• June 4th, 2020

Victims of road accidents share traumatic experiences as they call for road safety this Easter

Aletta Shikololo

WINDHOEK – Namibia is said to have the highest road accident rates in Africa and is ranked 45th on road deaths in the world, which makes the risk of driving very high in this country. 

New Era spoke to three survivors of motor vehicle accidents,  who described their experiences as traumatic and life-changing.

Paulus Leonard, a 67-year old businessperson from Omusati region, has been in the Spinalis Spinal Cord Injury Unit (SCI) at the Windhoek Central Hospital for one month. Relating his ordeal, he said the vehicle he was driving overturned after hitting a cow at around 21H00 one evening in March in the Oshikuku area. Lying on his bed, Leonard who was visibly in pain, said he is unable to move his fractured neck.

“The accident was caused by another driver, who refused to dim his headlights and I couldn’t see clearly till I lost control over my car and hit the cow, which was crossing the road. The cow died on the spot and my car overturned,” narrated Leonard, who said he could barely move any part of his body when he was first admitted in hospital. 
“I am still unable to walk even though I can now move a little bit,” added Leonard. 

He said some accidents happen because of drivers’ negligence but some occur because of reasons beyond human control. Considering that Namibia has one of the best roads in Africa, Leonard urged Namibians to respect each other on the road, adding that the accident not only caused him physical pain but his business was drastically affected as he cannot run it from his hospital bed. He is the owner of several minimarkets in northern Namibia. 

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Ndapanda Anghuwo from Outapi in the Omusati region, who was pursuing first -year tertiary education at the time that she was involved in an accident that nearly took her life in 2017, reminisced on how she almost lost her life.  Anghuwo does not remember much what transpired on the night of the accident, however, she remembers finding herself in hospital.  

“I don’t remember where the accident happened. But I remember waking up in the morning with a broken leg, which was severely crashed to an extent that it was almost amputated. I am glad my family members and orthopedic doctors were able to save my leg,” said Anghuwo, who plans to go back to school next year.  
Everyday, Anghuwo said, she is reminded by her current circumstances of who she is and was before the accident happened. 

She further told New Era that even though the accident has changed her life drastically, she will not give up on her talent of dancing because she believes that nothing can deter her from pursuing her dreams. 

“I used to hang out with my friends and visiting them often but things have changed. I now spend most of my time in my room. At least I have time to rebuild my relationship with God, and to be comfortable with who I am and the changes I have learned to adapt to. I knew how to pray and I knew why I used to pray but this time I pray as the ultimate end in itself. It felt as though I was in a battle for my soul, my life, my existence, and my future,” the tearful Anghuwo related.
Like Leonard, Anghuwo opined that distracted drivers are culprits in most road accidents in the country, resulting in a high number of crashes every year. “My plea is for drivers to be focused and cautious while driving to reduce accidents this Easter,” Anghuwo pleaded. 

Her message to “reckless drivers” was simple: “driving recklessly can instantly destroy people’s lives in a blink of an eye”.
She also added: “I personally think drivers should start driving defensively and not safely. They should be ready for what other drivers around them can do and to expect the unexpected and always be prepared to avoid potential accidents.”
New Era also visited Uakahembua Tjisuta, a 28-year old victim of a hit-and-run accident. Speaking from the Spinalis SCI Unit where he is receiving medical attention, including physiotherapy, Tjisuta said he did not see the accident happening.

“I was trying to determine the problem with my car when the accident happened,” related the soft-spoken Tjisuta from Orupembe village, which is located about 23 kilometres south of Opuwo in the Kunene region. He was hit from behind. 
The accident happened in February and Tjisuta is wheelchair bound. “I am undergoing physiotherapy and if I walk again that will be my luck if not then I will be wheelchair bound,” said the father of four, who explained that the hospital staff did not tell him if he would walk again. 

An emotional Tjisuta urged people to adhere to road safety regulations this Easter, as this would reduce the risk of endangering themselves and other road users. 

“How can I be okay if I’m bound to a wheelchair? I’m far from home and have not had people visit me. I only communicate with my family through the phone calls,” added Tjisuta.

Tjisuta says he cannot provide for his four children who are with his family in the Kunene region and he feels deprived that he cannot do what he normally would do to fend for himself and his family. 
The United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) local security assistant for Namibia, Johnny Katzao, said in a recent report that road safety in Namibia is a matter of concern compared to other countries globally.   

New Era Reporter
2019-04-18 09:55:20 | 1 years ago

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