Thursday, February 20, 2014


I've always been proud to be a South African but today as I watch the live feeds from Maidan and the struggle of the Ukrainian people as I sit in the relative safety of my apartment, I have to wonder about my citizenship.  Is being a South African all that great?  Because really, having a South African passport in Kyiv has got me trapped.
For starters we have no embassy here.  So that means that I am not on any embassy list, I do not receive embassy updates on the situation and travel warnings.  I don't exist.  That also means if foreigners need to get evacuated in a hurry, I have no embassy arranging my evacuation.  I am stuck here.
My place of work does not have an emergency evacuation plan.  If they do have one I don't know about it or what it contains.
I can't slip over the border into another European country like all the other staff can do, because South Africans need a Schengen visa to visit Europe.  A Schengen visa takes ten working days and requires an original bank certificate from my bank - which happens to be in South Africa.  No can do.  Also, all those embassies are shut at the moment.
I can't fly to the UK because even though South Africa is a part of the British Commonwealth and we take part in the games, and we fought two world wars for them, gave our blood for them, we require a visa to go and visit them.  Maybe it's because we regularly beat them in rugby and cricket.
So for all intensive purposes I am trapped in Kyiv and it seems to be intensifying today.  Lots of explosions and ambulance sirens.
Welcome to my world.
Cindy Vine is the author of six novels, 3 children's stories, a travel guide, 2 self-help books and an adult picture book.  All her books are available on Amazon as paperbacks or kindle books.  For more on her books go to

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