Citizenship hoops – the last one

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This morning my passport and papers arrived back from the UK Border Agency.  My application for citizenship has been processed and approved.  Which is nice.  And it took less than three weeks.  I posted everything off on the 8th May.  Now I just need to wait for the invitation to the citizenship ceremony to start the next part of the process.  The passport is getting closer…

Registering Births

SA High CommissionI have finally got around to sorting the paperwork for registering the birth of the children in South Africa.  I should have done it within 30 days of the birth but at the time it was not something that crossed my mind.  Thankfully, there is provision on the form DHA-24 (had to post off for three copies of this one) to give suitable reasons for not registering the birth.

For each child: 8 passport photos, 2 copies birth certificate, 2 copies my passport, 2 copies Amy’s passport, 2 copies marriage certificate (legalised), 4 forms, £35 postal order and an email address.

That should be fairly straight forward if we apply ourselves in a methodical and logical manner.  I’ll keep you updated on progress.

School principal’s letter to Zuma

Jacob Zuma South Africa National AssemblyA Cape Town’s high school principal’s open letter to South African president Jacob Zuma has gone viral. Here is the text:

Dear President Zuma

It’s two years to the day when Gareth Cliff, a local media celebrity, wrote an open letter to you. It caused quite a stir at the time. And as I was thinking about what I was going to say to the Class of 2012 of my school, his letter came to mind. As I re-read it I realised it was about time for another one. Not quite as controversial perhaps but nevertheless another open letter borne out of my desire to see the 200 matrics that we’re about to send you, fulfil their dreams in a positive, dynamic South Africa.

My name is Stephen Price. I am the Principal of Bergvliet High School here in the Western Cape. Some would describe this school as a ‘former Model C school’… a description generally used to justify why other schools are underperforming. But that is another discussion.

You see, right now I am addressing close on 1000 teachers, parents and pupils at the Valedictory Service of the Class of 2012 of my school. It is a special occasion, full of excitement and expectation, of joy and sadness, of hope and trepidation, and it will be a day for them to remember. Their last official day of school. I’d like to tell you a little bit about them. But, before I do, consider this. Continue reading School principal’s letter to Zuma

Citizenship hoops

citizenshipAt long last I have got around to sorting out the paperwork for getting British citizenship. At first it appears to be a fairly straightforward process:

Pay the Home Office £88 for a letter stating I do not hold British citizenship. On recipt of the letter submit the application for the retention of South African citizenship to the South African High Commission in London. With £25.  Once that application is confirmed, pay the UK Border Agency a large sum of money and submit 5 years worth of identity documents and proof of address.  Once citizenship has been granted, attend a citizenship ceremony to complete the legal process.  Bob’s your uncle and Betty your Queen – go apply for a passport. Continue reading Citizenship hoops

The Most Beautiful City In The World

The Most Beautiful City In The World™

Some recent photos of Cape Town and Table Mountain taken by City of Cape Town photographer, Bruce Sutherland.

The Braai

Seeing this article from the New York Times made me think about the way we braai back home, and the way it is done in London.

In South Africa there are a few different schools of thought when it comes to braaing.

My uncle Malcolm is a staunch supporter of the carefuly planned, measured and timed braai. The food is ready when the rest of dinner and the guests are ready. The amount of meat (and vegetables) to be cooked has been taken into account and the amount of braai fuel adjusted accordingly. More often than not the meat is already cooked by the time the guests arrive. Doing it this way allows the braai-er complete control of the braai environment and the only interference might be the delivery of a cold beer, nicely poured, to a waiting hand.

A favourite is the “bring and braai” and, when done well, is an efficient and effective process with everyone getting a good portion and variety of custom-cooked meat. When done badly meat comes to the table in waves with chicken invariably still part raw or last off the grid just as the pavlova is about to be served.

Similar to the “bring and braai” is the last minute braai a.k.a. spontaneous braai (not spontaneous combustion). You’ve been at the beach with a bunch of mates and rather than let the party end you decide to carry on into the evening. People pick up the bits and pieces on the way back and all muck in to make it happen. Usually the party atmosphere makes up for the slap-dash nature of the evening and the braai is a success. This is a Cape Town

Some people have the knack of making the braai last until well into the evening and, when everyone is absolutely starving, deliver everything in one fell swoop. Quite often beer is to blame but often is a result of not having clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Large family gatherings, in my experience, most often end up like this. This educational video explains the long established hierarchy around the braai and is a good reference for delegating tasks to various people.

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The English “barbeque” on a wobbly disposable bed of 15-minute (if you’re lucky) coals. This is usually only good for a 6-pack of budget sausages as there is not enough meat in them to harm you if they are not properly cooked after your 15 minutes are up. Now banned from most public open spaces these are often left in disgust as the would-be braai-ers have gone to get a curry instead.

What are the marks of a good braai?

All important is a solid bed of lasting coals – this shows a good eye for quality charcoal and wood, good fire laying and lighting skills and the patience to wait for the fire to be just right.

Quality meat: no veggie burgers or budget pork sausages!

Timing: starting the fire in good time for it to burn down to the solid bed of lasting coals, cooking the meat in stages to all finish at the same time is a good skill to have

Solid preparation: a good supply of cold drinks, ice, sufficient meat, marinaded in time, ingrediants for salads, desserts, paper plates and cutlery, enough chairs for the ladies, an umbrella for the sun, blankets and rugs for laying on the ground, a ball for the kids to play with while they wait.

Peripherals: a variety of snacks including Knicknaks and biltong (pringles are now a cake and should be served alongside the pavlova), sweet chilli sauce and cream cheese dip, good tunes.

Spatially challenged

Some people know where things are. Other people know about other things. Some people don’t know about other things. Other people may, or may not, know where places are or why they aren’t there.

Miss South Carolina is one of those other people.