Bonny Immelman, from Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg, was going to be in Australia on a business trip for two weeks before returning home to her little boy, Leslie.
She never could’ve imagined that two weeks away from her son would turn into two long, anxious months because of the coronavirus pandemic that’s sweeping the globe.
“It was horrible. The insecurity gnawed at me, and of course I was very worried that Leslie would contract the virus,” she tells YOU.
Bonny, a quality controller, flew to Sydney in March to attend a training course. She wanted to fly home to SA in the week the national lockdown here was announced. But there were no available flights. So she and 183 other South Africans were stranded in Australia for more than a month before the SA government organised a repatriation flight for them.
But the nightmare didn’t end there. When the flight landed in SA on 29 April, all the South Africans had to go into self-quarantine. That meant she couldn’t see Leslie for another two weeks.
She was in quarantine in the Garden Court Hotel in the East Rand. “At least we could video call every day,” she says. “Thank goodness for technology. If it hadn’t been for that, I don’t know what I would’ve done.
”Bonny’s husband passed away in 2016. During the time she was in quarantine, Leslie stayed with her in-laws.
She was released from quarantine the day before Mother’s Day.
“At first, Leslie was unsure if it was really me,” she says. “But when he realised it was, he was overjoyed. He did a little happy dance and couldn’t stop smiling. He hasn’t left me alone for a moment since.”
Leslie turns six on 28 May, and he and his mom are planning a party.
“I haven’t missed a single one of his birthdays, and I’m grateful that I get to celebrate this one with him,” she says. “I’m going to bake a cake, and we’ll have a party for two.”