theheartofmen

Written by my friend Zugos. Please follow him on twitter

Posted on: 27/08/2012

My first attempt at blogging! Read and laugh!!

The Cape Town carnival….

THE Cape Town carnival, which in 2011 drew crowds in excess of 50,000 people  is unique in its history, which is rooted in South Africa’s troubled past.

This year’s celebration, slated to start on Friday the 24th of March and themed “Cape to Cairo” promised to be the biggest street party yet, with parades featuring more than 2000 dazzling costumed performers in 11 themed pods. The 3 best lead dancers were to be selected to travel to Brazil for the famous Rio Carnival. What other opportunity asides this to have a view of a Brazilian Styled carnival, and witness firsthand 3 of its participants! I couldn’t miss this for anything else in the world. So on Feb, 14th; in the absence of any significant other to spend the day with, I decided to send in my application for a South African Visa!

Nothing was going to get in my way.

Prior to sending in my application, the Visa application instructions states amongst others, the need for a Yellow Fever Vaccination Card, popularly called a “Yellow Card”. The “Yellow card” can easily be gotten in designated hospitals or bought off the streets, depending on the urgency. I wasn’t in any particular hurry and decided against getting it the “Naija way”. The yellow card was issued from First Rivers Hospital, Port Harcourt (PH) which is one of PH’s reputable hospitals and also one of my work place retainership clinics. Of course the company paid for the shots and it was duly documented. All requirements had been met and at some point I even made plans to maybe get hitched while in Cape Town. Little did I know that Man Proposes, but the SA High Commission Disposes!

And so after paying the recommended visa fees, my expectations were value for my money since written boldly on the bottom of the receipt page were instructions that read “The fees paid are non refundable and Non transferable”. I wouldn’t need a refund, since I have met and exceeded all the requirements.  Pictures of scantily clad ladies became resident in my thoughts, climbing the Table Mountains in Cape Town and the breath taking view from the mountain top, not to mention taking pictures and uploading on social media sites to increase my social desirability status a notch. Everything had been well planned out. My brother, who resides in SA, had his vacation scheduled at about the same time I was due to be in SA. So asides the carnival ladies, I was also meeting up with family! This was turning out to be the best vacation ever. So that fateful Tuesday, as lovers paraded themselves hand in hand, I left the visa application centre, daydreaming about what “the lover” in Cape Town would look like. My imagination was almost lifelike. The countdown began!

1 week stretched to 2, and then 3. I kept reassuring myself that delay is not denial, while trying to desist from the obsession of daily tracking of my visa application online.

And then the 4th week.
And 5th week.
At this point the worries set in and a call was put through to the Visa application centre in Lekki, Lagos. As usual, they told me what I already knew ;

“Your application has been forwarded to the SA High Commission for further processing. Is there anything else we can do for you?”

Of course there was a whole lot you can do for me like telling your colleagues I have a carnival to catch and  “the lover” is waiting for me” but the Christian in me kindly said “No. that’s all thanks”.

6 weeks.

Depression set in. The need to be proactive became necessary and I began to pack my bags since the carnival was just a few days away. All I had to do was catch a flight to Lagos from PH on the day the visa comes out, grab a bike from the airport to Lekki for fear of traffic, pick up my passport with the stamped Visa, grab another bike to the airport and catch the next flight to SA. Thoughts of “the lover” kept me strong! I imagined “the lover” might grow a liking in Nigerian dishes and thought buying some Egusi and Ogbono with Stock fish, Periwinkle and Ugwu leaves to prepare some mouth watering Nigerian meal will earn me some man points. Asides from keeping me strong, thoughts of “the lover” also made me foolish! The 6th week was drawing to an end. March 24th was 2 days away. This was highly unacceptable, but all I could do was wait.

And Friday, the 24th came

And it went.

And I wept!

All my dreams were shattered! My hopes to meet the lover were dashed; the planned vacation with my family had ended before it even began. Was there any logical explanation for this? What caused the delays? Why me? How do I explain to “the lover” that I couldn’t make the trip? And the questions kept pouring in with no answers in view.

The 7th week came fast and on the 28th of March, there was an update on the website that my Passport was ready for collection. My excitement levels had dropped, but it was 4 days since the carnival ended. If true love truly existed, then “the lover” might still be hanging around Cape Town. I picked up the parcel and quickly tore it open and folded in the passport was a letter I initially thought was an apology from the SA High Commission till I read its contents. It read:

“With reference to: YOUR APPLICATION FOR A VISITORS VISA. Please be informed that your application has been denied for the following reason(s): COPY OF VACCINATION CARD ATTACHED IS INVALID. If you intend re-applying please attach all the required documents.”

Something was definitely wrong. These guys must have mixed up my application with someone else’s.  Memory flashes of the day I was vaccinated replayed in my head. Is the SA High Commission trying to tell me all the pain I felt while the syringe pierced through my shoulder was not real? Do they mean the fact that I held out from screaming out in pain so I don’t look weak in front of the kids who came for immunization was all a lie? Do they mean all of this was imaginary? This can’t be happening. Are they saying that even a hospital with such reputation will issue an invalid Yellow Fever vaccination card?  With the Manufacturer and Batch Number of the vaccine boldly written on the card? Do they mean that I have faked the Yellow Card and the pain I went through for a chance to meet “the lover” was in vain? I had to draw up a plan. The deed has been done. If the SA High Commission can wrongly accuse a reputable Hospital of issuing an invalid yellow card, then it’s left to the Hospital to uphold its credibility and defend its reputation by challenging the High Commissions accusations.

But that didn’t happen.

I still have hopes for next year. True love never dies…..

Follow @zugos on twitter

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  • None
  • livelytwist: Interesting topic that we need to come to terms with. As you pointed out, "...no matter how much you miss your past, there’s a reason you left in th
  • angelsbeauty: Word!
  • Bee: Spot on 👌

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