Thoughts From A Vendor Whose Visa was Declined

I watched a viral video of Jeffery Mayi seeing his mom for the first time in 10 years and understood the overwhelming emotions that caught him absolutely off guard, he wept like a baby regardless of his adult stature. Many people, especially African children who've reached fair adulthood today, were denied visas to America, Australia, England, Germany, Canada etc and God knows the realities they've endured throughout their lives from henceforth living without their families. I was denied a visa to the United Kingdom and turned around at the embassy up the Sandton Mall with a sore heart that I would never ever settle with my family. That has been my constant reality to this day.

Growing up we always lived with the idea that we'd soon join our families abroad. Our distant parents made sacrifices to get us enrolled at private schools so we could learn with Western-speaking folk to polish up our English, French or German to advance our Intellect and to acquaint us with a Civilhood that suited Western standards. We were promised a better life abroad which we prepared ourselves for to no avail. 

We watched our fortunate friends and classmates catch planes and lead decent and lavish lives abroad with their families, with sparks of hope that our day would come, little knowing that the effects of visa denial would eventuate us to denying the Western standards we'd committed ourselves to as a survival skill, to embrace unanticipated austere African realities which compelled us to sell bananas in the streets. Without giving attention yet to the familial functional impairments that develop in a person due to visa denial; It isn't held to discourse at all the paradigmatic extent to which one has to gear down from their classist thought lines (standards) and conducts to suit clawing realities they'd been initially blindsided from in preparation for a promised life across the pond because so few attempt it. People don't understand this adjustment and what it entails. What is meant by classist/standard living? It's as simple as tea. 

In Africa, tea is tea it doesn't matter if you drop your teabag or pour your coffee before your sugar, milk or water or vice versa. In the West classes, however, tea is not just tea, it matters how you prepare it: you drop your tea bag/coffee, pour your hot water, draw your teabag, pour your sugar, then lastly pour your milk, this taste of tea/coffee is completely different from the tea made every which way. There are abundant instances to show how people conduct their lives and how they make their tea and that is where lies the contrast between classism and traditionalism; it's in the taste of your tea, it's in the way you conduct your life that it shows, the way you speak, the places you go to or avoid, your perceptions, your preferences etcetera. 

Visa rejects are sentenced to the damnation of either living with a Western culture they learned or Having to unlearn some conduct, some preferences, some attitudes, some perceptions of it to suit the distinct African socioeconomic structure, damned if you do damn if you don't. To give an illustration, some Africans literally cannot constructively communicate in our native languages because of the environments and cultures they were brought up in, so they shop at costly stores to avoid lingual & standard inconvenience, or to be fair, they follow their preferences. 

A banana costs Z$50 on my cart or at the flea market, but because someone grew up different, making tea a typical way and living a standard life which perceives flea markets as low rank/poor environments that aren't suitable for their personal image they would rather buy that same banana at a supermarket where it costs Z$144, where speaking English isn't shunned and where the standard is suitable for their image. 

Bear with me I am not saying classism is wrong or that shopping at supermarkets is classist, bread is the same price everywhere, I am simply bringing to light the aspect of classism which influences behaviours, preferences & perceptions, and hinders western groomed Africans from associating with things below class or appear poor, which is largely the socioeconomic state of African affairs, yet they cannot sustainably afford that lifestyle without crippling essential life-sustaining needs. Some elite citizens can afford the Z$144 banana without griping because they live by those means and will leave a tip and still remain with a united states dollar to buy three more bananas, but their preferences aren't motivated by classism. 

Some people are literally discouraged and mortified by the idea of boarding a ZUPCO bus because the standards they grew under associate it all with poverty, their threshold cannot tolerate the inconveniences that may potentially be in commuting that way, yet they do not have a licence let alone own a vehicle. Some move out of their family homes to pursue independence and self-sufficiency but make the classist engineered mistake of renting rooms in costly suburbs to maintain a standard and image which in the long run cripples them completely, causing them to turn back home. 

