'It's one big nightmare' says mom of another SA teacher detained in China

2019-02-02 14:08
Sasha Redman (Supplied)

Sasha Redman (Supplied)

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Another South African teacher has been arrested in China over visa issues, with her frantic mother unable to find out where she is being held.

"It is just one big nightmare," said Capetonian Candice Erasmus, as she battles to find out what is happening to her daughter Sasha Redman. 

Last September, Redman went on a second trip to teach English in China, after her first stint went off without a hitch. 

Only this time, she thought things would be even better when she was offered the chance to go to university to study Mandarin, while teaching English in her spare time.

"She was so excited," said Erasmus, explaining that the 27-year-old from Table View was looking forward to going to university.

She was issued a student visa and was looking forward to a new chapter in her life in Rui'An, Wenzhou.

However, the red flags started going up when, two weeks into her second stint, the school she was teaching English at told her that her university studies were taking up too much time and she had to give that up to focus on her teaching.

Erasmus then received a message from her daughter expressing concern that occasionally the South African teachers at the school were told to hide away.

On Monday, she received another message from Sasha to say that they all had to hide away over the weekend. She had also heard that the police had arrived at the school with a photograph of her, looking for Sasha.

"I said she must just come home," said Erasmus.

It appears Sasha was apprehended for having a student visa, and not a visa allowing her to work and leading the English classes she thought she would just be teaching in her spare time.

She was set to leave China on Wednesday, but on Tuesday Erasmus received a message from Sasha to say she was being taken into police custody, and her phone would be taken away from her. 

Since then she has not been able to contact her daughter. Sasha's friends have told Erasmus her daughter was moved to another police station, only she does not know where. 

"I can't even speak to her," she said. "I don't know if she has clothes, or toiletries, or bedding."

Her case was reminiscient of that of East London woman Tristan-Lee Niemand, who was detained for around a month, also due to visa issues. 

READ: Father of young SA teacher jailed in China 'ecstatic' about news of her release

Erasmus has spoken to the Chinese embassy and to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) and is hoping for answers soon.

She said Sasha has previously worked as an au-pair in Holland and in the US, in addition to her English language teaching, and has not had problems before. 

Comment was not immediately available from Dirco, nor the press office of the Chinese government and will be added when it becomes available.

Read more on:    china  |  education
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