Drag me from the depths of hell, please.

I have tried to write a post about the beaurocratic admin mess I have gotten myself into these last few weeks, but I just cannot be concise or interesting about it.


Basically, I got it into my head to apply for an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes. Part time, so you only have to be at Rhodes two weeks of every year over two years. It sounded beautiful and exciting and fantastic to me at the time. I even got accepted into Rhodes back when I was out of school, although I chose UCT in the end.

To apply costs £8.

Over two hundred pounds later, my costs are growing, I have been flinging money all over the show, I don’t have my academic records that will allow me to be accepted, it seems that academic institutions in South Africa never reply to email, or reply after 5 days, which would be fine if I wasn’t doing everything from over here and I only have one week left in which to apply, I have to keep phoning all the time, which is not cheap,  and the Rhodes website has dead links and no information, or contradictory information, and I was stuck in a web of information dearth hell, I got an affadavit, which cost £40, and have been told that I no longer need it,  but it would probably have been invalid for SA anyway, but it was the best I could do,  I was told I could not apply for the course after I had just paid two couriers to sort out my records issue and my application issue, then I was told it was ok to try and apply, my credit card has been refused for the £4 transaction that would allow me to get my academic records from UCT and apply, I paid £20 for the privelege of making an £8 payment to SA, I keep going and going sorting out a million issues, flinging money around in the hope that everything will work out….

And probably I will be rejected anyway! Even if they allow my application without the academic records and let me send them later on, my writing is not that good!


Actually, now I realise my ability to write a book is probably non-existent. I have no ideas. I love writing, and the idea of it, but I kind of don’t have talent and am just trying to ignore that fact because I really want it to not be true.

I take it back, world! I can’t do this! Can I get a refund?

Lesson learned: if you want to apply for something in South Africa, do it in SOUTH AFRICA. There is not much set up for overseas numpties like me. I thought it would be a simple task. I was so wrong. I am an idiot. My view of the world is so optimistic and naive sometimes, and I always seem to surprise people, who clearly think I am mad for doing something that seemed sane to me.

I really wish I hadn’t bothered. But I had already paid the courier to come and fetch the damn application, so I gave it over.  I have sprayed my monthly earnings all over the place to try and make this happen. I still need to somehow make a £4 payment ASAP because I have already paid the damn courier to go fetch my academic records from UCT and whisk them to me.  I have not heard from UCT for a while.

£4 is like joke money here. A Happy Meal costs about that much.  How can it be so damn hard?!

I am fairly convinced that every admin person in the South African academic circle hates me with a fiery passion now. I am sure there is a black ball of doom against my name.

Anybody want a beautiful, shiny affadavit? I will sell it to you for £400. And give you a £50 discount if you actually know what an affadavit is.

Hell is South African beaurocracy, which wants to fingerprint, certify, and affadavit everything that moves.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Helen
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 09:15:43

    let me know if you need any help from here, I’m well-versed in beaurocrese. And your writing is fantastic. Promise!


  2. Prixie
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 12:25:10

    OMW – Service level in South Africa is simply shocking! Without fail, there is someone at work complaining every week about how hard it is to get something or the other done. Even if you are there in person, screaming and shouting, nothing really gets done. OMW, My blood is boiling just thinking about this! Sorry you had to experience it all the way over there! Urghhhh! I best stop thinking about this now…


  3. saaleha
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 13:03:17

    Being in SA isn’t that much easier when each university operates within a universe of its own. One took just under 24 hours to process my request for an academic transcript while another tells me I may have to wait until next Tuesday.
    This cuts my nerves into even finer filaments as the deadline for the MA application, as you know, is next week Friday.
    I hope you get in.
    The programme looks so promising!


  4. seamonkeypo
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 15:58:37

    Thanks you guys!!!! Seriously though beaurocracy is poo everywhere, and every country has its own flavour. SA has the lack of communication and certifying documents flavour.

