About the Disco Pants Blog

The Disco Pants Blog was created by Susan Hayden who lives in Cape Town with her husband and two daughters. She is a journalist, editor and columnist who writes for Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Shape, Marie Claire, Mamamia and the Sunday Times, amongst others, and is the author of three books. She is inclined to ruminate and likes swimming in the sea.

Follow Susan on Twitter: @susanhhayden and Facebook Disco Pants and a Mountain
Email her at susan.hayden@gmail.com

Note to readers:

Your comments on the blog and the various viewpoints expressed are valued and appreciated, but anything mean, abusive or resembling trolling in any way will be deleted and you’ll be blocked you from commenting in future. 

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153 thoughts on “About the Disco Pants Blog

  1. What an insightful blog. A friend posted a link on facebook and that is how I have discovered it. It is inspiring, thought provoking, beautifully written and honest. Thank you! Can’t wait to keep reading.

  2. Thank you for yourr articles ,especially the expats and on returning home after some years away .I have lived in SA the UK and Italy and yes I am back in SA .You have put into words so many of the thoughts I have experieced on this subject and for that I am eternally grateful

  3. Hi Susan, I love reading your blog. It’s my favourite bedtime reading when I finally get a “Me time”. When I read your blogs I forget that I am in England and become zoned and feel the taste of Snoek Fish when I think about Cape Town a place I had spent “my Hek Toe” in the university of Western Cape. Those were the days. That’s how much I get homesick.

    I have lived in England for 11years now and desperate to come back home
    The only difficult if securing a job. It makes sad to think that in Mzantsi it is about who you know and how connected you are with peeps in so so called “higher places” and yet I can decide to relocate to Australia tomorrow and I will secure a job as long as I satisfy the authorities that I have the qualification and skill base to work there. You see there’s a big difference. That’s have been my dilemma since 2010.

    However it Will come soon enough all I need is that Leap of Faith.

    Keep up the good work and your beautifully written stories such South African maid, moving back to south Africa etc

    Sharp Sharp,tot siens x

    1. Ah, sweetie, I know, it’s not easy. In order for us to live here in the country I love my husband has to work overseas which means he’s gone half the time and I’m a single mom a lot and he leaves today and it’s always unbearable almost, especially for our little girls. I feel your pain, and I send you strength and a huge hug from across the miles xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    2. Take that leap of faith. The reason why so many people are returning to S.A., or emigrating outright from their countries (Europe, USA and even Australia), nowadays, is because economic conditions out there are so dire that panic is setting in. What keeps S.A. afloat is the fact that it’s a phenomenally rich country. It is possible to live well on a salary which, elsewhere, would be a pittance. The natural wonder of the country just makes it simpler to experience a higher-level lifestyle, it’s part of the general charm. Perhaps ‘charm like no other’ is what characterizes the beloved country. And, as we all know, there’s no way to rationalize charm.

  4. Hi Susan
    I have lived in Mauritius for 20 years and still miss SA so much – the friendliest people in the world and the best scenery not to mention the great restaurants. I love coming home to visit! I recently discovered your blog and love it!

  5. wow…i love it.I was born in the uk and moved to SA when i was 10 years old,,,NEVER,EVER have i looked back !!WE as south africans dont realise what an amazing country we have or just how lucky we are. i totally agree that we do have issues but when life is a bed of roses,can we complain about a few thorns….ive learnt to laugh at our clowns in charge(personal opinion)otherwise you will be swept up into that evil negative vibe which is currently haunting most. sit back , have a world class top beer,have a braai, and while enjoying the sa sunshine say to yourself “just another tough day in africa”

  6. Hi, we’re considering moving back. My eldest is 10 next year. Do you remember anything bad about your move that I should think about? We live in Sweden at the moment.

    Oh and by the way, you also write well. Perhaps a blog from you too?

