Emmanuel

If I have internet access, my mornings are little different, whether I am in Cape Town, Montevideo, Chamonix, Uppsala or Timbuktu; I rise early and update my investment accounts, read the business news, answer emails and usually write a little.  And by no later than midday, I set off on a long walk.

In Cape Town that walk usually encompasses one or all of the Waterfront complex, the Stadium, Green Point Park or Ocean View Drive, along Signal Hill.  And all my walks inevitably pass along the ocean promenade for as far as I feel comfortable.  That is my routine and I love it.  On those walks I do most of my thinking.

In Green Point Park, I look for the massive pike in the lake, for the Egyptian Geese and their eight goslings and the coots with their six little chicks.  And the huge scruffy bird that I have not yet identified; he or she always looks so sad and lonely.

Along the promenade I watch out for dolphins and whales and am always thrilled when I am fortunate to see them.  And the raw power of the ocean when it sends its waves pounding against the sea wall and launches its spray over me, as I pass by, reminds me so much of my native coast in the north of Ireland.

At Sea Point park, I often stop to watch the paragliders land from Signal Hill.  I have often watched them in Chamonix, landing on a run, but these people drop like a stone and suddenly stop in mid-air, slowly drift down for the last few metres and step down, as if they were getting out of bed.  They make it look so very easy.

When I return on the promenade along Mouille Point, I often see a young guy sitting on the wall, making models of sharks, whales, birds, penguins etc. from wire.  He is an artist with wire.  He is there most days, almost regardless of the weather.  When the waves sweep over his corner of the promenade, he retreats to a bench beside adjacent Beach Road.  His name is Emmanuel Chitsinde and he is from Zimbabwe.  He has been in South Africa for a while now, first in Durban, then Port Elizabeth and now in Cape Town, which I think he prefers.  He has a wonderfully cheerful disposition.

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Emmanuel in his workshop, with Pingu

I don’t know what people in Zimbabwe are like, but the vast majority of those that I know of, or have heard of in Cape Town, are all hard working and reliable – staff in the bars and restaurants that we frequent, Uber drivers, the girls where Lotta gets her nails manicured.  Most save hard to send money home to aid their impoverished families.  It is depressing to hear of the deprived state to which the corrupt Zimbabwe government has reduced their country.

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Pingu the penguin

 

Like Emmanuel, I also once went away from my homeland, more than 50 years ago, when I was young.  Fortunately, I eventually prospered and could send money home every month to help my parents.  I did that for many years, until there for was no further need; until they were no longer.

I feel empathy for Emmanuel and his compatriots.  I wish them every good fortune in their struggle.

 

South Africa Residency

I love Cape Town – the ocean, the mountains, the climate and the super-friendly people of all colours, both well-off and poor.  I feel so totally at home here, that after a year and three visits, I have started the process of obtaining a temporary 4-year residence, to be immediately followed by an application for […]

I love Cape Town – the ocean, the mountains, the climate and the super-friendly people of all colours, both well-off and poor.  I feel so totally at home here, that after a year and three visits, I have started the process of obtaining a temporary 4-year residence, to be immediately followed by an application for permanent residence.

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In most parts, it is not a demanding process.  I must provide apostilled (that was a new word for me) copies of my birth and divorce certificates.  Then there is a basic medical examination and chest x-rays.  I also must demonstrate that I have at least a net annual income of Rand 444,000 (c£26,000 or c$34,000).  But the painful part is providing police clearance from every country in which I have lived since I was 18.

Now for most countries, the process is not very demanding – basic identification data plus a fee.  But the US requires a set of fingerprints on ‘card stock’ plus a plethora of personal data, such as height, weight, colour of eyes, hair etc.  And their northern poodle requires electronic fingerprints, which are not readily accessible outside of Canada.  And neither of their embassies and consulates provide any assistance whatsoever.  To complicate the process, the US has a minimum of a 10-week service level, before the end of which my application could be rejected – I just hope that I did not give my height and weight in metric, leaving me to start all over again… 😦

Once I get all the required documentation, I must book an interview at an RSA embassy, in my case London – there is currently a one month wait.  And if my documentation is accepted, there is a further 33 working day delay until the permit is issued or rejected, during which time my passport is retained by the embassy.  As I also have an Irish passport, the latter is no handicap.

So, if everything I goes according to plan, I hope to be a South Africa resident by the end of this year.

Wish me luck… 🙂

Green Point

For access to open spaces, fresh ocean air and multiple sporting facilities, Green Point, Cape Town, is by far the best place in which I have ever had the opportunity to live.  I suspect that I will never find better.  And add in friendly and laid-back people, affordable food and wine, and a Goldilocks climate – never too hot, never too cold.  For me, it is perfect.

From our eyrie on the slopes of Signal Hill, it is about 600 m to the Green Point shops, restaurants, bars etc. and across the road is the edge of the sporting and recreational park, with the Cape Town stadium, two cricket grounds, an international standard athletics track, an 18-hole golf course, a rugby club with several pitches and a beautiful park, with lakes, abundant birdlife and a plethora of native flora.

And beyond the park is the ocean and a wide promenade, that stretches as far as I would ever care to walk.

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An early morning from our balcony

One day recently, on my usual daily walk past the rugby grounds, I noticed that several huge tents were being erected and each day after, more and more tents were being added.  The event was the Cape Town rugby 10s tournament, also incorporating a netball and beach volleyball competition.  All in all, there were 100 rugby teams, 40 netball and 40 volleyball, all competing over three days.

Now I have played in a few rugby 7s competitions, in my very amateurish and much younger days, but I had never heard of rugby 10s.  The game involves ten players on each team – five forwards and five backs, and each game has two 9-minute halves, with a 2-minute half-time.  The rules are similar to rugby 7s.

And typical of anywhere one finds rugby, copious volumes of beer were consumed, and the Cape Town event sported, what was reputed to be, Africa’s largest beer tent.

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The rugby event, as seen from the air (photo from internet)

Two days later, the tents, and all evidence of the rugby event, had disappeared, to be replaced, outside the football stadium and surrounding roads, by the construction of temporary facilities for the Cape Town leg of the Triathlon World Cup.

This event is held over two days, month by month, in several cities in both hemispheres.  There are four categories in the competition, with the elite competing over 750 m swim, 40 km cycle and 10 km run.

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The swim in the cold water of the Waterfront harbour (photo from internet)
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The cycling over laps along Beach Road (photo from internet)
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The eventual first and second in the elite female category (photo from internet)
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With a sprint to the finish by the football stadium (photo from internet)

As with the rugby competition, all evidence of the complex facilities had disappeared within two days.  On the third day, I found several strange metal strips on the forecourt near the stadium, each with protrusions at intervals.  There were two groups apart, but at angles to each other and not parallel. I was quite puzzled.

The next day, I found that barriers had been added, but I still could not imagine what they were for.  This time I found a park employee, who explained that when there was a football match in the stadium, the whole area was fenced off, and all spectators had to pass through the barriers to be searched for alcohol, drugs, knives, guns etc.

Sure enough, the next day I found that the whole area had been fenced off.  It was not obvious at the start.

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This weekend, there is a limited-overs cricket match taking place.

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And of course, tonight there will be the football match at the stadium.

It seems that there is never a dull moment in Green Point.

I like it like that… 🙂