Nigeria – South Africa: 9 Simple Coronavirus Travel Tips

Covid-19: Don't Panic

Introduction

Coronavirus is on rampage! So far, we have witnessed no sign of a go-slow. As at *17th March 2020, over 200,000 people across the globe are infected. The virus has also killed more than 7,000 people. The pandemic started last year in China. It has now found its way into 80 countries and counting. According to WHO, covid-19 is the name of the sickness caused by coronavirus.

As a human race, we have experienced several death dealing respiratory virus threats. But the biggest threat from this current global pandemic is its wild fire run across the globe. It has now created an urgent need to inform travelers of health and safety tips. We have provided these tips below.

Coronavirus: Lagos VS Johannesburg

Nigeria and South Africa got served from Italy. The two countries have now recorded cases of persons who have tested positive to the virus. South Africa has conducted more than 2900 tests. 116 confirmed cases of people have tested positive to the novel coronavirus. In Nigeria, over 60 people are in isolation. So far, 3 people tested positive to the virus. Out of the 3 cases, 2 has been successfully treated and discharged.

Without a doubt, South Africa and Nigeria has been dealt a big blow. The virus has hit the socio-economic activities in both countries. In South Africa, schools are closed. Most of its borders are also locked and gatherings more than 100 people are strictly prohibited. Travel restrictions to and from countries such as the US, UK, Italy, China, Germany, etc are now in force. But what does this mean for travelers who shuttle Lagos and Johannesburg? How do you keep yourself safe? And where do you get up to date information about this pandemic? We have addressed all of these questions. And also listed below are safety tips to bear in mind while traveling from johannesburg to Lagos or vice versa. This advisory is based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Nigerian Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) and the South African Department of Health.

Lagos to Jozi Coronavirus Travel Tips

1. Unnecessary travel should be suspended especially to affected countries.

2. If you are sick, it is advisable to avoid traveling. This is especially important for elderly travelers. People with underlying medical conditions and or chronic health problems must take precautions.

3. Self-isolate for 14 days upon returning from international travel.

4. Maintain a safe distance of about 2 meters (5 feet) from any person exhibiting flu symptoms.

5. Practice good personal hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds if soiled. Use alcohol based hand sanitizer if hands are not soiled. Clean and disinfect frequently-used objects and surfaces. Proper cough etiquette is also encouraged. Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers are permitted in the aircraft.

6. Wear face masks only if you are sick.

7. The free change of booking for flight tickets on South African Airways (SAA) due to Covid-19 does not apply to Lagos or Johannesburg bound passengers.

8. You will find updates on the latest developments on Covid-19 in Nigeria on ncdc.gov.ng. Toll free number for NCDC is 0800 970 000 0010. SMS on 08099555577 and WhatsApp is 07087110839. These lines are available 24 hours a day from Monday to Sunday.

9. SACoronavirus.co.za provides online resource and news portal for coronavirus in South Africa. Emergency hotline in South Africa is 0800 029 999 while the WhatsApp support line is 0600 123456.

Conclusion

The whole world is going through a difficult health crisis. Nigeria and South Africa are no exception. The above health and safety tips will help ensure we all stay safe while traveling.

Meanwhile, how are you coping? Please share your Covid-19 survival tips with us in the comment section.


*Figures in this article reflect estimates as at the 17th of March, 2020.

Verify on Arrival: Passport Endorsement from Johannesburg to Lagos – What You Should Know.

Today, I decide to write on how to address the Verify on Arrival endorsement palava on Nigerian passports and how to address the issue. A handful of people I have met in recent times have gone through this difficult experience. Unfortunately, there are no information about this subject online. So, I have put together 7 commonsense tips that could help anyone confronted with this challenge.

“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport”. – Anonymous.

THE NUMBER OF NIGERIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA.

First, let’s look at the available data on the number of Nigerians that have called South Africa their new home. In 2016, Statistics South Africa’s community survey estimates that 30,000 Nigerians live in South Africa. This figure is similar to the 2017 United Nation’s estimate of just a little bit over 27,000 Nigerians living in South Africa. Whichever way you look at the available figures, one thing stands true: Nigerians are visible across the length and breadth of South Africa – from Arcadia to Sophia Town and to Eshowe!

No doubt, as Nigerians, we love to criss-cross the world with the added excitement of being able to visit home in Nigeria at will. However, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of before you depart Johannesburg for Lagos.

Everything you need to kow about Verify on Arrival Passport Endorsement from Johannesburg to Lagos
Verify on Arrival: Passport Endorsement from Johannesburg to Lagos – What You Should Know.

