Born in but stateless in South Africa

Published: 13/Nov/2021
Source: Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

By Masoka Dube

Thulani Vuma, who lives in Sabie in Mpumalanga, cannot continue with his studies because he does not have an identity document. Even though he was born in the country 22 years ago, to a Mozambican mother and South African father, his attempts to obtain documentation have been in vain. He completed his grade 12 last year at Memezile Secondary School in Sabie and had hoped to become a genetic engineer.

Vuma is one of the thousands of Mpumalanga’s stateless young people who cannot further their studies. Stateless citizens are people born in one country of a parent or parents who are from another, but do not have documentation to prove their place of birth.

Most undocumented people in Mpumalanga are descendants of those who fled Mozambique during the civil war that engulfed that country from 1977 to 1992, after the country attained its independence from Portugal in 1975.

“I failed to continue with my studies because I don’t have documentation,” said Vuma. “My mother and I have visited different home affairs offices trying to get an identity book, but they turned us down.”

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Themes: Acquisition by children, Birth Registration, ID Documents and Passports
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2021