A Durban mother, who has been left stranded in Fiji due to the COVID-19 lockdown, says she desperately needs to get back home to her three young children.

Patricia Govender, her husband and two other family members travelled to the island country in early March to celebrate her birthday, however, their return trip was cancelled when South Africa went into lockdown.

Govender says the situation is taking an emotional, mental and financial toll on her family.

She says, “My husband’s uncle and aunt are with us and his uncle has diabetes. He ran out of insulin which was impossible to get here and is currently very ill. We are incurring a whole lot of costs and our finances are depleting because we are taking care of three kids back home and with all these extra costs and medical costs, it’s really taking a toll on us emotionally and becoming mentally exhausting. We desperately tried every means possible to try and get back home.”

Patricia Govender discusses the financial burden of living abroad:

On Saturday, the Department of International Relations organised flights departed from Washington DC for South Africa repatriating some 275 citizens who were stuck in the United States since the COVID-19 restrictions were implemented.

The flight was one of three flights that will return citizens to the country this month.

In April, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said her department was facing serious challenges in its efforts to facilitate the return of South Africans stranded in other countries in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time Home Away from Home, an organisation formed by a group of South African volunteer, said the situation for more South Africans in over 130 countries, remained dire.

At least 1 000 South Africans to be repatriated from USA


Story by: Taliesha Naidoo