Look, unless you're really on top of your game and making a killing, I do not believe renting in the suburbs is wise in the first years of your career or establishing a business, but it's understandable what would lead to that preference if the standards you were provisioned as a child were high status. So to live well, productively and sustainably, such people have to unlearn such attitudes so they can sufficiently communicate and be understood, so they can start enterprises from scratch or attach to informal/dead-end jobs to be self-sufficient, so they can settle in "low rank" communities affordable enough to grant them a piggy bank, so they can board commuter buses instead of cabs, and so they can merge with the demanding African realities without worrying about an apparent degradation. 

You can already imagine the height of behavioural and lingual incoherence (a lack of solidity) and mental frustration people who dare to attempt this paradigm shift have to endure as human beings due to substantial alterations of the self and standards before we even begin to bat an eyelid at the legal action, familial and scholastic functional impairments that they would have already developed due to the consequences of a denied visa which would have otherwise granted them a healthy familial experience, a conducive scholastic venture and a strong will and belief in legal action without a sense of apathy.

A significant portion of African children who are now approaching fair adulthood is actually still confined to classist cultures that no longer serve but cost them, simply because it requires an outrageous and prolonged effort to transcend a throughline let alone degrade from it to fairly suit your environment; denied visa's play a significant contributive role in this dysfunction. 

We grew up being spoken to in English over the phone, some French or German because since infancy the plan was to join our families across the pond. We grew up anticipating aerial views through oval windows, we grew up reciting in elocution English or French or German statements and accents until we couldn't get them wrong, you can imagine how we carried ourselves and our perceptions of things, and having to unlearn it all because it really doesn't work in Africa for a young and unestablished person trying to find their way up, only a few win it and only when their classist communities support them and they can thrive by them, only a few. 

It's embarrassing trying to speak in Ndebele or Shona and your English accent gets in the way of your native dialect, you feel stupid and that is the lingual incoherence I highlighted earlier. When I first started selling in the streets I chanted "Bananas" with an accent it was so funny, not that I couldn't speak Ndebele I had a severe lingual crisis because my Zulu was still a thing too and if you know the Zulu accent and Ndebele accent are totally different, let alone an English accent, I had a hard time fitting in but I adjusted in time. 

You see the most likely kid to succeed in Africa is not the eloquent English-speaking, IGCSE-holding kid from a child-headed suburban home but the ZIMSEC-holding eloquent native-speaking kid from a complete family in the township, the kid who was not promised a life abroad but life at the farm or was warned of a potentially miserable life was his mom/dad had to pass way. That kid has from the beginning been conditioned to be in touch with upfront African realities, boarding a ZUPCO bus even if he will get rained on in it is not the slightest inconvenience. 

I love African movies that project a scene where a character is sitting next to a docked woman who's carrying a chicken in her left hand and a baby on her back in an overloaded Hiace that's driven by a fat guy whose face looks like there's a chance of a mechanical breakdown. That is the reality in Africa but for someone who makes their tea a typical way, that's a death trap yet for someone who makes their tea every which way it's a transport convenience. 

I was seeing a gorgeous suburban girl sometime in 2020 whom I wanted to take to places and hang out with more, but because I'd already had life's toughest blows as a vendor and cycle commuter my advances were the totally deal-breaking and off league. My idea of a date was to ride our bikes to the park which was about four kilometres from her residence, take a walk there or have a picnic, but she refused. 

Sometimes I thought about going to an Ice Cream parlour which was two ZUPCO buses away but I could sense the inconvenience on her part before I even attempt to ask her out on an Ice Cream date, I just had the worst plans man. I then resorted to visiting her instead and we'd chill outside her house chatting over ice cream and sometimes bananas until sunset, the latest was 7pm, then I'd leave her with some banana bread and milk. 

