The conversation went something like this:
Home Affairs Home Office Representative: Good day, Home Affairs.
Kyle: Um, I am an American citizen I have a situation that I need some clarity on.
K: I am facing a situation where I am going to be in South Africa illegally – that is, my visa extension is only good through February and I don’t fly out until March 6th.
HAHOR: Hmm, that’s really no problem.
HAHOR: Really. You’ll just be assessed a fine of R1500 as you leave the country in March. When you pay that fine, you will be welcome to return to South Africa any time you like and you will not have any problems leaving the country. If you choose not to pay, you will simply not be allowed back into the country until that fine is paid. No big deal, though.
K: So that’s it? Being illegal doesn’t mean I will be in jail or kept from leaving in March?
HAHOR: Nope. Just a simple fine.
HAHOR: You have nothing to worry about. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.
HAHOR: I’ll even pay the fine for you!! Have a nice day.
Ok, the last line was made up. But otherwise, that is how the debate over whether we would stay or go became decided.
And this is the poetry that moved my heart: “Nothing to worry about. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.”
Uh, ya. We pay $220 each to leave and we are respected US citizens welcome back to South Africa anytime (is someone - anyone - offering to pay to bring me to the World Cup here in 2010?).
So, thank you for your interest in that saga. We can all sleep easy now. See you in March.
We just like these photos...They don't have anything to do with this post.
*I thought using HAHOR as an abbreviation was funny. If you thought so too, we should have coffee sometime.**
**Or maybe we should just go grab some caramels. When you think about it, it's just as arbitrary as drinking coffee.