A heavy load to bear

by | Westdene Memories | 7 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.

7 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
  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
    • 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
    • Hennie Botha

      Baie dankie Elmar, jou boodskap tref baie diep, selfs vir iemand soos ek wat nie daar was nie. Ek hoop ons hoor weer van jou.

      Reply
    • Elize

      Elmar, ek besef elke dag net meer en meer hoe die busramp soveel mense aangeraak het daardie dag. Baie dankie vir jou boodskap op ons webwerf. Ek is n oorlewene van die busramp en sal graag met jou wil gesels, kontak my asb op Groete Elize

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Poem – The Westdene Bus Disaster 1985

By Jenny Santiago (nee Mower)   It was the morning of the 27th of March 1985. Me a 14 year old girl, with hopes, dreams feeling so alive. The day was as any school day would be to me and you. Home time quarter to two   Busses waiting outside the main gate...

30 jaar herdenking van die Westdene Busramp

Die voorlopige datum vir die 30 jaar herdenking van die Westdene Busramp is 28 Maart 2015 om 09h00. The provisional date for the 30 year commemoration of the Westdene Bus Disaster is 28 March 2015 at 09h00. RSVP: Elize Venter 082 434 2989 ...

Vir die wat agter gelaat is

Vir die wat agter gelaat is

Betsie, ons het nie woorde om te beskryf hoeveel hartseer daai dag gebring het, en die impak wat dit gehad het op ons lewens nie – Pappa, Mamma, Chris, Marinda & Susan. Ek en Chris vind berusting vandag in die feit om te weet dat vandag is jy saam met Mamma, Pappa...

Stillewe

deur Andries Bezuidenhout, ter nagedagtenis, 27 Maart 1985   Stillewe Sluk elke buurt só swaar aan roem wat wrang verteer wanneer fotograwe hul lense elders wend, wanneer joernaliste vingers lek om notaboeke om te blaai, as naasbestaandes rame oopmaak vir plek om...

What happened to William Horne?

What happened to William Horne?

There are many conflicting reports of what happened to William (Willem Philip) Horne after the accident. The most recent information available, although this has not been verified as true, is that an article about him was published in the Sondag newspaper in 2008. The...

As jou siel skeur

As jou siel skeur

deur Trix Tromp, vir Connie van der Westhuizen 29 Jaar gelede op 27 Maart om en by half 3 die middag; was ek 'n 1ste jaar verpleegster by JG Strijdom hospitaal. Ek was net reg om agter die gordyne in te glip om 'n verband te vervang in saal 21. 'N ander student het...

Kranslegging 16 Junie 2013 – Westdene Dam

Kranslegging 16 Junie 2013 – Westdene Dam

As oorlewende van die Westdene Busramp, was dit vir my, op die stadium van my lewe, n groot eer om deur Hennie genader te word om die Stadsraad te assisteer om mense in kennis te stel en reelings te tref vir die dag. Dit was amper n “ietsie” wat mens kon teruggee, n...

Onthou

Onthou

Hierdie gedig is geskryf deur Eurika (de Koker) du Plessis. Eurika is deur haar broer, Theo de Koker, van verdrinking gered. Theo het die Wolraad Woltemade toekenning ontvang as erkenning van sy heldedaad. Onthou Hoe beskryf ek die pyn, wat nooit uit my hart verdwyn,...

Victims of Westdene Dam bus tragedy honoured

Survivors of the 1985 Westdene Dam bus disaster, families of the victims and several dignitaries gathered at the scene of the crash at the weekend to honour the memories of the 42 schoolchildren who died tragically when their school bus plunged into the dam. Read the...

Translate »