I will never forget the face of the middle-aged immigration official I met at JO’burg International Airport back in 2013. I had gone there with a few colleagues from different countries (Ghana and Zimbabwe) and we were on our way back from Capetown and needed to board the flight at JO’burg airport bound for Accra, Ghana.
This slim light skinned fellow kept me at his desk asking a series of questions aggressively apparently trying to make me confess some wrong I had done. It got so intense he actually threatened to take me to the interrogation room! It had all started when he ask why I was in South Africa and I happened to mention “… came for a training …” . He had a problem with that because my passport had a Visitor’s VISA. Well I didn’t know there was a training VISA did I ? (Ha Ha Ha). This delay nearly cost me the flight and my Zimbabwean colleague queried where I was all the while.
A few blocks after I had left the Immigration Officer I realized what had just happened: prejudice. The officer saw a Nigerian passport and all his senses came alive! He had to make sure he wasn’t letting a drug dealer or scammer get past him. Sad to say some folks have made us very notorious for evil. If you know someone out there who is ding something fishy in a foreign country or to a foreigner, you should let them know they are making like a little more difficult for those who just want to mind their business and earn an honest living.