VERIFY ON ARRIVAL: WHAT IT MEANS

As a temporary or permanent resident visa holder in South Africa, your visa may be subjected to scrutiny before you depart any of South Africa’s Port of exit. South Africa’s immigration officers have the right to question the validity of your permission to stay in South Africa. When this happens, the immigration officer at the departure section of the airport may leave comment such as ‘verify on Arrival’ on your passport.

What this means is that the officer is not convinced that you are in possession of a genuine visa. It could also mean that your previously issued visa(s) may be fraudulent. You should know that these are grave immigration offenses if found to be true.

Even though you will be allowed to continue with your trip to Lagos, consequences await you! The resultant effect of this endorsement on your passport is that airline staff in Lagos will not allow you to board the aircraft back to South Africa. You may only be allowed if you buy a return ticket for Johannesburg to Lagos. This is to ensure that the airline does not have to bear the cost of transporting you back to Lagos for free, should incase you are declared undesirable and processed for deportation on arrival at OR Tambo.

But don’t panic! I have listed helpful tips on how to plan ahead for your trips. A few ideas are also presented on how to address the Verify on Arrival wàhálà, from your departure from OR Tambo and back to arrival at OR Tambo!

7 TIPS TO ADDRESS THE JOBURG TO LAGOS VERIFY ON ARRIVAL PASSPORT ENDORSEMENT

1. Always travel with your documents. Ensure you neatly pack all the documents you used for applying for your visas in an envelope. You may be requested to provide your spouse ID, business registration documents, SARS papers, marriage certificate, child(ren)’s birth certificates, etc. For safety reasons, travel with recently (not less than 3 months) SAPS certified documents. You do not need to travel with your original documents for as long as you certify the photocopies.

2. Be calm. At every point of your interaction with law enforcement officers, stay cool, calm and collected! Answer all questions to the best of your knowledge and confidently.

3. If your visa authenticity is challenged, politely request for the immediate verification if you still have time before your flight takes off.

4. If your request (as in point #3) is turned down, accept the officers judgment.

5. Visit South Africa’s High Commission in Lagos for authentication of your visa. If you’re lucky to get this – the airline should accept it and you may not need to buy a return ticket. Alternatively, you may visit VFS in Lagos or Abuja to advice.

6. If you don’t want the wàhálà of traveling up and down across Naija :), you may as well just buy your return ticket to Johannesburg. To cut cost, ask the ticketing agent to find you specials.

7. Know your story on arrival. First thing first, be calm! And make sure you have all your documents handy. The immigration officer will definitely invite you to the interrogation room, upon spotting the verify on arrival endorsement on your passport. Answer all questions truthfully and confidently. Present supporting documents if requested. In most cases, you will stamped in and welcomed back to the country, if your papers are in order.

Good luck and please let us know how your experience turns out in the comment section.

Fela Kuti And The Kalakuta Queens in South Africa

7-day Celebration of African Entertainment and Culture

A week in April brought Nigerians and South Africans together to explore the arts and music of the prophet and Abàmì Ẹ̀dá; Fela Kuti. He was a foremost Nigerian Afrobeat musician and social critic who died on the 2nd of August 1997.

The musical, called Fela And The Kalakuta Queens chronicles the events within Fela’s Kalakuta Republic, his home. Prominent in the stage performance is the unique fashion, dance and of course the intrigues amongst the 27 wives whom Fela married in a day! You can read a review of the musical from CNN and IOL. Bolanle Austen Peters is the brain behind this musical and the woman changing the face of theatre production in Nigeria.

Watch Fela And The Kalakuta Queens on YouTube

At the Pretoria State Theatre, the venue for the event, we captured some moments for you which you can view via the YouTube link below.

Don’t forget to like the video, leave a comment and also share the video with your friends.

5 Questions To Ask Before Using Minibus Taxis In Gauteng

Minibus taxis are the most popular mode of transport for most of South Africa’s population. In fact, the taxi industry is made up of 90% minibus taxis (Arrive Alive, 2018).

These taxis are the most available and affordable form of public transport in most urban areas in South Africa. Despite the advantages associated with minibus taxis, the disadvantages sometimes outweigh the advantages. That’s why we put together 5 questions to help you overcome challenges associated with using minibus taxis in Gauteng. Make sure you have answers to the questions – for every trip. We recommend finding a friendly taxi driver, local or fellow Nigerian who can answer all these questions a day before your trip.

1: What is your destination?

Know the name of the destination (e.g. Johannesburg Zoo or Joburg Zoo), and street address (e.g. Jan Smuts Ave & Upper Park Dr, Parkview, Johannesburg, 2193).

