THEY may pack for Perth, but a survey has found that most Southern African’s are settling in Sydney. Recently released figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that at least 2,100 more Southern African migrants settled in NSW than in Western Australia – the heart of which are Sydney and Perth respectively.
This snapshot was taken from the 11 year period between 1995 and 2006, and while the figures may leave Australians nonplussed, they shake the average Southern African’s belief that most roads from the ‘motherland’ lead to Perth.
And while there is no doubt that Perth has opened its arms to countless Southern African migrants and their families, the rest of Australia has done it fair share too.
In fact in 2006 28,654 people of Southern African birth were recorded as living in Queensland, giving this State the second largest population of Southern African-born people after NSW at 37,266. Western Australia sits at a very close third, only just a couple of hundred behind Queensland.
As of 2006 there were approximately 251,000 Southern Africans living in Australia – now imagine if just oneeighth of that figure attended a rugby union game and voiced support for the Springboks? That show of support would be phenomenal.
Not surprisingly, the love Southern Africans have for ‘the game they play in Heaven’ is shared with Australians in a friendly rivalry that has been the catalyst for more than one pub fight due to a difference in opinion.
And it is often this love for their home team and for their adopted country that has many a fan in a quandary.
Who do they support when the country that supports them is Australia, but the country they have emotional ties to is South Africa?
Brisbane’s Barry Eagar said he currently supported the Springboks, but once he had lived in Australia for 35 years he would most likely support the Wallabies.
“I support the Wallabies as I have adopted Australia as my new home and support it in all areas as I believe it is an integral part of settling into my new home,” Ian Scott from the Gold Coast said.
“In the beginning I continued to support the Boks, but after a while I sat on the fence.
“After about two years I found that my heart was completely behind the country that I have grown to love.”
Stella Holland and her family are pretty much divided on the team front with her 23-year-old son a keen ama-bokke fan and her husband more likely to barrack for the Wallabies.
“We have lived in Australia for nine years now, and I will always have a soft spot for the Springboks,” Stella said.
“My son is still a keen Springbok supporter and his room is filled with Springbok memorabilia.
“My husband is leaning more towards the Wallabies as we see a lot more coverage on television of this team and he is more familiar with its players.”
Perhaps the way to look at it is that no matter which Australian State you make your home – at least in Australia you have options.
And if you feel ungrateful barracking for the Springboks and the Wallabies leave you cold – there is always Rugby League or Aussie Rules…and about 150 more animals from which to choose.