high quality but expensive, unless you subscribe to a private insurance scheme.
What most tends to shock visitors - at least those not unduly troubled by the iniquitous social disparities - is the crime level. Johannesburg and Cape Town rank among the top 10 murder capitals of the world. Burglaries and car thefts are routine, and almost every household has a gun. The threat of civil war may discourage some potential settlers.
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