Memo from Soweto to Canadian Immigration

2009-09-05 08:51

To: The Canadian Immigration Board From: Sipho Dlamini (31) Date: September 6 2009 Subject: Asylum Attention: Mr William


Dear Sir,


read with great interest this week that your board had ­decided to grant asylum

to Brandon Huntley, formerly of Cape Town.

He told you that he

was a ­victim of crime and racism – I am too.

I am a Soweto

resident, black and the same age as Huntley, and I would like to also apply for


Like him, I

experience crime on a daily basis but unlike Huntley’s family, mine can’t afford

private security or panic buttons, so I dare say my life is in more danger.

This week I was

riding on our new BRT bus system. The buses are very beautiful, but as I rode

home taxi drivers shot at us. There are soldiers and cops on every bus.

Getting about is

generally a trying business, because unlike Huntley’s family we don’t have a car

in our home. I have been involved in several taxi accidents and I have been

mugged as I make my way to and from work.

I support about six

family members, so I suppose I could qualify as an economic ­refugee.

I know you are much

too sharp to fall for such nonsense, though I did read that the Canadian

government is clamping down on your work because of the number of bogus claims

passing through your board.

Just last year your

government had to apologise to the Mexican president for a ­similar incident to

that of Huntley’s.

I am applying

because contrary to what you’ve heard, apartheid has not really ended.

Just last week an

employment equity commission ­report showed that the top ranks of business life

are still dominated by white men.

It showed that even

if I study further, there is a good chance that my company won’t promote


There are less than

a handful of black CEOs of companies listed on our stock exchange – I’m sure

even Canada is better than this at growing role models for young black men like

me. Then, of course, there are statistics which you know well. Most workers in

South Africa still earn less than R3?500 a month (it’s so little I won’t even

convert it into ­Canadian dollars for you) and they happen to be mostly


And while there are

more black people with money than before (we call them black diamonds),

generally poverty still wears my face here.

So you can see that

apartheid hasn’t truly ended and I would like you to consider my application for


I look forward to

hearing from you.


PS: Is it really as cold as they

say it is in Canada?

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