A heavy load to bear

by | Aug 3, 2012 | Westdene Memories | 9 comments

Boeta Rousseau helping at the Westdene Bus Disaster (second from right). His daughter Alice was not on the bus that day but normally would have been. So many “angels” helped that day. In loving memory of all the kids and my Uncle ‘Boeta”. By Mary Gous

Also in the photo is Elmar Botha (the young man in the background not wearing a shirt). He was a young police officer at the time. Read his thoughtful comments below.

9 Comments

  1. Maria Becker

    Goeie dag, ek wil graag meer weet ivm. ‘n persoon wat by die Woltemade dekorasie genoem word. Sy naam is Ockert Jansen van Niewenhuizen, ek vermoed hy is/was my neef. Kan iemand my dalk sê wie sy ouers was & waar hulle werksaam was. Ek is 5 jaar jonger as hy, kontak was maar min & moeilik. Ons het mekaar later van tyd weer gevind, maar hy het nooit so iets genoem & nou is hy ook by sy Hemelse Vader. So, ek wonder maar. Enige inligting sal help, baie dankie. Maria

    Reply
    • Dina Steinberg

      Ouers was Saartjie en Riël Janse van Niewenhuizen . T Saartjie het by die SAUk gewerk en later op die myn in Rustenburg . Kan nie onthou nie . Het vir Ockert baie goed geken maar nie persoonlike detail van die ouers nie. Beide ouers en hy is oorlede

      Reply
  2. Aadiel Essop

    Good day

    One of the Angels in the back drop is a client at the Talisman foundation. His name is Elmar and served the South African police force for many years. He can be seen in the back second from right. The Westdene disaster is one of many incidents that he helped at which eventually led to his mental health demise. He is currently doing exceedingly well and we are hoping for full reintegration in a little while. Elmar has very distinct and vivid memories of pulling one of the survivors from the submersed bus. I was wondering if it was at all possible to track this lady (or a representative from the incident) and have her/him attend our Mandela day event as we would like to honor Elmar for his sacrifices and bravery in serving humanity. Please do assist.

    Reply
    • Aadiel Essop

      The picture that i am referring to is called ‘a heavy load to bear’

      Reply
      • Marieth Grobler(Venter)

        My Brother was in Vorentoe. I still remember as it was yesterday. A friend Anna Morris lost her life that day. I still remember those every year I was in Albertskroon Std 5 would have gone Vorentoe the following year.

        Reply
    • Elize

      Hi Aadiel, it would be a great honour to meet Elmar I will contact you via email. Thanks for your post on our website, I am glad that Elmar is doing well and would love to talk to him.

      Reply
  3. Elmar Botha

    Nooit, nooit sal jul vergeet word, liewe kinders…
    Hierdie foto, die eerste waarna ek nou kyk, op die eerste besoek aan hierdie website, het als weer so (te?) duidelik laat terugstroom… Dit is die eerste keer, na al die jare, wat ek hierdie ramp opgesoek het – maar dit was nog nooit uit my gedagte nie. Die jong persoon in die agtergrond, sonder hemp … is ek.
    Ek was ‘n jong polisieman op die destydse Onlus-Eenheid 2, so 20 jaar oud, en het, in polisiebroek, pype opgerol, ingespring om te probeer help nadat ons na die toneel gehaas het met die idee dat ons bang kinders uit ‘n bus in miskien halflyf-diepte water, gaan kant-toe help en die water sou kon geniet. Groot, so wreed en groot was die skok by aankoms op die toneel! Niks van die bus was bo die water sigbaar nie.
    Ek sal later meer skryf; die beelde van toebroodjies, ‘n onskuldige liefdesbriefie, boeke wat op die water dryf, die dogtertjie pas uitgeswem wat probeer “dankie” prewel, net om bietjie later met ‘n wit laken bedek te word, in finale oorgawe aan ‘n lot waarvan die sin en doel nog nie vir my deurskemer nie, is nou, selfs na al die jare, net te skielik en te veel, miskien is die wonde nog nie so genees soos gedink…
    Rus in vrede julle, hierdie “jong oompie” van daardie dag sal jul nooit, nooit vergeet nie…

    Reply

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