This is typical of everything I've tried to do in this country. Whether it is the water and electricty, opening a bank account, registering at the Doctors, I'm made to feel stupid and of no value whatsoever.
You may as well send me to the moon and speak in Chinese.
Today I went for my 3rd visit to the Vehicle test centre to apply for my sons Learner's Licence.
Let me tell you about visits one and two first.
From experience I know that when you apply to do anything here, they will assume you are South African and tell you what a South African needs to do, what forms to fill in and what to bring back with you. So I go and say nicely 'Hi, I'm from the UK, I now live here in Centurion, my son is 17 and would like to apply for his provsional driving licence' BLANK FACES So I rethink what I've just said, after all I'm the foreigner, I only know how to say things the way I've learnt so I adapt and say 'my son would like to learn to drive, can you tell me what I need to do?'
FILL THIS FORM IN, COPY OF ID
'OK' says I,' but he is not South African, I know you will ask for more than that when I come back'
NO MADAM JUST WHAT I'VE SAID.
THIS IS THE WRONG FORM, YOU'VE FILLED IN AND WE NEED HIS ID NUMBER THE ONE YOU HAVE GIVEN DOES NOT FIT IN THE BOXES.
'We are not South Africa, I explained what I needed and why, please can you help me'
So I'm given the correct forms, told what I need 2 x passport photos, copy of ID (passport and visa)
BUT YOU NEED TRAFFIC REGISTRATION FIRST, BEFORE YOU CAN APPLY
'OK, this is my 3rd time here, I've asked, I've explained, I'm British, not South African'
GO TO COUNTER NUMBER 4 THEY WILL HELP YOU
Explains whole bloody thing again, given form to fill,
'but this form is requires me to provide receipt for purchase of vehicle, my son does not have a vehicle'
THEN JUST IGNORE THAT BIT, GO TO WATLOO THEY WILL HELP YOU
'What is Watloo, where is Watloo?'
THEY WILL HELP YOU THERE
'Where?' I don't understand you, I want to speak with a supervisor
THEY ARE ALL BUSY
'Do you think they will stop being busy if I shout?'
*Cue laughter from South Africans behind counter and in the waiting area
So I approach a guard in reception and ask to speak to the manager.
I speak with a woman behind a glass window, she tells me
WATLOO WILL HELP YOU
I'm in floods of tears now 'please tell me where/what Watloo is?' her reply was laughable and with that I stormed out
WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU WANT WE CANNOT HELP YOU
A woman in the car park sees my distress and tells me Watloo is north of Pretoria, it is an area and gives me directions.
I still don't know what forms I require to go there or even why, when my son doesn't own a car, I guess he needs permission to drive here, silly me for thinking a Learner's Licence would be it.