Eveline de Klerk Walvis Bay – A brave woman, who has become an instant internet hit after a recording of her saving an 8-month-old baby boy from potential danger at an accident scene went viral, says her actions were expected of any mother. The 35-year-old Tulonga Neputa, a senior internal auditor at the Roads Fund Administration (RFA), chose not to be an onlooker at the scene where five people, including the baby’s grandfather, died in a freak accident on Thursday afternoon. Neputa, who has since received praise and accolades after a video of her act went viral on social media, rushed to the aid of the baby named Dex, who was profusely crying in his seat as other occupants of the two vehicles that crashed lay dead. Neputa, herself a mother of two boys, was travelling with her colleagues to Walvis Bay for the annual state-owned enterprises (SOEs) sports day, when they arrived at the accident scene between Okahandja and Windhoek. A BMW sedan and an Amarok pick-up collided head-on, killing four people instantly, while the fifth person died while being transported to hospital. Dex’s grandfather, Frank Joachim Heger, and his farm worker who is yet to be identified, died in the accident. They were travelling in the Amarok. The occupants of the BMW were identified as Nicodemus Iiyambo, Tanzanian national Eric Patson Mbango and another whose name was not released. Neputa on Friday told New Era at Walvis Bay that Dex was crying in the middle of the road alone, despite the fact that a few people had already arrived at the scene before them. “At that instant I knew I could not become another onlooker and that the baby clearly needed to be comforted. As soon as our bus stopped I rushed over to him, although my colleagues were advising me not to do so as the wreckage of the Amarok he was next to might have caught fire,” she explained. As she stormed out of her vehicle, a colleague started firming her acts – which included rushing to the wreckage, picking up Dex and his bag, before returning to their bus. The video went viral with thousands of Namibians applauding her for defying the odds and coming to the aid of Dex. “I am not a hero but a mother whose motherly instincts kicked in. I knew that we are not supposed to touch or move anyone that was involved in an accident until paramedics or police arrive,” she said. “However in this case my maternal instincts took over and I could just not stand by and watch him cry alone in the middle of the road,” the soft-spoken Neputa told New Era on Friday. According to Neputa, Dex was clearly in distress and also bleeding from his nose and mouth. “He held on to me so tight when I lifted him up from his chair and I rubbed his little back, cleaned the blood as I also checked his body for any other injuries. A few minutes later, he stopped crying despite being in pain. He was such a brave boy despite being the only survivor of the horrific accident.” She stayed with him until paramedics arrived and took over from her. Her only wish now is that Dex, who injured his arm during the accident, makes a full recovery. “I hope he grows into a strong young man despite the ordeal that robbed him of his grandfather,” she said. She also appealed to Namibians to rather see how they can assist during accident scenes instead of videotaping such accidents. “We should be focused on helping others, not making videos. Fame is not everything. It is more rewarding to contribute to someone’s safety,” she said. Although Neputa has been shrugging off the ‘heroine’ tag, the State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Forum, which hosts sports games annually amongst its members, on Saturday renamed its Chairman Award – accorded to teams or individuals who have shown resilience, team spirit and commitment during the annual games – as the Tulonga Neputa Award. Neputa was also rewarded with a free weekend stay at NWR’s Popa Falls resort and a free flight to and from there. She also received an unspecified amount of money to spend during her weekend away.
New Era Reporter
2018-06-11 09:08:51 10 months ago