Many of you know that I am originally from South Africa and do my pilgrimage once every year! My family still live in SA and well I consider myself to have strong roots in Africa. While I have been living in The USA since 2001, a return visit is always an opportunity to get grounded and become more rooted in a sense. I sorta of feel like I can recharge my batteries here.
Sadly my visit did not get off to the best of starts as myself and my son were stopped at South African Immigration and well nearly sent back!
The Joys Of Single Parenting
As a single parent traveling with a minor to South Africa, not only do you need the correct travel authorization documents from the other parent but you also need to travel with an unabridged birth certificate of your minor.
Well I was so excited to finally get the required travel authorization, I completely forgot to take my child’s birth certificate. What was even more sad, is how we were treated by the Immigration Staff in South Africa. At the Immigration Desk the lady was rather pleasant and assured us that we may be allowed entry even without the birth certificate. Feeling hopeful, she called her superior who obviously had a Napolean Complex.
She proceeded to walk us off to a remote area muttering under her breadth. Finally I
asked her what exactly she was saying to which she replied “You have to get a copy of the birth certificate or you can not enter SA” and started walking off. I walked after her to explain that it was 1am in the USA and it was not possible. Her response was again muttered under her breadth but basically that was not her problem and we should change our on-going flights as we were not going anywhere until we got the birth certificate.
We Just Did Not feel The Love from Immigration!
Equally we were shuffled to a remote open area in the airport with nothing or no-one around us. Typically they would take you to an office or a holding area of some sorts… But nope… we were were basically just left to figure it out ourselves!
Somehow, by the grace of God, I was able to get the birth certificate emailed to me from the USA and we were allowed entry. Sadly it just left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. While I accept I was wrong to forget the birth certificate, the manner in which I was treated was rather sad.
However, our arrival in Cape Town was AWESOME! A wee bit chilly but great to be back after so many years. We were lucky enough to watch my nephew play field hockey as they were here on tour. Sadly our first trip to Table Mountain was not possible due to the excessive winds. Hopefully today will be the day!