Monday, 19 December 2011

Caravan Dispatches - Flashback - Organized Chaos Border - Part 1

The Beitbridge Border – From South Africa Into Zimbabwe
Written on 6th December 2011 at Night

Photo of Beitbridge Border. Courtesy of
Oh my word! Who has been to this border at night? I am talking of the Beitbridge Border that we got into right from South Africa. I can’t believe it. There must be thousands of people at this border a caravanite says a loud to which l readily agree. As far as my eyes can see, there is a sea of both humanity and some very high tech buses.

These people are all coming through from South Africa to places like  Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia among other places. My friend warned me as we started out, ‘Maria, this is the busiest port within Southern and Central Africa if not all of Africa.’ We kept wondering, how busy can it get? Oh! well we are here and for real l have no idea what time we will clear out. The bus queue is so long that l have no idea if we will be here till next week. No l am not kidding you.

Just then as l am wondering about the time we will spend here we are told to alight and go and have our passports stamped. We walk towards the passport area and l am not lying to you when l say, the queues are unforgiving. There are like over 200 people per several queues. As luck would have it, a caravanite comes from inside and says to me and some other ladies, ‘why are you standing here? There is a caravanite queue right inside.’ We make a beeline for it shortly after she points it out. We are so relieved. We get inside and queue behind our fellow caravanites. It seems like not everyone has heard about the special queue. ‘l know they will hear of it,’ a lady from Zambia says.

At the counter we are met by an angry official. Angry because she has just thrown back a passport at my colleague who is looking equally flabbergasted. ‘What haven’t l done?’ she asks as she pushes the passport back to the angry official who says nothing but keeps stamping away at other passports. When our fellow caravanite figures it out she quickly fills it and gives it to her and it is stamped with no questions. The next on line does the same mistake only this time she begins to shout at the lady, ‘stop throwing my passport back at me without telling me what is wrong. This is the first time l am travelling and some of these things are new to me.’ She stands there defending herself and loudly enough for everyone to hear. The angry woman then points out the missing data to which the caravanite from Malawi says, ‘was that so hard?’ As she finishes her sentence l had already gotten a pen and filled out mine. This woman behind the desk is tired and is not in the mood of helping travellers who don’t seem to understand procedure.

Once we get stamped my friends and l walk out but not before checking all the caravanites documents we can see. We warn them to have everything right, otherwise… 

By Maria Wanza

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you had to experience that, Beitbridge Border is always like that more specially during December. There is a lot of border crossing between SA and Zim with people looking for better livelihoods through tradings, some of these people come from as far as Zambia-That is part of life