  7. Hi Susan,

    I, probably like a few of your readers, came across your blog through the whinging expats blog.
    I couldn’t seem to post a comment there, so I thought that here would be good.

    an extremely well-written piece, thanks. We moved back to Cape Town after five years in Australia. Between ourselves, and that of another recent returnee, the vitriol that we received on announcing our decision still surprises!!
    The endless justification bored me eventually. We’ve lost friends – which I suppose hurts the most.

    you are right. we should start a group – cape town will be the biggest chapter, no doubt – of all us happy, smiley returnees

  8. I just discovered your blog and have read just a couple of posts (stories) and briefly browsed the site … love it!!! Thank you :)

  9. Hi Susan,
    I fairly recently discovered your blog, I think as a result of your Expats shout… loved it, loved reading the angry replies etc etc… as an ex-Rhodesian (maybe read when-we) I get really annoyed with those who run us and SA down from the supposed comfort of their new homes… so your words have resonated… then I read one or two other of your blogs… love them..

    Please keep them up and coming..

  10. I can’t say I agree with everything in your blog post about ‘Moving Back to South Africa’ especially with “what if there is nothing ‘wrong’ with South Africa? What if it simply operates by a different set of standards and norms?” which if rhetorically question need not be answered, but if it was a statement, I do disagree, on the foundation that a 1st world countries like Australia are 1st worlds not because we are all snobs down under, it’s because there is democracy, economic structure and logical reasoning when it comes to governing as a whole. Now I don’t agree with marketing/ trade when it comes to certain Aus industries exploiting poorer peoples in Asian nations for merchandise/ clothing but the beautiful thing about living in such a country is having a voice and the stance to change such things, giving equality to slave labourers and their rights etc. Hopefully this makes sense.

    Otherwise, kudos to you for moving back and writing these blogs. :)

  11. My cousin emailed me a link to the “Not getting the memo” post and since then I have read a whole lot of your stuff. Wow! I am a proud Capetonian and especially enjoyed your “On Angry Expats” blog entry. Looking forward to reading a whole lot more. You are a very consummate and entertaining wordsmith!

  12. I just wanted to say I’m loving your blog! My husband is South African and we live in the UK, he desperately wants to move back to SA (Cape town in particular) and I’m considering it but we have three small children and everyone thinks we’d be insane to move somewhere where we’ll immediately be killed as soon as we step of the plane, so It’s lovely to hear about life over there from a mothers/woman’s perspective!

  13. I have been uplifted and edified by this blog! Thank you! We are South Africans who have been living in Canada for four years. We always assumed we would come back to be part of the change and hope in SA… but being here (on holiday in SA at the moment) we are experiencing reverse culture shock. So sad and frustrated by the poverty, crime and FEAR. So confused :(
    But all that to say, YAY for you! I’m going to go back and read all your posts now. X Beth

  14. Hey there. I wrote 2 pieces for Homecoming Revolution when we came back from Oz 6 years ago (The Accidental Expat) which were also in Alan Knott-Craig’s book (Don’t Panic). Would like to send them to you if you are interested.

    I am not a writer, so they are probably not as crafted as yours, but they were about our reasons for coming home, and then a follow up as to what we had found it like being home.

    Let me know if you would like me to send them

    Cheers
    Rich

  15. Susan,
    Thank you so very much for telling it like it is! I am currently living in Canada and in the process of moving HOME. I was 13 when we moved from Cape Town and it is the one place in the world I will always refer to as home. I am now 28 and after deciding to return, I had many concerns thrown my way by my father and received many strange looks from his ex-pat friends. I do understand where they are coming from, but reading your post about “Moving Back to South Africa” and “Angry South African Expats” was not only insightful, but it was also extremely comforting. Knowing that I am not the only one that has these deep ties to and love for the country, with or without all its so called “faults”, has put my mind at ease. For that I sincerely thank you!
    Amy

  16. Hey Susan. A friend shared a link on FB to your angry expat story…..i lived in London for 8 years, with my family following me over. I have been back in Durbs for 10 years now……and my family are all still there. They keep asking me to return, however……I tell them that regardless of how much I love and miss them, Mama Africa is my home and is in my blood. I am so very glad to be back. ‘Disco Pants & a mountain’ rocks! You definitely have a new fan in me :-) Happy days. Thank you. Lee Ann

  17. Good morning Susan! Just had to drop by and thank you – your blog has made my week! Love your style and insight. Have a splendiferous day and keep warm … I believe we’re in for a nasty cold snap.

