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Ideas for South African expats to keep communicating with friends and family

By December 6, 2018October 3rd, 2023FinGlobal

Ideas for South African expats to keep communicating with friends and family

December 6, 2018


Staying in contact with friends and family used to be an expensive and difficult process for SA expats living abroad. You would have to find special phone companies that had preferential rates for calling South Africa and in the age pre-email, you had to rely on the post to send your letters. Fortunately, that has all changed with the Internet and the world has become a global village. Here is how South African expats’ online communication is made a whole lot easier with communication apps.

Online communication made easy for SA expats

Facebook’s messenger app

Facebook is the biggest social media platform in South Africa with 16 million users – making up 29 percent of the total population. It is currently a rival to TV and radio and has grown massively from 14 million users in 2016. Not only is it a great platform for keeping in contact with friends and family in South Africa by posting your pictures, it also has a great communication app – Facebook messenger. Facebook messenger has a very large user base and is available on both Android and iOS – and is ideal for calling and texting friends and family in SA, while you are living abroad.


Skype is a great communication app that is best known for its video chatting functionality that allows you to chat face-to-face with your friends and family back in South Africa. For SA expats on the move, Skype has an app you can download to either your Android and iOS phone. As long as you and your friends both have Skype and access to WiFi – then you can video chat for free.


WhatsApp is the biggest communication app globally with 1.5 billion users who use it daily to text, call and video chat. It has 450 million daily active users and 100 million daily calls are made using WhatsApp. What is great about WhatsApp is that it as easy to text, call or send an image or video to someone abroad as it is to someone locally. It’s so easy to use that 65 billion messages are sent daily on WhatsApp and it is available in 1105 countries around the world. WhatsApp is available on both Android and IOS phones.

Apple FaceTime

FaceTime is a free app that allows you to video call people abroad. It’s free if you are using WiFi, but you will incur data charges if you are ‘FaceTiming’ while you are out and about. FaceTime is an app available on supported iOS mobile devices and Macintosh computers and is only available for users in the Apple ecosystem.


Viber is a feature-rich app that SA expats can use for video calls while abroad. It has millions of users worldwide and is available on iOS, Android, Windows and macOS.

Remember if you are wanting to connect with your friends and family back in South Africa, it’s important that you make sure that the people you want to text, call or video call have the right communication app installed. If you are both using WiFi, then your communication will be free and you can connect as much as you like!

If you are a South African living or moving abroad and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through financial emigration, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today.

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