Pushcart ice cream vendors would sometimes pass by, that's how I figured we could have ice cream. You can already gauge how bad my game was and my boy always mocks me about bringing her bananas, banana bread and milk. A lot of times I think if I had a car then maybe I would've landed her, not because cars get girls but because we'd have a had a better experience of our time together under that convenient conveyance to an ice cream parlour, or buying the banana bread and milk together, driving to coffee shops together without her even having to look all dressed up because if you have to even board a ZUPCO bus you have to maintain an appearance and smell good but with a car, you just have to wash your face wear your sweatpants, crocs and an XL graphic t-shirt then head out for a coffee date. 

With a car, things would've been much more spontaneous and flexible than the same routine sitting outside her house, we may have not stopped talking. Had her standards been raw African, boarding a ZUPCO bus would've been a date too. The bike was far-reaching I know don't drag me I was just trying to fulfill my childhood fantasies. Uyazi uk'jola ungena moto kuyi inconvenience kanjan mfethu?

You may think "Oh he's just making a visa fuss this is ridiculous!" but what you don't realize is that all of this is a consequence of and is encompassed and encapsulated into a prolonged construct of colonialism. You cannot invade a settlement, divide its settlers, alter their ways, teach them your language, break their culture, depart and think it will not have century-stretched imprints and consequences on those people before we even begin to look at the colonial sins which have not been accounted for whose tactics are consistent and still utilized to continue to dissipate African families today. 

Do you not think it's a construct of colonialism that colonial era born African youths who're grandfathers today recognized spurious better opportunities to work abroad? Did it just hover on their scalp that maybe England is a better place? Do you not think it probable that they may have as well been fleeing subsequent unrests that raptured as a consequence of ethnic segregation and a cultural disturbance which we may as well ascribe to colonialism? In the fourth form of History, we learned all the reasons the Berlin Conference of 1885 was conferred to partition Africa for among many, cheap labour and rule.

                           Thoughts From A Vendor Whose Visa was Declined

This "visa fuss" you may think just is, hangs a very long and thick root whose tree was watered with tears of loss and failure. It is why some African families are broken, it is why there are absentee parents and child-headed homes in Africa and why youths are alcoholics and crack heads without a concerned mother or an upright father around, it is why adults becoming youths are layabouts with no plans, it is why some children are underperforming at school because they do not have parents who're actively involved with their academic performances, it is why some people encountered adverse childhood experiences under the hands of relatives or guardians or family friends who kept them on behalf of their parents. 

There is a world of people whose family, social, academic and career lives would've been otherwise ideal had it not been for the effects of visa denial, and that has always been the plan. It is not by mistake or without forethought that apathy is harnessed through visa denial, this is actually working on a chunk of people and families. That is how you break down a nation; You lure & take its fathers or mothers and deny its sons and daughters entrance. 

You incentivize its parents, for a measured period, with dead-end jobs that pay enough to cushion their former discomforts & dissatisfactions and sustain their new cost of living because those jobs return better wages than the professional jobs of their homeland, but you turn a blind eye on their families back home whom they should support and sustain, and you deny them visa's on arbitrary grounds. As time goes on you hammer them down with exorbitant rentals, insurance, council tax & bills and deny them fitting state benefits until they cannot afford to even sacrifice their minuscule surplus to send back home or maintain a stress-free life. 

Africans pay more in rentals, electricity and gas but earn less. Africans are subject to offences they cannot avenge otherwise they lose their job and are demerited with a bad work record, Africans are victims of maltreatment and overtasking at the workplace, and Africans are victims of racial slur and treatment, these are the challenges our parents are sentenced to abroad. Meanwhile, the government selectively takes in whole families in minorities and uses them as alibis to cover their stances, the government also recognizes favoured foreign nationals' (Polish & Bulgarians) financial responsibilities to their outside immediate families and grants them a tax reduction, state benefits and low rentals, bills and insurance. 

They exploit power to make Africans feel as though it's their fault and that they are ignorant of tax reduction legal procedures and just how things work. That time they're harvesting from their labour and money. Do you see the frustration and calculated mental breakdown Africans are sentenced to? Suicidal cases have emerged from such treachery constructs. You see they choose who to cage as a slave and who to maintain as a human being. Dave Chappelle narrated the story of how bushmen tame a baboon with a lump of salt when they want to discover where he gets his water in dry seasons. They know it is unlawful and impossible to disenfranchise a whole family, so they segregate us and commoditize it for their gain while our family units suffer. The good old colonial tactic of divide and rule.