  18. You got me with the Incredible Liteness of Sweden! I myself got a lump in my throat reading the last sentence. Look forward to more.

  19. I can’t believe people questioned why you would want to move back to CT. I come from London, have lived in Mombasa, Kenya for the past 15 years. My hubbie went to UCT and we are waiting impatiently for our permits to come through so we can make the move to Cape Town. CT is beautiful, you have everything you need for a wonderful life there, wine, sport, the sea, views, restaurants, the list is endless. Of course there are problems (as there is everywhere) but the benefits far out weight the negatives and I can’t wait to call Cape Town home!

  20. Hi Susan,

    I absolutely love your blog and especially your pieces about expat South Africans. I too am an expat and would love to come home if only I could have the same opportunities there that I have here in the US. I hope that one day I will be able to return to the mother city and enjoy everything Cape Town has to offer.But for now I will make the most of my experiences abroad.

  21. Absolutely LOVE your writing. Once upon a time I was the CMO of South African Tourism. 2000-2003. We started an initiative called the “Circle of Sunshine” which was, in part, about “neutralising” the angry SA expats and hopefully actually turning them in to positive speakers on our beloved country. The aim was to have the largest PR sales force possible. Alas, the powers that be decided that the programme should be terminated once I had left. Pity. Your writing is stunning. Regards. O

      1. Hello Susan: Unfortunately the comments to the “On Angry South African Expats” article have been closed as I would have liked to comment even though I do not fit the subject line:
        South Africa HAD the potential to be great in 1995. It was squandered by the political regime that came to power.

        They took the vision of a rainbow nation and replaced it with one of racial exclusion, fear, hate, violence, self enrichment, falling standards and a Rose’ (intended) tinted veneer that only lasts as long as the bubbles.

        Awaking from the dream of Mandela and facing the morning light of the reality that is South Africa in 2014 is like stepping into a third world twilight zone.

        Certain sections of the population wander around in their exclusive little bubbles, seemingly indifferent to the suffering of more than two thirds of the population around them. Very soon that two thirds (all racial groupings) will decide that they have had enough of being told to “look at pictures of their cANCer leaders eating Cake and drinking Champagne” and rejoice that they are in power.

        The PEOPLE will speak ala 1789 and the country will be broken forever.

        I seriously doubt that it can be fixed.

        Those that can have left, those that will leave know very well where their embassies are located, and keep their passports current.

        Those that have chosen to return have every right to comment and justify why they have done so, even if they returned mostly because it is hard outside of South Africa and they were too used to their privileged lives in South African suburbia, so they returned to the dream of the rainbow nation, and immersed themselves into the illusion of the dream, resenting anybody that tries to wake them.

        Those that have chosen not to return have every right to comment as well.
        They were the workers that built South Africa and will now build their home or host countries in turn.

        Leave the bitterness out of it.

        Most people that have left, in fact the overwhelming majority that have left South Africa will never return, except for holidays and when they do, they do so without the mentioned Rose’ tinted lenses and can comment from their truly awakened state of harsh reality.

