His loved ones still have no idea where he is but they’re trying to stay positive.
John Bothma from Roodepoort, Johannesburg, who’d been teaching in Vietnam, went missing on May 18. The 22-year-old was last seen in Ho Chi Minh City and his cellphone is off.
He’d been teaching part-time in Vietnam since November 2018 and had a pre-booked flight back to South Africa on June 1 but he wasn’t on the flight.
“I love John so much. My heart is so sore and the worry about him increases by the minute,” his sister, Leandri Pereira (28), tells YOU.
But the family believe that John will be found. “I think we’re staying positive because we still have hope . . . He had so many dreams for the future and I feel he deserves the opportunity to live those dreams,” Leandri says.
John’s aunt, Santjie Dixon, who raised him, says their faith is what’s carrying them through this difficult time. “You know, fear is your mind’s biggest foe and we’re conquering it with age-old instructions in the Bible,” she says.
“And we support each other. We’re truly helping carry each other’s burdens and we’re connected on a family WhatsApp group.”
Santjie says she and John’s mom, Colleen, are planning to go to Vietnam soon to look for him. “But not just yet – we simply have to wait for now.”
Interpol and investigators from the South African department of international relations and cooperation are following up on leads, Santjie tells us.
“We’ve had new information that’s being investigated. The information came from within South Africa and produced a few leads,” Santjie says.
She says John’s disappearance has also made news headlines in Vietnam and locals are on the lookout for him.
John has a heart of gold, she says. “That’s why he did so well in his first six months in Vietnam. He has a knack [for working] with children. He also has lots of empathy with everyone and has the ability to see others’ problems through their eyes.
“The wanderlust got a hold of him and as you can see from the pictures [he posted on social media] he thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The family has set up the Facebook page Find John Bothma where information can be shared.