Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Don’t tell me this doesn’t look the way it is…

November 1, 2013

Are the recent UK Visa Laws a teeny bit racisty? I hate to say it – but is there any other way to see it?

I’m angry that I have to work so much harder now, as a South African citizen and holder of only a South African passport, to go to the UK or anywhere in Europe. I want to meet my niece and nephew. I want to go to the film festival in Paris where my short is screening. But I can’t risk booking the ticket. The visa process could take as long as 60 days!

So I started looking into when South Africa became country non grata, and wound up writing a column about it for News24 this week (will link when it’s live). Here are the bare bones of what I discovered when I researched this issue.

South Africa is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Commonwealth nations lie all over the map.

Commonwealth nations lie all over the map.

But all nations in the commonwealth are not equal in the eyes of the Brits. If you’re from Canada, Australia or New Zealand you’re welcome in the UK without an invitation. Just show up and you’re in. If you’re from South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland… Let’s see… Jamaica… India… you are required to spend a small fortune and up to 60 days applying for a visa before they’ll be kind enough to let you come to their damp island and spend your hard earned inferior currency. At one point, South Africa was on the English guest list. This was when we still had apartheid.

Have a look and see who's not welcome. Then think a bit about why.

Have a look and see who’s not welcome. Then think a bit about why. If you’re from the USA – not even a commonwealth member – you get a free pass too.

Here it is put another way… for the slow people.


And I think this probably means I won’t be getting a visa anytime soon!


Black in So-Cal, USA

June 8, 2012

I just went back to writing columns for News24, Africa’s biggest news website. While my rate of pay has dropped thanks to the ailing exchange rate, I’m glad to be back in the saddle after a much-needed break. I’ll now be writing twice a month. And here’s the lastest column: Black in So-Cal, USA – about the subtle but sure form of racism I encounter all the time here in Orange, California and surrounds.

South Africa’s apartheid history is well known. I feel sick at the thought of how little black, indian and colored kids must have felt seeing signs like this. Imagine not letting a child share the sea with your child?

But the USA, until very recently, had similar laws – google it. The friend I write about in the column remembers getting into trouble as a child while visiting his grandma in the South for using a drinking fountain that was whites-only. There may not have been a sign by then, but in the South, people knew their place… “Colored” has a very different, and offensive, meaning in the USA to what it does in South Africa of course.