After 3 months and costly flight tickets, SA photographer stranded in New Zealand has repatriation hope

Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
  • Nadine Aucamp, a Cape Town-based wedding photographer, has been stranded in New Zealand for close to three months, unable to return home due to global lockdowns.
  • When she tried to return home to South Africa, most airlines had started grounding their flights in adherence to various nations' health regulations brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.
  •  Nadine's trip was to photograph a wedding which she didn't get to attend due to quarantine rules.
  • She's now found flights home at an extremely high cost but is hopeful that she can get back soon.

Read more about the initial days when Nadine arrived in New Zealand here. Here is an update on her efforts to get home:

I should be flying back to South African soil on the 20th of June 2020. It's on an SAA flight from Sydney-Johannesburg for R15 000 and the New Zealand-Australia flight is an extra R7 000, then I still need to get from Joburg to Cape Town after my 14-day quarantine, but I'll have to cross that bridge when I get to it.

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This will bring my New Zealand stay to an end after three months (that should have initially only lasted two weeks). I had to swallow my pride and ask for financial assistance on social media.

Pretty much all my bookings to photograph weddings have been canceled or postponed and I'm not holding out hope for the few that are left standing. I don't think South Africa will go back to normal anytime soon regarding weddings and events. 

Although this ticket is cheaper than previous flights, it's still worth four months' rent (and R10 000 more than the initial return ticket I paid to get to New Zealand). While keeping in mind that I've only been able to work two and a half months out of the six (or possibly twelve) months of the year, and staying in a country where $1 = R11 for three months, that's a high price for me to pay.

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Unfortunately, I couldn't pass on this flight. It's rumoured to be the last chance for us to get out, the last SAA repatriation flight that'll be sent since there's just enough of us here to fill one plane back home.

Anyone who stays behind will need to wait for international commercial travel to return - hopefully before your visa expires. Even then, I was told, flights would only be able to land in South Africa if the country goes to lockdown level 1 - and it's impossible to know when that'll happen. 

READ MORE: Being on lockdown may cause stress-eating, here are five tips to help you stay on track

To put the cherry on top, I've recently discovered that someone managed to steal R6 600 out of my bank account. 2020 knows how to kick a girl while she's down.

I'm not sure if my business, myself, or this country will survive this pandemic, and if we do, if we'll be able to recover what we've lost, but at least I'll be home.

Are you in a similar situation as Nadine, or would you like to help her get home after this ordeal? Let us know here.

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