Dubai: South African expats stranded in their home-country have lent their singing voice to the UAE national anthem, so they can be heard by local government authorities in a desperate plea to return to the emirates.
The heartening video titled “Bring Us Home! The faces of UAE residents stuck abroad! Our plea from South Africa” features a cover song by Reena Cahoon of “Coming Home – Skylar Grey”. The video shows the UAE national anthem being sung by a group of South African expats stranded in their home-country. While the anthem has been hummed by parents in isolation in South Africa, their children on the other hand have sung the lyrics.
According to Kimberly Ross, 30 who has started a WhatsApp group to gather UAE residents in South Africa together, as of May 19, there were a little over 400 stranded expats in the country.
“We want to come back to the UAE, it is our home,” she said.
Kimberly like other stranded expats is happy to hear the latest announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) that stranded UAE residents can begin to return from June 1.
But Kimberly is unsure if she and her husband Ross Horwitz, 28, qualify for the first batch of stranded expats returning to UAE.
“Our situation is critical,” explained Ross. “My wife Kimberly has been bed-ridden and has suffered a medical emergency,” he explained. “We need to return to UAE as soon as possible.”
Of the medical emergency, he said: “My wife has been diagnosed with a critical illness called Lyme disease. She has been bed-bound for sometime and has not been able to do her daily tasks like washing and eating.”
The couple left over two months ago for Cape Town South Africa to celebrate their wedding with family and friends. They have been stuck there ever since due to coronavirus flight suspensions.
“I travelled to Cape Town, South Africa on February 16 to prepare my body and execute plans for our special day with our South African family. My husband arrived a month later. Everything changed after. COVID-19 happened, lockdowns happened and we were kicked out of our accommodation in South Africa for fear of spreading coronavirus. We have been shunting around places since. My husband is distressed about his job in the UAE. I am also petrified for my health as South Africa’s COVID-19 numbers are on the rise. My medical insurance only covers UAE and I am having to pay my bills here in South Africa,” said Kimberly. “A few nights ago, we had to call the ambulance – they took 45 minutes to arrive and we live seven minutes away from the hospital. This is to give you a perspective of the situation we are in. We want to come back to the UAE, it is our home,” she added.
Other expats are in a similar predicament
Geomaure came to South Africa to give birth to her son. Her husband stayed behind in the UAE for work purposes. The travel ban was put into place just before she was due to return to UAE. As a result, she has been unable to return to UAE with her baby to be re-united with her husband. “My baby has not met his father yet!” she said.
Samantha is stuck with her two children, Matthew, aged nine, and Jennifer, seven. They are currently staying with her elderly parents in a one-bedroom flat, sleeping on an air mattress on the living room floor. Samantha has since been let go from her job as a teaching assistant and her husband is completely alone carrying the burden to support his family. “I beg you to please bring my children and I back to the UAE – our home which we miss dearly”, she pleaded.