Quick safety tips:

  • Do not get off in unfamiliar places or in the middle of nowhere.
  • If you are unfamiliar with your destination. Check it on Google Maps so that you know what to look out for.
  • If possible travel at a reasonable time, preferably not at night time.
  • Tell someone where you are going and update them as often as possible

Of the 36 lives lost daily on South African roads, 3 (8%) are killed in taxi related incidents (Arrive Alive, 2018).

2. Will the minibus taxi drop you off at your destination?

Unfortunately, the taxi will not always be able to drop you off at your final or preferred destination. Taxis follow a predetermined route, known only by taxi drivers and frequent passengers. Try to check out Taximap; the website publish up-to-date information regarding minibus taxi routes, price, hours of operation, and other relevant information for minibus taxis in Johannesburg and for many other major South African cities.

The taxi industry consists of about 150 000 minibus taxis (Arrive Alive, 2018).

3. What time must you be at your destination?

Once again, taxis take a predetermined route that doesn’t always favour the passenger. Leave early to avoid being late. Waiting and travel times can be very long when using taxis so allocate two or three hours for waiting and traveling. Peak hours are early in the morning (there are many passengers going to work) and late afternoons (there are many passengers going home from work).

During peak hours, there are long queues of taxi passengers, long waiting times and a low number of taxis. During off peak hours, there are short queues of taxi passengers, long waiting times and high numbers of taxis. 

Minibus taxis in South Africa make the front passenger count the taxi fare

4. Where do you get minibus taxis to your destination?

Find out where you will be getting a taxi from. Is it from a taxi rank or by the side of the road. Which hand sign must you make to make the taxi stop? See this comprehensive multimedia information from Alberton Record on hand signs to make in order to catch a minibus taxi in South Africa. If you are going to a taxi rank then make sure you are standing at the right queue. If you are not sure that you are standing in the right queue then ask queue marshals, locals and taxi drivers.

Try this greeting.

Sure boss, please where can I get a minibus taxi to Joburg Zoo?

5. Where in the minibus taxi should you sit?

If you are early or lucky enough to choose where to sit, make sure you do not sit in the backseat or the front passenger seat. Choose any other seat (maybe one close to the window, if you prefer) and you should be comfortable.

Do not sit in the front passenger seat of a minibus taxi if your mathematics and multilingual skills are poor. 

Whoever sits in the front passenger seat is expected to collect and count all the taxi fare. If you have never done this before, then you’re lucky because it is daunting. Both the driver and passengers can be very unforgiving about their money. Passengers want their change before they get off at their destination. The driver wants all his money, so if someone did not pay then you will be blamed. Most taxi passengers speak the local South African languages and not English. With that said, being a Nigerian and sitting in the front seat of a taxi in South Africa are like oil and water. They don’t mix!

But then, remember to be conscious of your safety on South African roads and more importantly if you are travelling with kids. SA Taxi Foundation puts pedestrian injury as the leading cause of death in children. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of road safety tips.

On a final note, remember to plan ahead before you dash out for your first minibus taxi ride by writing out your answers to the 5 questions above; this will guarantee a pleasant minibus taxi ride for you. And don’t forget to share your South African minibus taxi experience in the comment section below.

Recommended: Read about road safety in South Africa 

Related Article: James Hall Museum of Transport – Affordable South African Tourist Attraction

#Nigeria2019: Your basic electoral rights at your poll station

#NigeriaDecides2019

Elections are one of the most crucial national political events in Nigeria. From pre-independent times through to the return to stable democracy in 1999, every election period in Nigeria’s political history has been associated with deep emotions and concerns for a free, fair and credible electoral process.

The 2019 Presidential election has come and gone. President Mohammaddu Buhari has been re-elected for a second term in office by the vast majority of Nigerians.

#ElectionNotWar And Your Rights

We are now right in the middle of the gubernatorial and parliamentary elections across Nigeria, hence it is important to restate to fellow electorates that elections serve as an important opportunity for you and I as citizens of Nigeria to influence the politics of our dear nation. In so doing, it is also equally important for us to inform ourselves about our basic fundamental human rights at the poll stations.

On election day, remember that, you have a civic right to:

• To support any candidate of your choice.
• To vote freely for any candidate, and
• To have your vote kept confidential

As we go about our civic responsibility during this electoral period, please endeavor to stay out of all forms of violence.

Night life at Iyana Ipaja, Lagos

Welcome to the city that never sleeps. No wonder they say the life of the Lagosian is on the road!

This is Ọjà Alẹ́ (Night Market) and it is 10pm at Iyana Ipaja Bus Stop in Lagos State. I am here for fresh Ofio (tigernuts) and dates from Mallam Musa.

