Well here is something you really don’t hear of much when it comes to the South African Administration System, ie. dealing with Home Affairs and friends.
I was actually quite shocked when I read the result of this. Fortunately I have not had the pleasure of having to waste hours of my life that I’ll never get back waiting in a queue at the South African Embassy in London…yet… although I have had my fair share of dealings with Home Affairs back in SA, and not to mention many hours at the Marianhill Licensing department in Pinetown, where on the occasional day when I’d just finished school, I’d wake up at around 12pm (this was normal) and notice a little note left on the kitchen counter from my ballie which read,
Mark, here’s some bucks, I’ve filled out the forms, howz to just pop over to the licensing department quick and get a new tax disc for the trailer when you have a few minutes? Thanks a mil, Cheers Dad.
Ja, shot Dad! let me just go buy myself a tent, a sleeping bag; a skottel; a shitload of valium to keep the temper volcano from erupting and don’t expect me home until Friday, while I wait in the queue, although you may see me from time to time while I dart back home to fetch some unknown required document, and then go back to start from the back of the queue again… skottel and all!
But as it turns out coming to England you do realise some countries do have a very efficient system in place in which peasants such as ourselves endure minimal stress. I realised this very quickly as when I got here, one of the first things I did was get my SA Drivers license exchanged for a UK license, all I had to do was fill out a form, pop that; £30; my SA License and SA Passport into an envelope and post it, yes, you are telling a saffa fresh off the boat in a foreign country, to POST his passport off to somewhere in Wales after 21 years of experience with the “South African Postal Service”, lets just say it took a bit of convincing but I was assured it would be fine. Literally 3 weeks later, VOILA! I had a brand spanking new UK drivers license, that lasts double the time of an SA license and costs next to nothing to renew.
However, we may be in England, but we were now still dealing with our old foe… South African Administration…
So my mate Darren Akins’ passport was nearing the end of its life cycle… this is his story
I recently had to visit the South African Embassy in Charing Cross to renew my good old Green Mamba. This wasn’t because I had 2 blank pages left (had I not needed a Schengen Visa every time to travel Europe, this would have been a different story) but because my 10 year expiry date had come. I don’t think I can even remember smiling for my previous passport photo. Hair all neat and tidy and no 5 o’clock shadow to be proud of. Ah, the days of being at school, not a stress in the world. Well, it’s only once every decade that I have to get some new snaps done, fill out a couple of forms, wake up at sparrows and head down to the local embassy. I had read on the internet that the Appointment System had changed and that I didn’t need one anymore to renew my bad boy. Sweet, because I had tried earlier in the year to call and the phone just rang and rang…hmmm?? So anyways, I got down there fairly early to be greeted by this massive queue that actually went up the street and then back down again. Okay, I exaggerate, but at 8 in the morning, it seemed long to me. Well after waiting outside for 20 minutes, I finally got through the front door and received my ticket number…49…yes please! I had all my documents filled out already before I arrived but they are quite jacked up there. The lady in the front asks why you here and gives you the necessary forms to fill out. Could be a good idea to do it there as the wait can be quite long. I waited nearly 2 and a half hours to be served. But there those questions like your mom’s birthday and when your folks got married etc so you might want to check that out before hand. Its very nicely decorated inside with a glorious big picture of our hero Jacob Zuma in a dashing golden frame that stares at you while you wait your turn. It actually went quite smoothly. They helped me fill in a few fields that I wasn’t sure of, called me by my first name and even gave me washing up liquid to clean my hands after they took my finger prints. Paid my £14 and with my £6 change that I got from my 20, I popped into the Pret next door and grabbed a muffin and coffee. All in all, and to be very fair, it was actually a pleasant experience. Everyone can agree that dealing with Home Affairs can be a mission but the staff there were very helpful and made the process a whole lot easier. Just hoping that the turn around time of 4 months is just a bluff and that I’ll get mine sooner so I can spend Christmas at home in Durbs and chill on the beach in the blazing sun while everyone else in London enjoys the wet cold winter…brrrrr.
Wow, when I started reading that story, I was like, hahaha I know where this is going, sorry for you… but then to my shock and utter surprise, they go and actually make the visit quite pleasant! WTF! haha 🙂
So for any of you guys who have been dreading that expiry date in your passport, please do not fear… its not as bad as you think, the waiting time is basically the same time it takes you to get to work and back, well at least for us C.W.P.T.P’s (City Working Public Transport Peasants) Come to think of it, my Green Mamba is up for renewal next year already, EISH! time flies! but I guess I needn’t worry too much since I now have my dashing Red Rooster… Yes, it is indeed the Rooster of all passports 🙂
I’ve just got one question to ask The Dazzler….
Did J.Z’s eyes follow you around the room wherever you went?… as if to say “Your ass is mine boy!” haha 🙂
And Daz, lets just hope you don’t get something back like this haha 🙂