My interview yesterday had me feeling like a Carte Blanche journalist with no formal contract, which means I shouldn’t be so overzealous to tread on dangerous grounds. I actually found someone who is part of the illegal ring of arranged marriages that foreign nationals engage in to get the correct papers and legitimise their prolonged stay in South Africa.
I knew it was the good stuff when he said: “My sister, I will talk to you, but be careful because what you are investigating is very dangerous and this business is big.” I was so intrigued, but the way my life is set up right now I can’t be trying to save every evil or be pulling a Carte Blanche investigation. Me and my subject, who refused to be named for obvious reasons of confidentiality and protecting himself, huddled behind a salon in the parking lot and he sang like a bird.
There is so much that is wrong with our country, and after that interview as much as I’m willing to concede that not all foreigners are bad I will say that ambition masqueraded as the need for survival can be a dangerous thing. Also, money truly is the root of all evil. He shared with me that there are many successful South African women who are in Life Partner Unions with illegal foreign nationals and get paid every month for using their IDs to legitimise this process. Now the obvious targets you would think are unemployed women, and while that may be true, it is not just the struggling women that are easy bait but the women who appear to be well-off and have their lives in order. I guess we could all do with the extra buck, and maybe the attitude is “fuck marriage, it’s an outdated institution anyway”, but surely though some things should still preserve their sanctity.
Alas, ambition is rife and we are a nation deeply corrupted to the bone as my subject shared that this ring of facilitating illegal marriages works its way up all to the government. So I have decided that my feature will not only be about academics from Africa struggling to manifest their potential in South Africa but how other academics are clearly making the means, illegally so, to overcome the challenges stacked against them. Therefore my feature will lead into the aspect of illegal marriages between South African women and foreign nationals and the dynamics thereof.
Worthy to note that my source holds a Masters degree in Physics and Geography. One word: LIFE!