How can I bring my child back to South Africa from Nigeria?
My daughter was born in South Africa, and her father took her to Nigeria to visit his family while she was still an infant.
She is now 15 years old, and luckily through social media, we managed to contact each other. (Uwe Krejci/Getty Images)
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The following question is part of Groundup's Answers to your questions series and comes from a reader who wants to know how to bring her South African born daughter back to SA after living in Nigeria for the last 15 years.


How can I bring my child back to South Africa from Nigeria?

The short answer

You can contact these organisations.

The whole question

My daughter was born in South Africa, and her father took her to Nigeria to visit his family while she was still an infant.

He was a Nigerian national, and I’m a South African citizen, but we never got married. He passed away without bringing her back to me in South Africa.

She is now 15 years old, and luckily through social media, we managed to contact each other.

But she faces abuse from her late father’s sisters in Nigeria. How can I bring my child back to South Africa? 

The long answer

You must be very relieved that you and your daughter have finally been able to contact each other through social media after searching for each other for a long time.

First, your daughter is a South African citizen since you are South African even though her father was Nigerian.

She remains a South African citizen unless she became a Nigerian citizen while living with her father, and the Retention of South African Citizenship through the Department of Home Affairs was not applied for before she became a Nigerian citizen.

If your daughter’s birth was registered, you should have a birth certificate and ID number for her.

If her birth was not registered, you can apply for a late birth registration through Home Affairs, and you would need to bring whatever documents you have like a clinic card or certificate as proof of birth at a hospital or clinic.

Since dealing with Home Affairs is mostly very difficult and takes a very long time, you could contact the following organisations for advice and help on how best to proceed (once the lockdown is over):

  • The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town at info@scalabrini.org.za, tel: 021 465 6433
  • Lawyers for Human Rights at: Musina 0115 534 2203, Durban 031 301 0531, Pretoria 012 320 2943, Johannesburg 011 339 1960.
  • Legal Resources Centre at info@lrc.org.za in Johannesburg at 011 836 9831 and Cape Town at 021 481 3000.

Answered on May 5, 2020, 12:09 p.m.

Published originally on GroundUp

© 2020 GroundUp.

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