Iyana Ipaja in Yorùbá language means ‘the junction to Ipaja road’. Iyana Ipaja is a settlement community and also doubles as one of the busiest commercial hubs on Lagos mainland.

Homeschooling Basics: Grade 1 – 9

Homeschooling in South Africa

Homeschooling is a programme where a parent of a learner of compulsory school-going age provides education for their child at home. It is an alternative to attending public or independent schools (Department of Basic Education).

How to apply to homeschool your child in South Africa

You can homeschool your child for the following compulsory phases: foundation phase (grades 1-3), intermediate phase (grades 4-6), and senior phase (grades 7-9).

Step 1: Apply to the Head of your Provincial Education Department to register your child for homeschooling

The application is free and it takes less than 30 days to be processed by the Head of your Provincial Education Department. You will need to send them the correct application form and the supporting documents, namely:

  • parent/s certified ID copy
  • last copy of school report (if the child was in school before, but if the child is only starting school now you must attach an immunisation card)
  • weekly timetable which includes contact time per day
  • breakdown of terms per year (196 days per year)
  • learning programme
  • certified copy of child’s birth certificate

Step 2: After your child has been registered for homeschooling you must keep the following:

  • record  of attendance
  • portfolio of the child’s work
  • up- to- date records of the child’s progress
  • portfolio of the educational support given to the child
  • evidence of the continuous assessment of the child’s work
  • evidence of the assessment and or examination at the end of each year
  • evidence at the end of grade 3,6 and 9, that shows whether your child has achieved the outcomes for these grades

Read related articles on Education

Johannesburg Campuses – Alma Maters and More

Johannesburg

In 2017, I changed jobs. I left a job in Midrand in favour of a job at a campus in Johannesburg. The week that I started my new job was difficult (that’s a sad story for another time). However, it ended with a rainbow, which really cheered me up. I took photos of the rainbow and included below. Check out the photos and try to guest which campus I am talking about.

Speaking of campus, here is a short list of some of my favourite campuses in Johannesburg.

Institute of Marketing Management (IMM) Graduate School

The Institute of Marketing Management was established in 1948. It has provided industry endorsed, distance learning qualifications since 1960. Specialising in marketing, business, and supply chain management, the IMM Graduate School has graduated more than 19 000 students, of which many hold key positions globally.

I can attest to the last part about key positions, seeing that I am an IMM graduate. I studied for a Bachelor of Philosophy Honours in Marketing Management on a distance-learning basis and I enjoyed every semester of studying at IMM. I even enjoyed visiting their Johannesburg campus to write exams.

The only bit that I did not enjoy was paying a hefty fee upfront for every module. Other than that #FeesMustFall issue, I love my alma mater and might go back to study for their Master of Philosophy in Marketing Management (after a doctoral degree, of course).

Website: https://www.immgsm.ac.za

National Office in Johannesburg at Atlas Studio, 33 Frost Avenue, Braamfontein Werf, 2193.

Johannesburg - IMM Graduate School

Regent Business School (RBS)

Regent Business School is a leading private higher education institution in Southern Africa, with an ever-expanding footprint on the rest of the continent. The curricula of their programmes incorporate theory and practice to ensure that they prepare students for the world of work by contributing to building their leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and growing their knowledge of business and industry.

I am currently studying for a Masters of Business Administration through RBS and enjoying it. Distance learning institutions like IMM and RBS have been a good for my lifestyle. These institutions have allowed me to juggle work, school, motherhood, and marriage with ease.

Website: https://regent.ac.za

Johannesburg Office is at Sunnyside Park,13 Frost Avenue, Auckland Park, 2092,South Africa.

University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) shares the pace and energy of cosmopolitan Johannesburg, the city whose name it carries. Proudly South African, the university is alive down to its African roots, and well-prepared for its role in actualising the potential that higher education holds for the continent’s development. UJ has transformed into a diverse, inclusive, transformational and collegial institution, with a student population of over 50 000, of which more than 3000 are international students from 80 countries. This makes UJ one of the largest contact universities in South Africa (SA) from the 26 public universities that make up the higher education system.

I have a lot of admiration and respect for University of Johannesburg. I have so much to say about UJ but I will dedicate a separate blog post (or ten) to my love of the University of Johannesburg.

Website: https://www.uj.ac.za

UJ has three campuses in Johannesburg. The main campus is at Corner Kingsway Road and University Road, Johannesburg.

Vega School of Brand Leadership

Vega, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) was formed in 1999 in anticipation of the shift in the global paradigm. Conventional marketing and advertising moved toward a cohesion of design, branding and business. There was a reconfiguration of traditional platforms and an emergence of new ones.

