George Dor is one of the people who were depressed by Bila's deportation when the news finally reached him the following day.
I must indeed chop my long hair, stop wearing
Muslim-like head wear, visit a beautician and do a skin surgery and all the things that will make me look South African. Having a short 'suspicious' surname like Bila is dangerous. Worse when you look different in the passport. But the officers at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport Immigration check point, especially their so-called chief officer Mulongo is heartless. They nabbed me for reasons they can explain.
They told me not even a Kenyan would
be allowed to pass through, i.e to go anywhere with a 'mutilated' 'ragged' and 'tattered' passport like mine. They scanned it, and agreed that it was valid, but couldn't allow me to pass through. Apparently the fact that an old passport automatically disqualifies entry to Kenya does not exist, it was imposed on persons like me. When I was taken to Immigration Officer/ or Protocol chief Mulongo, he gave me two options.
1. To immediately contact the South African Embassy, especially the High Commision to arrange a temporary passport to enable me to stay in that country.
Secondly, he said, "you take the next flight to Johannesburg".
Nerisha went up and down (and I can imagine those Kenyans are real macho men who have little respect for women, so it must have been tough to pass through all the control check points to find me trapped at the immigration territory). But she tried her best: calling comrades in an attempt to locate the High Commision of SA to Kenya Izak. But the Kenyans were determined to inflict pain in me. Immediately she left to facilitate the transport to your hotels and other logistics 9and leaving her bag with me as an assurance that she'll come back and fight this abuse), the Mulongo guy brought to his office. He said, "I prefer to talk to men and not women. Let me have your passport and ticket".
For some strange reasons my hopes were raised,
thinking he'll act as a seasoned Black Man in Kenya would, i.e to stamp my passport and let me go to the WSF. Instead, a man and a woman, whom I discovered are warders or have something to do with Prison at the airport escorted me to the unfamiliar territory: Jomo Kenya Airport holding cell. When we got to that place, I realised that life is really hard. "What are you going to eat", they asked me, while the five "majita" from China, Eritrea, Egypt, Mozambique and Somalia quickly said rice and beef or chicken. "Rice", I said.
Welcome to a dreadful experience. Coackroaches were roaming on the ground. There were six bungulows on top of each other and two dirty and smelling sofas/ couches. I sat on the edge of a sofa, while I was introduced to the 'gang', that four of them could not travel to their destinies because of visa problems. It's the Mozambican who had been disallowed entry, on the same day, and coming to attend the WSF. His name Mthembu was a Shangaan. He is the man who gave me hope that even if my prison mates can harm me, either by stealing my camera, or demanding Dollars or sodomizing me, he will find a way of telling my story to the world one day.
The warder who asked us for food left. Upon his leaving, a woman was sobbing
next door, in the female cell. My prison mates peeped through the little hole on the door, and looked through the high window to find up exactly what was going on with the woman. I thought perhaps another prison warder has just finished raping her.
Mthembu the lady was from Mozambique and had been
detained for a few days. She was crying because no one was giving her attention. She was so angry. Back in the cell of men, there were writings all over the wall, literary staing that the Kenyan authorities were making life difficult for Africans to travel. "Fuck Kenya. Blacks freed it, but now whites who robbed us of our treasures enter the country freely". There were writings allover, even on the plastic covered beds. "Don't worry, God is there". The guys asked me if I wanted to rest. Ofcourse I was tired, but I said I'll sit for a while. The chap from Egypt then approached the Mozambican, asking about the currency he had. "In Moz we use Medicas, not Dollars". From my little careful nap, I called out, "Ku humelela yini makwavo". "Va lava madolara", he retorted.
Then I knew I was going to shit. I had my 130 US
Dollars in my pockets. I wanted to use the camera to record the unacceptable living conditions. Then after 2 and a half hours the officer brought our food in one plastic bag. It's the plastic bag that contained food in the plastic that is usually used to carry banana or oranges in SA fruit market. Everything was mixed in one: rice, spinach and beef. No spoon to eat rice. The only person who had a spoon was Sanje the Eritrean because he had been there for longer period. For the first time I ate rice with bare hands. Then I knew I was in prison for carrying an old valid South African passport. After a while, I tried hard to befriend the Eritrean, he had been there for longer, and he looked reasonable. "I ama journalist. I want to record the shit that is happening here. I have a camera. Please take me a pic while eating this shit food". He cautioned that if it's got a flash, we will be in trouble.
A very big trouble.
"One man tried to do that, and it was bad news." This man tells me the officers have constantly suspected him of being a Muslim. "You are a Muslim, isn't? You know how to use a gun.." And he tells them "I am a Christian. I know nothing about guns and Islam". Before Sanje could take me a pic, a warder shouted my name, "Freddy, Freddy". She opened the heavy steel door that can only be opened from outside three or four turns necessary. "Your flight is ready to board. But you can finish your food and wash hands". I couldn't finish the kak food or even wash hands, I followed her, and then this other man took over. He escorted me to gate no 11 or 12 - can't remember. They searched me thoroughly. They stripped my bag (whatever they were looking for). Finally they let me pass. "Sue them R150 million," said Zanazo, the drummer in Yvonne Chaka Chaka's band, after listening to my story. Flight KQ 462 to Joburg was scheduled to depart at 8h30, but it was delayed. It left 10H00, and got to Jozi 02h30 in the morning. I remained at the airport, writing "Notes from Jomo Kenyatta Airport" until 5H35, when I caught a taxi to Kempton Park.
That's the long and short of my journey to unfamiliar spaces. I am alive (unless they poisoned the rice they gave me). I survived sodomy. I dislike Kenya because I think they are a proxy of the US regime. I am happy I am back home in one piece. Keep fighting, writing, reporting. aluta.

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