Scary stories from a lovely place
Silas was born a South African, even though neither Stephen nor I are citizens (though Stephen is a permanent resident). This means that Silas has more rights to function as a community member in this country than either of his parents. Once aged 18 he could vote and he is entitled to a South African passport.
We applied for Silas’ passport earlier in the year and it came through incredibly fast from Home Affairs. It is a very cute little official document. I feel proud of my son for possessing it.
At the time we were waiting expectantly for his full birth certificate but the action on that was much slower than the passport. Without it we had no hope of taking him into Australia permanently or of getting him access to Australian or Irish citizenship which he is fully entitled to. We hope to come to Australia in mid May and were having to seriously consider taking Silas as a tourist and then bringing him back to South Africa once his birth certificate was ready. How young can children fly unaccompanied? So we got his passport.
Joyfully, thanks to some help from a high ranking Home Affairs official (nothing underhanded I guarantee) we now have Silas’ birth certificate. As soon as I had it Silas and I rushed around making copies, getting them certified at the police station, arranging bank cheques and getting friends with appropriate jobs to sign identity declarations. On Thursday I collected his citizenship certificate. It’s a simple little document, akin to a merit certificate you would receive at school. But it feels momentous that he is now a citizen of Australia. He’s not just a South African anymore. He crosses over and holds dual rights in both of those countries.
I’m not sure what the laws are in terms of holding tri-citizenship. We would love Silas also to be officially an Irishman, like his dad and half of his family. We don’t want any part of his heritage to be far off and distant – a part of life that is unfamiliar and foreign.
Today I drove to Pretoria and applied for his for his Australian passport so that we can take him permanently. It would have been cool if the three members of the Joburg arm of the Reid family had entered Australia on three different passports. But now Silas and I, the Australians, will take Stephen.