Brands became far more than just letters and logos, but powerful cultural forces shaping the world as we know it. Brands such as Google, Greenpeace and Apple lead the way. This change in the industry arose an urgent need to educate South Africa’s most talented young minds, in preparation for this brave new world. A new school of thought was called for and Vega was born.

Oh, how I love Vega School of Brand Leadership. I’ve wanted to study at Vega since I graduated from the University of Pretoria in 2014. Unfortunately, I never took advantage of the ‘study for free’ at Vega School when I was still working for the ADvTECH Group (which owns Vega School and what feels like a billion other great schools). Perhaps they will have a doctoral degree before I complete the MBA at Regent Business School (fingers crossed). All I know is, one day is one day!

Website: https://www.vegaschool.com

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Tribute to Meruschka Govender, Our Mzansi Girl

Mzansi Girl, Meruschka Govender

A year or two ago, my husband introduced me to a blog by Meruschka Govender – a travel activist, experience seeker, and tourism thinker. Meruschka started her travel blog, Mzansi Girl, in July 2012.

On the 27th of August 2019, Meruschka posted her final blog post ‘Where are South Africans flying to?‘.

Today, I was deeply saddened to read that Meruschka Govender passed away in mid-January 2019. Bizcommunity and Traveller24 reported that Durban-born, Meruschka Govender (38) passed away after a private battle with cancer. My sincere condolences to the Govender family. Meruschka might have passed away but she touched many lives and left many memories.

Tribute to Meruschka Govender

I hope that this tribute to my husband and I’s favourite girl in Mzansi will help to spread her memories wider. Meruschka was well-known to the travel industry and happily shared her love of travelling with South Africa on her blog and social media platforms.

Here are some interesting things about our Mzansi Girl.

  1. Meruschka’s first independent African travel experience was backpacking from Joburg to Malawi via Mozambique in 2003.
  2. She started blogging as a ‘micro-blogger’ via Twitter during the 2010 World Cup. She used Twitter (@MzansiGirl) to share her love for Africa with the world.
  3. She was born in Durban and travelled to 40+ countries but Johannesburg/ Joburg was her first love.
  4. 16 months after starting her blog, Meruschka Govender resigned from her day job to focus on sharing the African travel love.
  5. Prior to starting the Mzansi Girl Blog, she spent 8 years working in the tourism industry. She ran a backpacker hostel, to working for South Africa’s only tourism NGO and eventually working in tourism policy in national government.

Rest In Peace to Meruschka Govender, our favourite girl in mzansi. Thank you for filling our lives with your remarkable experiences and memories.

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Image Credit: Image Credit: Meruschka Govender (Mzansi Girl)

Job Scams and Correctional Services

The Department of Correctional Services

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) recently released a press release warning the public about job scams conducted using their name. I personally applaud the department for reacting and creating awareness about these scams. Unfortunately, most times press releases are not shared as widely as a tweet or Facebook post.

The job scams mentioned in the Department of Correctional Services’ press release indicated that the scams were shared through social media and other channels. The shared posts invite members of the public to apply for employment and learnership opportunities. The department is now warning members of the public (you and I) against falling prey to these scam.

Please note that applying for employment in the public sector is free. Anyone asking for money for job applications is breaking the law.

The DCS uses mainstream the following channels to advertise job opportunities:

  • Mainstream media (radio, television, and newspapers)
  • The website of the Department of Public Services Administration (DPSA – http://www.dpsa.gov.za)
  • Internal email notices

Report job scammers

The department warned that those posing as consultants or using online media platforms to impersonate the department are fraudsters/ scammers who must be reported to law enforcement agencies. The Department of Correctional Services calls upon anyone who may have information on these fraudsters/ scammers to report the matter to the government’s anti-corruption hotline 0800 701 701.

For more information on jobs at the Department of Correctional Services

Visit the Department of Correctional Services website for information on jobs available at the department.

When applying for a job on the DCS website, please note:

Applications must be submitted on the Application for Employment Form (Z.83), obtainable from any Public Service department or at www.gov.za and should be accompanied by a comprehensive CV, including the details of at least two contactable referees (should be people who recently worked with the applicant) and certified copies of qualifications and identity document (with an original certification stamp). It is the responsibility of applicants in possession of foreign qualifications to submit evaluated results by the South African Qualifications Authority. Where a valid driver’s licence is a requirement, applicants must attach certified copies of such licences. No faxes or e-mailed applications will be considered. If no contact is made within three months of the closing date, please accept that the application was unsuccessful. Successful candidates will be required to enter into a performance agreement and be subjected to security clearance procedures. Successful candidates may be required to undergo a competency assessment.

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