I sympathize with victims of visa denial who turned around at the airport or the embassy, and their families, especially those who experienced this at a tender age because the rejection of an opportunity that you're aware could've turned around or complimented your life stays with you forever lingering in your daily thoughts; the family experience you could've had, the new friends you could've made, the life you could've lead. 

You continue to live a life of comparison to that which you could've as well preceded and that is where a lot of us visa-denied Africans are stuck. A lot of days when I'm selling in the city I think about the life my friends are living across the pond, I see their family pics on socials, their academic achievements and their careers thrive and only think to myself that that could've literary been my wave too, then I have a chuckle, shake my head and chant "50 bond i'banana lapha khiwa". 

The first time I got denied a flight was at the OR Tambo airport, I was 10. The second time was at the UK embassy up the Sandton Mall, I'd suited all of my belongings up into a case, my ticket had been booked and I was dressed to impress ready and sure from the embassy I'd head straight to the airport. I opened that document before we even got to the elevator back down and the first words I met on shoving it out were REFUSAL OF ENTRY CLEARANCE in bold, I was 15. I'd been heartbroken by a girl before but this heartbreak was different, as though I was mature enough to foresee the consequences of it. Have you ever told everyone you were getting married and your bride didn't show up at the alter?

I hope you find a breakthrough, I did and I've gone a long way so far but I am facing the prevalent challenges still. Regardless of forcefully breaking through classist confinements, I'd been inclined to, I am still fighting for a clearer reality, for a harder grip on things, for a non-classical culture I grew up blindsided from, that one which doesn't require eloquent English to get things done or be understood. 

English can help but its exclusivity doesn't get important things done in Africa, even in France, Germany, Russia and China, unless if of course you're white and privileged or a customer. Otherwise, in this era of high unemployment rates and inflation you need a strong Ndebele, Zulu, Shona, Swahili, Tonga or Sotho command here to get things working, you'll appear soy and lost in this street life ngales'lungu se'private school mfana. 

Do not be fooled into thinking speaking great English will put food on the table, take it from me, it will not. In the African society English actually isolates you, to really fit the shoe completely you must speak African and you will enjoy your blackness. It's a lot of English-speaking ego heads with nothing to show for their lives, it's no longer 1960, everybody is literate and educated now but unemployed. We'll soon witness the normalcy of street kids with British accents in Africa. Look, there's already a banana vendor with a Manchester accent in the city, what more proof do you need my friend?

I have accepted that my family life will never be, sometimes I wonder how I'm going to cope as a father and a husband because I've literally lived a life of "us & them" with my guardians, family friends and relatives who kept me before I started staying on my own; The true family has always just been over the phone. I haven't met my siblings in counting 13 years and due to further effects of familial destruction I haven't spoken to them in two years or know their whereabouts! The last time I met my father was in 2013 and that was just a fortnight too quick to hold dear. Before that fortnight I'd last met my father in 2005. Had I been granted a visa, this wouldn't be a reality.

Candace Owens is a great advocate for family life. She raised in a panel talk the issue of how the American Welfare system incentivizes single parenting, especially single motherhood, with higher state benefits and allowances and how that is disintegrating especially in African American family units. This concept as I've already highlighted earlier is also inflicted on Africans living abroad, especially in Europe, through either the visa system or the welfare system. 

They divide families and commoditize that, it's a business. These organizations, enterprises or council subcontractors enterprise on the housing of abused women, advising abused women, defending abused women (lawsuits), dating agencies, and, without any adverse experiences involved, the general support of a single mother whose baby daddy is just a deadbeat. This is why the single motherhood rate has skyrocketed across all societies. It is a very essential and moral thing to protect, support and advocate for abused women and single mothers please do not get me wrong, I do recognize that there are genuine NPOs and tax-exempt organizations that further social security and stand by that.

