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'I held him tight and told him I love him' Wuhan student recounts first moments with family

Dineo Motake, who was quarantined at Ranch Hotel, spent her first day at home with her father Boy Motake./SUPPLIED
Dineo Motake, who was quarantined at Ranch Hotel, spent her first day at home with her father Boy Motake./SUPPLIED

Dineo Motake, a 25-year-old student who was repatriated from China after the outbreak of the coronavirus, could not wait to arrive home and give her father a tight hug.

Motake is one of 112 South African students who were repatriated from Wuhan and spent 14 days in quarantine at the Ranch Hotel and Resort in Polokwane, Limpopo.

The group left on Monday to their respective homes after President Cyril Ramaphosa paid them a visit to send them off on Sunday.

"When I got home, I held my father tight and told him I love and dearly missed him. I missed to be around him and I know now he is less worried about the whole situation," she said.

Motake, who comes from Botshabelo in the Free State, added that she would never forget the love she received from the hotel staff.

"I think personally I owe the staff a lot. When lots of people were calling us names on social media, they extended their heartfelt love to us and made us forget everything.

"They were always in jovial mood, they sang for us. There are not enough words to express my gratitude for what they did," said Motake.

She said her father, Boy Motake, has thanked South Africans and particularly President Cyril Ramaphosa for his quick response to the outbreak.

Motake was studying pharmacy and English in Wuhan.

She said she also missed visiting her relatives, but unfortunately she will have to wait for the lockdown to be suspended so she can move around.

"Even here in Botshabelo, I haven't stepped out of my house. I'm still enjoying my bed."

Motake's sister Vytjie Ramagalane said she was happy that God has protected her younger sister in the midst of the deadly virus.

"As a family we are glad that she came home safe. We were praying to God to protect and bring her home safe.

"While she was quarantined in Polokwane, we asked God to give her strength. And we knew God's will would triumph," she said.

Ramagalane said Dineo has been studying in Wuhan for the past three years.

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