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Sometimes we need to fight for our rights! Getting a visa as a longtime traveler in Lesotho

Sometimes we need to fight for our rights! Getting a visa as a longtime traveler in Lesotho

During 97 countries travelling, the worst experience to get a visa was for South Africa from the High Commission of Lesotho! Mr. Madiba Visa Consul personal anger stopped me 15 days to get a visa of South Africa. Still i am searching the answer!

Lesotho is a beautiful country to visit and the people I met are extraordinary. I keep a happy memory and I am grateful to everybody for all the special moments. Yet, Lesotho was also the country where I had to wait the longest for getting a visa, 15 days, and I need to share with you my personal view on how we sometimes need to fight to get our rights respected. And maybe sometimes we need to be more decided in requesting our civil rights, because, if we don’t do so, what was the freedom struggle worth doing?

I always think at Mahatma Gandhi’s words and inspiration for each difficult time in life: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
My last visa was valid to visit South Africa only until the 14th of March 2015. It is not long enough to travel from Maseru, Lesotho to Cape Town. So I decided to get a new visa and then continue my journey to South Africa.

On the 12th of March 2014, in the morning at 8.30 am, I went to visit the South African High Commission to get a new visa. Till there, it took me more than three hours long journey. Unfortunately, I could not meet that day the Consul, Mr. Madiba. I waited at the High Commission for almost 7 hours. In the end, they explained I need to come again on Tuesday, the 17th of March 2015 to meet the Consul.
It was not enough that Tuesday I was spending almost all day from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 pm trying to get the visa. When I met the Consul, he told me he never faced a case like me before. I showed him my last two South African visas from Zimbabwe and Madagascar and explained him l help the understanding of my situation as a long-time traveler and hurry up the visa issuing, I wrote to all Embassies, especially Zimbabwe High Commission, Embassy of South Africa in Madagascar and Pretoria, South Africa Home Affairs.

When I met Mr Madiba the next day, he was very angry.He asked me: Why did you write emails to everyone? I understood that some of his higher authority told something and that’s why he was very angry on me.I tried to explain him that I did not have bad intention but he could not understand. His personal anger stopped me for 15 days to wait to get a visa! It was the most unpleasant experience for the last 97 countries to get a visa.

But today I got the visa finally! If Gandhi Ji was with me today, He would be very happy and He would put his hand on my shoulder and say we should never give up!
I just feel I need to say this: every day in Maseru, Lesotho, more than 50 people are coming to the High Commission for visa. They are waiting and waiting and every day they are going away with a new hope to get a visa tomorrow! They are coming back again there with the documents and every day they are told that they need a new document or new attachments. People are tired! How can God help them if God inside persons in charge does not listen?

The countrymen of South Africa should not forget their fight not only for freedom, but also their fight for the right of dignity and justice. We just expect minimum cooperation, to understand the requirement and friendship of the others, as humans, to know and explain with humanity. The employees at the Embassy do not value people’s time. If people do not know how to respect others, how can they expect respect from the others? Respect should be reciprocated: one person gets respect, when they give respect!

How can we make a change? How can we overcome such a painful situation? I don’t have an answer, do you?



About Somen Debnath

Dear friends, my name is Somen Debnath. I am a resident of the village of Basanti, Sundarbans, West Bengal, which is a great mangrove forest and the largest tiger reserve in India. My "Around the World Bicycle Tour for HIV/AIDS Awareness Programme & Presentation of Indian Culture" started on 27th of May 2004, two days after I acquired Bachelor degree in Zoology from the University of Calcutta. I have also completed 'Visarad' in Fine Arts from the Sarbabhartiya University. My goal is to cover 191 countries till 2020. I will travel 200.000 km in the whole world and reach nearly 20 million people. 118.000 km I will travel for charity, that's why I'm selling my Km to people. The support I will get from people buying my kilometres will help me fulfill my other dream: to build a Global village in my native place, Basanti, Sundarbans.

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