Chisanga Mukuka

You can count on one hand the number of times you’ve breezed through passport control, with little beyond a cursory glance and a robotic stamp, sometimes even a “welcome home” that you never bothered to correct. That kind of ease is unusual.

From as early as 5 years old, you knew that the Zambian passport, black and gold, meant a separate line that grew quickly and moved slowly. At 13 you graduated from simply being a name, sex and date in your mother’s passport to having one of your own, and learnt about three month “visitor’s visas” to South Africa that were constantly renewed – necessary for Sunday mass, cross-border shopping trips, music classes, and anything else you couldn’t get while living in the strange, small country within a country.

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