From Benoni to… Sussex

Claire Roadley is proud to be from Benoni.

The 42-year-old, a former Farrarmere Primary and Benoni High schools learner, is the first candidate in a new series of articles in which Benoni expats are interviewed.

BCT: Summarise your time in Benoni.

CR: I lived in Farrarmere from birth (1974) until I studied at Wits Business School in 1993. My parents later moved to Sandton. I still have loads of friends in Benoni.

BCT: What are your fond memories of Benoni and why do you miss it “loads”?

CR: I have so many happy memories: hanging out at Homestead Dam, riding all over the suburbs on bikes, visits to the Benoni Bunny Park, ice creams at the Korsman’s Ice cream Factory after church every Sunday, doing projects at the library, visiting East Rand Mall and Fun Factory ice rink, as well as Wild Waters – although I know that’s technically Boksburg.

BCT: You are a mother of three and a wife, but what work do you do?

CR: I work as a travel PR promoting holidays to east and southern Africa. I get lots of trips home hosting tour operators or journalists and get to stay in amazing lodges like MalaMala and at some of our country’s best hotels. I’ve even done The Blue Train four times. I also have a second weekend job working for Brand South Africa writing their Global South African newsletter for expats in the UK.

BCT: What South African traditions do you still keep alive in the UK?

CR: We braai non-stop all year round and have a potjie most New Year’s Eves – even one in the snow. You soon learn to stock up on charcoal in September, as they stop selling it in all the shops once the Brits reckon summer is over. We have a big South African community where we live so we regularly meet up or go camping, have women’s nights etc.

BCT: What are the positives and negatives of living in the UK when comparing it to your time in South Africa?

CR: Living far from family is the biggest negative and is a loss we all feel deeply in the UK. I’m on lots of expat Facebook groups and we all share this absolute heartbreak of our children growing up far from oupas and grannies, cousins etc. The weather is hard to get used to over the winter. A lot of us suffer with Vitamin D deficiency and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Also read:

Know your Benoni: Music is his food of love


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