If you are Black, African and travelling beyond your national borders, ignore the below at your own peril. You should Never…..
1: Cough, sneeze or look ill-Ever
If you are at immigration and a bee stings you, please do not flinch let alone scream. If your stomach is seeming kinda “under the weather”, ensure you partake medication that will ensure your belly is quiet and under control. You need to look and behave as over healthy as possible because, any inkling that you are unwell and you may either not board the flight or be rejected entry into the country. I won’t delve into the stereotypes some people have of Africa, Black Africans and diseases.
2. Travel without proof of financial capacity
This my fellow Black Africans, is a tricky yet very important element. The tricky part is, “How much is enough” to show you have financial capacity.” This is honestly not an abstract statement because, enough for me, is not necessarily, enough according to them(Immigration). Therefore, one way I would recommend you tackle this is to do your homework adequately, do good math on how much you would need, add a good amount on top of that and then have a back up plan or alternative. At airports, I have been asked to physically show how much I have one me-yes they counted. Please, before you all think I am a walking bank-I carry just enough according to me after doing the math of what my immediate needs would be. Since my version of enough and their version differ, I have then often been asked to provide proof of how else I plan to support my travels. Now, this is normally the truth meter-they would thus either be asking proof of a financial card in way of a debit or credit card and/or a certified copy of your bank statement. In some cases, they would thus require you to actually proceed to the ATM and remove a bank balance statement of your bank balance before they are satisfied. On the other hand, I have seen fellow travellers who are not Black or African, cross over with less than 10dollars to their name with no questions asked.
3. Travel without a plan
Honest, do some research about your destination, we do not have the luxury of ,”winging it.” If you have never been interested in Geography or history, start now and/or acquaint yourself with Google. Do a thorough research of your destination, know the basics like locations, tourist spots, your itinerary by heart to the not so basic like, the building near where you plan to stay or the name of the leader of the region you plan to visit. I get amused at some immigration border posts, yes, even in Africa, where I am interrogated at length about everything from the days I plan to be there, to how much I have, how much I plan to spend to the name of the manager of the hotel I will be staying. This would be alright if everyone got the same interrogation but alas, in most cases, I have noted my non Black, non African friends interrogation starts and ends at “How are you?” entry stamp, “Welcome”.
4: Never ever think you can be a “busker”
I have been to several countries and found several travellers, begging for money under the busker guise, to support their travel. They even have well written posters depicting where they want to proceed to thus would appreciate the funds to make it happen. Dear fellow Black, Africans, never ever let such a thought cross your mind, ever. Even the time I forgot my ATM password and my bank would not facilitate me with a new one, meaning I was unable to access funds for a bit, did the idea ever cross my mind. First, you will be arrested and charged with so many things everything from loitering, to being a beggar, to being an illegal immigrant to……JUST DONT, we are not entitled to such. If for some reason your cash is running out, either return home or call home and ask them to send you cash via money transfer.
5.Travel without a return ticket-ever
You have no right to leave your country, without a return ticket from “wherever”. Even at our Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, they request to see my return ticket before I can be checked in. The same happens when I arrive in destination xxxx, the immigration have to physically see my return ticket, which at times they even verify with the airline. On the other hand, I meet other travellers who are not Black or African, travelling on a one way ticket for the last 3 years and have never been questioned, Never.
6. Overstay your visa
First and foremost, ensure you confirm and reconfirm the duration of your visa. In cases that you do not require a visa but receive it either at the border or just the stamp, make sure you read carefully how long it is valid for. Even when you are entering a country that you can visit for a month, two months, three months or even a year without a visa, that stamp they place on your passport or other travel document is a Visa. You may be granted only seven days in a country that your nationality, even if African, is allowed one year visa free, so ensure you read carefully. Visa free does not actually mean that, it just means you didn’t have to apply officially prior via the embassy, consulate or high commission to travel there. The immigration officials at the border points have to attach your “entry” permission via a stamp or other, which funny enough also reads Visa-so do not ignore the date attached to it. There is no excuse for this apart from incapacitation or death-DO NOT EVER EVER EVER. If it means you travel from town xxx to town yyy to either apply for an extension, or leave the country within your stipulated days please do so. I have met several who overstayed their visa, and though ready and willing to leave the country, were in and out of court for overstaying their welcome-Just Dont.
7. If on tourist visa or are a tourist-Do not deviate
If you are travelling for the sheer purpose of visiting, exploring, enjoying and taking millions of pictures for your family and social media, do not deviate. I do not care how enticing your new friends may seem, do not overstay your welcome/entry permit. If by chance all of you are apprehended, and you are the Black, African, in the group, say goodbye to your holiday and hello jail. Please Run for your life if any of your new friends even mention to you that, “lets get a job, get more money to travel and then proceed. RUN. RUN.RUN. I assure you, if caught, you will be tagged an illegal immigrant while they will still be tourists or upgraded to expatriates.
8) Be rude to Immigration or Airline personnel,
If rudeness is your identity, just stay home. If however you want to travel, start working on the art of calmness, peace, slow to anger, have all and extra documentation at hand among others. I have been questioned, requisitioned, over questioned about random stuff about myself before being allowed into some countries. I have disembarked from flights and been the only one asked to step aside and had my suitcase searched. I have almost been left by a flight because the attendants at check-in did not feel like attending to me, a Black, African when one of their colleagues system had an issue. It did not go unnoticed by me, that though they spoke their native language, there are phrases and captions that are derogatory that you learn. I have been relocated from my awesome, airline assigned seat, to some random seat at the back because, well…In all the above, I have learned to keep cool, calm, respond honestly to the 100 questions etal because, well, I need to either travel or be granted permission to enter or depart and an argument would just worsen the situation. I keep my rant for later, when in private, with people I trust and where “Big Brother” isn’t watching, listening or stalking. Please at no time should you try and copy the non-African in the next line who may be throwing a fit at immigration and will thereafter be allowed entry–Do not try..
However, this is in no way meant to dissuade you to travel, please do-I still do. The above hitches are mere speed bumps trying to slow you down but shouldn’t kill your will to travel. I have also focussed the above to Black, Africans because
1: I think it is only proper for the world to know that there are Non-Black Africans cross the globe. We have African brothers and sisters who though, they do not have black skin pigmentation, are all African.
2: I am a Black, African and thus I can only speak from that angle of personal experience. The above and more are things I have actually personally faced, observed or seen fellow Black, Africans face.
My fellow Africans, both the Blacks and non Black, it would be great to also hear how travel is for you😀…Have you experienced the above? Have you experienced others not mentioned? Do we have similar experiences or not? Cheers
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