South African expats in Doha

In the next part of our Meet the Expats series, we talk to South African expats in Doha looking forward to their country’s Freedom Day this month Discuss this article

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Paul Tyson

‘I’ve been in Doha for four years. I came over in 2006 to join Al Jazeera English. I’m originally from a place called Kloof, which is just outside Durban. It is very green, very lush and it rains a lot – pretty much the exact opposite of Doha. Well, usually. When I first got here it actually rained constantly for the first few days. I thought I had been duped.

‘Doha is very exotic and multicultural. I love the idea that you can leave things unlocked, and there is no serious risk of crime. There are things I miss about home, though – like driving around swooping corners on big open freeways, biltong and Pronutro cereal. Also hearing people speak Zulu. I work with quite a few South Africans, however, and my wife and I have Zimbabwean friends.

‘I always tell anyone that visits me in Doha to bring biltong – that’s the golden rule – and I did hear of a lady who made boerewors sausages here, but by the time I discovered her she wasn’t making them anymore, so now I’m a bit stuck. I haven’t found any South African food in restaurants or bars here, but I do like the Sky Bar at La Cigale. I also love Lebanese food, and shisha is a bit of a guilty pleasure.

‘I really enjoy living here, but if I could change one thing it would be the driving. I would like the power to confiscate the monolithic SUVs driven by people who insist on driving about 2 cm away from my back bumper. To relax I race Lasers at the InterContinental sailing club, with a bit of squash, and I run around Khalifa Park.

‘I don’t know how long I’ll stay. Sometimes I think the whole family could be here for another 10 years, sometimes I think we can’t bear another 10 minutes. It depends on the day.

‘We go back about once every 18 months, and with my job I’m actually working during the World Cup, so I’ll be in Johannesburg for most of the time. I think it will be a great event, all the predictable negativity is coming out from the international press, but I’m confident we’ll pull it off. South Africans are very “can-do” people.’

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

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