        These are just a small sample of that reality I mentioned above:

        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Hijackers-shoot-man-in-front-of-his-family-20141112
        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Mall-robbery-murder-described-20111024
        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Mall-robberies-are-highly-organised-MPs-hear-20141112
        http://www.fin24.com/Economy/SA-consumers-dont-feel-in-control-index-20141112
        http://www.fin24.com/Economy/Consumer-confidence-deteriorates-20141002
        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Shots-fired-at-Pretoria-land-grab-20141112
        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Pretoria-residents-demand-free-land-20141112
        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/SAHRC-to-probe-2nd-toilet-racism-claim-20141112
        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Mpofu-Marikana-cops-influenced-by-politics-20141112
        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/5-held-for-murder-robbery-hikacking-20140922
        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/3-hijackers-killed-in-dramatic-N3-shoot-out-20140724
        http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Boy-taken-by-hijackers-found-at-shelter-20140721

        I trust your dream never ends for you.

        Be blessed.

        Be safe and carry a loaded gun at all times.

        .
        BE.

  22. I am so glad I stumbled across your blog via a friend on facebook. I’m from the UK, married a South African and found myself moving to Cape Town last year. Your blogs have given me a wonderful insight into current (and relevant) cultures and feelings of the Cape. Love it!

  23. Just discovered your blog from a post on fb. I am lucky enough to spend most of the year in the UK but also a few months in Cape Town every year. Originally from Zim, I have grown to love everything about Cape Town. Most of my family live there as do lots of friends and they do moan a lot! Obviously there are some serious problems but as I have the good fortune to experience both sides of the coin I think it gives me a much better perspective. Make the most of what you’ve got and spread some positive energy…I liked your petrol attendant story very much. I’ve followed, so look forward to more inspiration and humour from you. Best wishes, from a fellow blogger, Sandy

  24. In 1983-84 I was 19 years old and spent most of that year in Zimbabwe. It had just gone through the “revolution” transforming it into what she has become. I was innocent in many ways of what all was going on and set out on a grand adventure. I was drilling water wells in the bush for the most part and learning to love the people there. The folks told me that once Africa gets into your heart she will always remain.. 33 years later I find that to be true. The main lesson my young heart took from that experience is that goodness and love and laughter is found in all peoples, no matter their color or creed, or traditions. I also learned that this is just as true of greed and manipulation and brutality. It was a good lesson for the boy and has served the man well to this day. I enjoyed finding your work and will travel here again. Be Groovy!

  25. Reading these comments, it’s fascinating to see that some South Africans who live in the complicated, fantastic and fragile country that is South Africa today–can so blindly ignore that STUDENTS actually took to the streets to protest against APARTHEID. Perhaps denial is the only way to avoid understanding that white South Africans (like me and my ancestors) have been interrupting black South Africans lives and smashing up their property for hundreds of years. White guilt? Not a bad thing if it helps people face reality! Guilt is only a bad thing if people stay stuck in it or are too scared to address how we got to this point. So proud of South African students who are working to move things forward and keep the dream of an equal society in their sights! THANK YOU SUSAN for sharing your sane and empathetic voice–like the students you truly love South Africa!

  26. True to form, I’m a few years late in discovering your blog. I’m so glad I did too; I have enjoyed your witty writing style so far.

    I’ve got to go, I have plenty of catching up to do!

  27. I’ve just spend over an hour on your blog, sometimes you offended me, but only because the truth hurts and sometimes I get confused on which side of the fence I should sit on now… Nevertheless you have a stunning blog, such a talented writer. Keep up the good work!

  28. Your blog about ‘surviving the madness of SA’ has put my (and I’m sure those of millions of other complaining South Africans) sentiments in a nutshell. So colourfully and eloquently put – thank you for a great read. Just the affirmation that so many of us need!

  29. I never do this, but I just had to write and tell you how much I have loved reading your back page column in Good Housekeeping. The one on hanging in on marriage when it’s tough – that one made me cry. Not because my marriage has hit a wall but because you spoke the truth. And with compassionate. And then this most recent one called Little Monsters which made me want to shout Yes! and applaud. I read it to my 13 year old daughter tonight and… silence.
    I also do my best to not spoil my kids and am winning unpopularity prizes every day, so it is SO nice to hear it coming from someone else too.
    THANK YOU for being honest, real and very funny.

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