However, I am bringing to light the corrupt council entrepreneurs and officials who, because the system is unmonitored and is guaranteed impunity for their custodian positions, turn families into money laundering schemes by siphoning money from the Departments of Social Welfare and that of Works and Pensions. They deceitfully serve a worthy ideal until the business is no longer generating income and clients (abused women) aren't coming forward on the grounds of domestic abuse, which then serves them broke. So, the easiest way of booming business is to hunt down poor African families, who're vulnerable, with their psychological tactics. 

They offer large sums of money, and promise them better housing for the children, promise benefits, allowances, better social support and government funding, only if the woman agrees to deliberately create strong charges against the father of the children. They coach those women with stage-managed acts of abused and neglected women and because of their organizations' powers and government connections, it is usually difficult or rather costly for the man to contest it. Under their lawsuits, the women's word is subject to no debate. 

They can manipulate any arm of the law and hide their corruption. They maximize profits with fabrications of GBV (domestic, emotional and sexual abuse of women) such that if the woman claims and accuses the man of such behaviour then their case carries more weight and reward, so they then apply for lucrative support funds from government departments citing the emergency based on the extent of the crisis. Then they make preliminary statements which result in the breaking up of the family and custody of the children is obviously granted to the mother and if in the worst case scenario she'd claimed the man had raped or flogged her, he will be incarcerated or, if chances are, deported. But even without that happening the father is denied family benefits, and is moved out of a family home into a room a cat can't swing in, basically, his life turns miserable and that is where some commit suicide.

In that scenario, as Barak Obama said, any child who grows up in a broken family without especially a father figure has zero opportunities to gain a familial superego and is nine times more likely to end up in prison, six times more likely to drop out of school and twelve times more likely to lead a life of poverty and misery. 

So in essence broken families bear dysfunctional ineligible children who grow up to be dysfunctional ineligible adults, and that is how you shoot two birds with one stone: you break down a race and monetize on it. Which explains why African children stab each other and indulge in drugs, sex, alcohol and delinquency. It all emanates from colonial tactics implicitly implemented in the structure of African families and by the time you realize it you cannot put your finger on it. The fourth estate laments that African fathers vacate their children but it isn't highlighted that corrupt government officials and their organizations stage and disturb the structure of African families such that fatherless children grow up a mess. 

Candace Owens went on to pertain this all to how during slavery the same tactics were utilized to maintain a plantation; To strip off Africans of power and dignity they ¹Kept us ignorant. They'd chop off our limbs if we could read and write because an educated mind cannot be enslaved. ²They broke down our families. If you really look at the numbers, you'll realize a lot of African families are broken, our brothers and sisters are wayward and functionally impaired to learn skills, some cannot read today some cannot write today. So this "visa fuss" you may think just is, is actually just a tip of the iceberg of the various malicious ideals inflicted on especially the sons and daughters of Africa, but it does its numbers on its portions of interest.

I had a chat with my friend's father this past weekend about African thought lines and why we are always victimized and never self-sufficient. We had a bit of a disagreement because I was ascribing it all to colonialism and he was rather against the blame game wave I was riding. I did concede that yes we tend to blame someone for our failures and incapabilities, he was rather inclined to the idea that we should blame ourselves instead. 

Which I agreed with to a less extent though because the old adage that when you point a finger blaming someone you're pointing three back at yourself is rather manipulative in this context. I do not believe there are three reasons more to blame myself for having familial and scholastic functional impairments when I didn't have a healthy and stable family life growing up when my academic performances weren't monitored by a nagging mother who warned that I'd have a miserable life if was uneducated just to keep me focused growing up. 

I am strong of the opinion that as Africans we were oppressed until we couldn't put a finger on where our problems emanated from because it was termed "Blamey and unaccountable". Instead, we're made to carry all the weight on our backs and blame ourselves three fingers more. I think turning a blind eye to colonialism and apartheid on the basis that we should no longer blame the West is a bit falling out of line. Instead, I think the narrative we should push is that of awareness and acknowledgment instead of blame because the problem is not the problem, the problem is not seeing the cause of the problem which if we don't recognize and acknowledge the cause of the problem we cannot find it's solutions. 