    Saaleha are you applying too?! Awesome and no way! ~It would be kind of mindblowing if we were both on the course :) If I ever got accepted and as my application will not have my academic records, it is unlikely :(


    • saaleha
      Nov 11, 2011 @ 16:08:17

      I am :) I’ve been wanting to do a creative writing MA for so long, but I’ve always faffed around and missed deadlines and such. This one suits me perfectly and I really hope I manage to get in.
      Usually, your portfolio should carry more weight than the lack of academic record – maybe they’ll give you some time to submit those afterwards.


  5. seamonkeypo
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 16:54:40

    Saaleha: I phoned up the ISEA people and the secretary said I could apply and send the records on later, not sure how much authority the secretary has LOL but I am going with that!

    I looked at the UCT one, but two years full time on Creative Writing, I just cannot afford the time and the not working and the lack of useable qualification at the end. I love that the Rhodes one is one year full time, like a UK Masters (lazy, haha) and two years part time, so I can still work and be done in reasonable time. Are you going full time? I had a few happy dreams about being full time, I think it would blow my mind, a year of just writing full time!! But it is not feasible for me in the end.


  6. seamonkeypo
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 16:58:44

    Helen: thank you so much for that offer! It is exceedingly kind, considering the daunting nature of this mad process. However the application is currently trundling towards Rhodes and my £4 payment got approved today, so my academic records are now being processed by UCT, 4 days late but anyway. Now I just can but wait.

    Prixie: I may have said a few rude words under my breath a few times. UCT has been much easier and better to deal with than Rhodes. I don’t want to be mean about Rhodes, I mean, I am busting with excitement at the thought of being a student there, even if only in name and spirit, but their website is not easy to use and replying to emails…. well it could be renamed snail mail.

    Also I dream of a day when you can make online payments to SA universities, or use paypal, or something. Cos every time I make a transfer at my bank here it costs £20, which is just mental.

    PS: Saaleha: my best wishes and good luck to you!


  7. tiah
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 13:47:34

    I admire you, but the other part of me wants to tell you ‘wait till you get here’ and even then these things get very tricky.

    Things just move…oddly. It will probably come to no surprise to you to hear that when the RSA government wanted 3 new police reports from me after living in this country for six months the ones from the USA and UK were easier and quicker to obtain (yes, while IN South Africa) than the one from my current town. Not that anybody local was rude. Just took patience in buck loads.


  8. Tamara
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 11:04:34

    Po. I have seen your writing. And not just the blog stuff. You can write. You do have the talent. I believe you can do it. Beaurocrats be damned.


  9. poseamonkey
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 10:34:15

    Tiah: well it is done, more or less. Still waiting for my academic records, but if they accept my application without them, fine, if not then oh well. A few hundred pounds and my sanity down the drain, but nothing more.

    Tamara: thanks so much for the words of encouragment Tamara! I really do feel dubious about doing this now though. For me writing seems to be a battle, a fight every day. Ideas don’t come. Actual words seem to be ok but the ideas just don’t come. So I seriously have to question if I can do this. I am hoping I will react in a similar way to my other classes and the sheer stress of having a deadline will force me to produce something, anything. Eep. But thank you!


    • saaleha
      Nov 16, 2011 @ 10:45:25

      I’ve just sent my application through in an overnight bag.
      The university where I did my undergrad is yet to send me a copy of my academic transcript. Fortunately, I came across a verified copy in my files while searching for some sort of academic record that would stand in.
      Best of everything Po!


  10. poseamonkey
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 13:33:39

    Saaleha: Awesome, it will be there in time! And academised too.

    My application is in, and I just got told that my academic records are ready. It is so lame but I have to courier them here and then courier them to Rhodes, so they will be LATE, oh so late. But It’s worth a try.


  11. Tara
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 12:54:14

    hey-no idea if you’re sorted or not but I live in G’town. If you need anything drop me an email and I’ll see what I can do :)


  12. poseamonkey
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 12:59:00

    Hey Tara, thanks so much! But as of yesterday my academic records are making their way to your home town and hopefully they will get there and my application will be considered. But thank you so much for the offer!


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