The tourism industry has expressed its condolences on the news of the death of South African travel blogger, influencer and Johannesburg enthusiast, Meruschka Govender.  

Popularly known as ‘Mzansi Girl, Govender captured the heart of South Africans in her blog, MzansiGirl.com where she would document and share her travel experiences around the country, exploring the vast culture and hidden treasures that mainstream tourism had not discovered.

A self-proclaimed ‘Afrophile’, Govender wrote on her blog that she was bitten by the travel bug at a young age when she went travelling around the country with her family, but it was her first solo trip to Mozambique that fired her enthusiasm for travelling.

According to the Gauteng Tourism Authority, Mzansi Girl was also an avid explorer of Johannesburg. She regularly shared her love of hosting Joburg InstaWalks where she would discover ‘hidden gems’ within the inner city, ranging from music and book stores, vintage clothing shops to street art, artists’ studios and secret rooftops.

Head of Destination Communications at Gauteng Tourism, Barba Gaoganediwe, says the passing of Govender represents a great loss for the tourism industry at large. “She was a great ambassador for travel. She captured both the spirit and essence of the ‘GP Lifestyle’ in the Gauteng province, her passion for adventure and contribution to Gauteng Tourism, South Africa and the global community will be sorely missed.”

South Africa’s Department of Tourism further expressed their sadness after learning of Govender’s passing

Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom extended his sympathy to her family and all those who knew her, adding: “Through her admired travel writing, she contributed immensely to the promotion of our beautiful country as a tourist destination of choice. Her love and passion for travel was clearly demonstrated in the images and stories she shared on all the social media platforms.

“She left her permanent mark on the face of tourism in South Africa and will never be forgotten in our hearts and minds. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” concluded Hanekom.

Friends and family attended Govender’s funeral on Thursday (January 17) in Greenside, Johannesburg.