Let us acknowledge that in South Africa we have a detrimental disposition to toyi-toyi and loot even in the modern day because it started in the apartheid era and went down a generation as a fixture mechanism because then it worked so we think it must still work but instead it costs us. Let us acknowledge that colonialism made us this way and then from hence we can seek a Civilhood which isn't sensitized to or triggered by colonialists and doesn't ascribe to sabotage behaviour. 

We are not blaming white people, we are recognizing what they made us become and calming that monster. Personally, I've begun to acknowledge that I speak English and think maize meal pap is healthier than sorghum pap because this normalcy was passed down from colonial standpoints. I've acknowledged that I think speaking English is a superiority trait because colonially you were perceived as a better African if you could communicate at length with the master and that belief has remained consistent to the modern day. 

I have acknowledged that our African social structure has not evolved since colonial disturbance. I am not blaming the white people, I am however holding myself accountable for my beliefs and acknowledging their emanating points so I can change them and behave differently. Mr. Maphosa my friend's father went on to explain why Africans originally think how we think and I thought I should share with you; Unlike White people, Scandinavians to be specific, Africans lived a life of survival from diseases and animal attacks because of the wildlife and weather on our continent. 

We were never forced by circumstances to think ahead of time because we hunted and gathered all year without scarcity unless in the worst-case scenario there was drought or famine. Africans have a great physical health advantage as we aren't susceptible to many diseases and can survive under harsh conditions and hot climates. 

The African culture is about mere survival but the Westerners are different. Scandinavians live in very cold climates and get snow for six months, their circumstances force them to think ahead of time to hoard food and wealth that would last them 6 months, they have to think about how to preserve hay for cattle and all of those things, which is why unlike Africans white people think. Africans couldn't possibly invent the refrigerator because we didn't know about snow or ice. 

Africans didn't build stone wall habitats because our weather wasn't that bad, we didn't have hurricanes or tsunamis which needed storm-withstanding habitats, and we were nomadic settlers and herders our habitats were simple. Our environmental circumstances didn't compel us to make tea a typical way. Africans are perceived as wasteful because we've always had basic needs in abundance and didn't need more, we were always content with our ways. 

Western cultures believe we must be alive for a purpose. To work, to make money, to be famous, to be of high ranking. Yet African cultures and other indigenous cultures believe we're alive just as nature is, to just exist without achieving anything valid in our humanness. So I had to agree with Mr. Maphosa that our innate properties as Africans do not render us intrinsically capable of critical thinking as white people's genetic properties don't render them capable of resisting diseases or surviving in harsh climatic conditions. 

This explains why the majority of our demographics are poor and why white communities in Africa are surrounded mostly by trees, remember they moved here because of favourable climatic conditions so when it gets hot they have to protect their skin with a lot of shade and oxygen. Africans weren't really bothered by heat unless it affected our health but that isn't the reason townships do not have a lot of trees today, our colonialists needed clear aerial views to monitor us. 

Apart from all that, the human mind is a malleable component even that of an African and can adjust to anything, which is why we've had many Africans in history till today achieving great ideals far greater than Scandinavians, Africans have risen to heights beyond belief and have astonished the world as we have always been considered the inferior race. It takes surmountable effort to rise to entrepreneurial, social, economic, political, academic, technological and scientific success as an African so celebrating Black Excellence will forever be a formidable culture! We've just got to stop keeping our brains in Western land when our bodies are on African soil.

Eita daar, I'm Ricky! A chilled out guy, dog lover, cyclist and a banana bread patient. Like yourself I'm taking life's blows as they come, trying to figure out my placement and purpose in this life, luckily I can write the journey out to share with you how ancient encounters were shared and taught about through dusty scrolls, only difference now is we've got tablets. I hope you'll enjoy my writings and mostly draw inspiration off of.

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