Stand proud South Africans – we are special

Written by Mike Chandler

newn1mAfter Dawie Roodt’s letter of last week, which, in many ways, combines both the good and the bad of our land I thought you’d like to read a letter written by visiting Brits who had a serious car accident in a remote part of the Karroo. It made me proud to be a South African, I hope it does the same for you

Letter of Thanks – Country Life, September 2015

This is a letter of appreciation to and for the people who helped us after my wife Debbie and I were involved in a serious car accident while visiting South Africa from the UK.

We were travelling between Kenhardt and Marydale on the R383 when our vehicle lost traction on the gravel and overturned.

It took us over an hour to get out.

newn1My wife had a large laceration on her left arm and had broken her shoulder and we were on this remote road with no cellphone signal.

Our despair changed when a bakkie screeched to a halt and a young couple jumped out to help us.

From this point on we saw a side of South Africans that’s never talked about or reported in newspapers.  We found ourselves among ordinary people going out of their way to help total strangers in their time of need.

• This thank you is for the couple who rushed us to the nearest village and then organised the recovery of our car and our belongings scattered on the road.

• This thank you is for the nurse at the Primer Gesondheids Kliniek in Marydale, who gave us first aid on her day off while the ambulance came from Prieska.

• This thank you is for the staff at the Bill Pickard Hospital in Prieska, who did the best they could with the resources they had and then spent an hour on the phone to other hospitals as far away as Upington, Bloemfontein and Kimberley, till they found one with the facilities and surgeons who could treat our injuries, particularly my wife’s.

• This thank you is for the Prieska ambulance driver who drove us 250Km to Kimberley when there was a delay in getting an ambulance from Kimberley to us.

• This thank you is for the staff at Mediclinic Gariep who patched us up and,

• Finally we don’t know who to thank for the following, but a few days after we were admitted to the Mediclinic, a package arrived for us.  Inside was a tiger’s eye bracelet and a card that read: ‘We heard about your accident.  We wish you a more fortunate stay in South Africa.  Get well soon.”

Total strangers reaching out a hand of compassion.  Something you don’t see happening too much in the world these days, but it’s alive and well in South Africa.

Dankie aan elkeen van julle vir al jul help in vriendelikheid (Thank you to everyone for your help and friendliness). [edited].

Mike Chandler, via email to