BRONKHORSTSPRUIT – Fourteen-year-old school pupil Lindokuhle Khumalo, one of the seven survivors of the minibus taxi crash that claimed 20 lives near Bronkhorstspruit in Gauteng, appealed on Saturday to motorists in general to drive carefully to prevent deaths on the roads.
The accident occurred on Friday afternoon on the R25 road near Bronkhorstspruit on the border of Gauteng and Mpumalanga when a minibus taxi collided with a truck, killing 19 pupils and the minibus driver. Lindokuhle and six other pupils were admitted to various hospitals for treatment.
Lindokuhle made the appeal for safe driving while speaking to the African News Agency at the KwaMhlanga Hospital in Mpumalanga where she is recovering from the injuries she sustained in the crash. She said she did not remember anything related to the accident and even asked her sister Nonhlanhla Khumalo, 20, who was visiting her at the hospital, to explain to her why she was in hospital.
“Why am I here,” asked Lindokuhle shortly after Nonhlanhla woke her up on her hospital bed. “What happened to me? Why am I feeling such a lot of pain on my body and neck?”
When Nonhlanhla told her she was injured in an accident while travelling home from school, she reacted with shock and cried a little. Lindokuhle then repeatedly asked Nonhlanhla where her friend Mimi Mathibela was.
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The minibus taxi burst into flame after colliding with the truck, burning some of the occupants. But there were no visible burns on Lindokuhle’s body. She wore a neck brace and the only visible injuries on her body were three abrasions on her face and two on her back below her neck.
Lindokuhle, of Verena village near KwaMhlanga, told ANA one of the things she remembered from Friday was an unnamed pastor who prayed for them in the morning at the Mahlenga Secondary School in Sokhulumi village near Bronkhorstspruit. She said she also recalled chatting to one of her friends, whom she identified only as Melusi, while they were sitting on the back seat of the minibus travelling home from school.
“I don’t know what happened after that. Drivers must drive carefully on the roads and save lives. I want to go back to school. I want to finish school and become a lawyer one day,” said the grade nine pupil.
Lindokuhle had never felt uncomfortable or scared while travelling in the same minibus taxi in the past, she said.
Nonhlanhla said she was grateful for Lindokuhle’s survival but felt sorry for everyone who was involved in or affected by the accident. “Lindokuhle is an intelligent, ambitious pupil and she has won several excellence awards at her school,” she said.
“This accident came as a big shock to us as a family. We have never had any worries about the safety of Lindokuhle when travelling to school in that taxi in the past,” she said.
Other people expressed relief at the survival of their children and loved ones shortly after visiting them at the KwaMhlanga Hospital.
“I have just checked on my sister’s son. He seemed to be seriously injured but I hope he will speedily recover,” said Mamsy Mthombeni of Verena village.
African News Agency