This is an URGENT APPEAL for help… writes Sadhana (Sharon Ryan). [UPDATE 15 May 2020: Light at the end of the tunnel for South Africans stranded in India.]

We are over 250 South Africans stranded all over India, since Lockdown started on 24 March, with no repatriation plans in sight yet by the South African government.

DIRCO newsletters are filled with successful repatriation stories from various other countries with no mention of India. We appreciate the logistical nightmare repatriation must be, yet lack of transparency regarding the ‘challenges’ in bringing us home leaves us feeling ‘discarded’.

Amongst the elderly and children who make up our numbers, is a stage 4 cancer patient, someone who suffers from diabetes and ischemic heart disease, both out of medication, and a young medical student who lost his father to Covid19, with no assistance from DIRCO to get home for the funeral. Another who suffers heat intolerance and is stuck in the Thar desert in temperatures ranging 38-45 degrees Celsius, suffering heat exhaustion.

Ben Joubert from our High Commission in Delhi has been a pillar, yet can offer little solace in the face of no plan from DIRCO.

The ‘excuse’ was India’s ‘closed airspace’. To commercial flights yes. Not to flights arranged by embassies for repatriation! As has been proven by the various airlines that repatriated Europeans from India.

Now India has opened their airspace to repatriate their own people. Yet, interestingly, India like SA, do not list each other on their repatriation lists???

It’s been 6 weeks and counting… with nothing of substance from our Government to give us hope. Medication HAS run out. Money is running out. Nerves are frazzled. Emotions are running high. Negativity is spiralling. Depression is setting in. Families are separated and distraught, consumed with worry for their stranded parents, siblings, spouses and children.

At this rate, quarantine facilities should offer 14 days of psychological trauma support too. We understand that Quarantine facilities for so many repatriates are also problematic. There are many hotels onsite at ORT and within a 5-10km radius. The private sector should be stepping up to partner with government in their anti-Covid19 fight by offering their establishments as quarantine facilities.

Another option is that those who are asymptomatic should be allowed to self-quarantine for 14 days and report for clearance testing after 14 days, thereby relieving the pressure off the quarantine Centres.

DIRCO’s politically correct responses to all our communications tick all the right boxes, yet lack substantive answers to our pressing questions. Even in the face of all possible solutions presented from our side and various stakeholders offering assistance, we’re still left hanging.

Will it take the loss of one of our lives to mobilize DIRCO into action?

Will it take the loss of one of our lives to mobilize DIRCO into action? And will they accept responsibility for that eventuality? This lack of empathy, transparency and communication is tantamount to violating our Human rights as South African citizens. We’re beyond DIRCO’s ‘trying everything they can’. WE DESERVE TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING!!!


Through the pain of uncertainty and tears of frustration, we choose to BELIEVE we have not been forgotten!

President Ramaphosa, Minister Naledi Pandor, Minister Fikile Mbalula, Deputy Minister Alvin Botes, Radio, Television and Social Media…PLEASE BRING US HOME.

We are lost rainbows in the colourful landscape of India.

We are lost rainbows in the colourful landscape of India. Our place to shine is, and always will be South Africa ~ Our Home. We’re counting on you, Mr President and PM Modi, and your strong camaraderie to turn our pain of separation into pride of nation. We know you care. Just show us how much… PLEASE BRING US HOME.

Please also sign our petition and share far and wide in all your groups and networks???.

Thank you for your support and understanding of our dilemma and for being instrumental in bringing us HOME.

Warm regards from a very hot India???
Sadhana (Sharon Ryan)


Those in India are not the only South Africans desperate for help to get home. Dale Sugden adds: “Please help all South Africans trapped overseas and trying to get home. Including over 200 in Nigeria with no sign of help from Dirco. There must be something that can be done!”