A 108-year-old Irish women who emigrated to South Africa at the age of 90 died there this weekend, according to the Irish Times. Kitty Ball was born in Skerries in 1901 and moved to South Africa to be with her daughter and grandchildren. Mrs Ball had a rich and active life full of travel and sport, refusing to enter a nursing home as she believed they were for old people. She attributed her longevity to her habit of a glass of sherry every morning at eleven.
An Irish golf instructor who has lived in South Africa for five years spent 12 days in jail in a visa mixup, according to the South African Sunday Tribune. David Graham was in the process of applying for a visa extension when he was arrested in June in Durban. Immigration officials had misread a figure on his documentation and concluded his paperwork was invalid.
Graham was told he would be deported, and was sent to jail; although he was informed he would be put in the prison’s immigration section, he was instead put in a cell with murder suspects. Graham says he bribed fellow prisoners in order to survive; South Africa’s Home Affairs department took four days to find him because he was in the wrong section of the prison. His own lawyer did not know how to find him.
Graham was finally granted bail in August; his case was dismissed in October. The newspaper reports that a department of home affairs spokesperson said they were investigating the matter.
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The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, has announced €40,000 worth of funding for Irish organisations in South Africa and Zimbabwe – the first-ever fuding to those regions.
Mr Ahern noted that the funding is part of a total package of grants worth €12 million being distributed to Irish communities abroad this year, twelve times that of 1997. Funding was granted this year for the first time to organisation in Canada and Argentina, along with the continued support given to Irish community organisation in Britain, the US and Australia.
Today’s announcement concerning Irish associations in South Africa and Zimbabwe represents a further welcome development. We deeply appreciate the strong and unifying focal points which the Irish associations in South Africa and Zimbabwe provide for our community there, many of whom – including members of religious orders – live some very considerable distance apart from each other. Today’s grants will help these Irish associations to sustain their valuable community support structures into the future.
The grants announced by the Minister were:
- Cape Town Irish Association – €10,000
- Durban Irish Society – €10,000
- Mashonaland Irish Association, Harare – €15,000
- Irish Association of Bulawayo – €5,000