There are some wounds time doesn’t heal. No one knows that better than Brenda Nyman, of Brackenfell, whose 14-year-old son died in a car crash.
It’s been 16 years since that hot summer night on Saturday February 9 2002 when Lee Nyman was killed on Vanguard Drive, but the pain of his loss is undiminished for his mother.
“Everyone would try giving you comforting words, saying it will all get better with time, but it doesn’t. It was very hurtful back then, and it still is today,” she says.
Ms Nyman was volunteering at the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service’s mobile donation clinic in the Fairbridge Mall parking lot last week.
She handed out flyers and helped people fill out forms so they could donate blood.
Ms Nyman is a member of South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD), which, together with the blood bank, has been running a campaign to get more people to donate blood ahead of the festive season – a time when the country’s roads become even more perilous than they usually are.
There were several blood drives across Cape Town at the weekend – including N1 City Mall – as part of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, on Sunday, November 18.
Ms Nyman joined Sadd after Lee was killed. The driver of the car Lee was in lost control of the vehicle, causing a collision with three other cars. Two family friends were also hurt in the crash.
While Ms Nyman still grapples with Lee’s death, she says her work with Sadd, and “extensive counselling”, has made her stronger.
Sadd was started by Caro Smit to tackle drunk and dangerous driving in South Africa. It also supports families who have lost loved ones on the roads.
Ms Smit knows exactly how that feels – her son, Chas, lead guitarist of the band, Plush, was killed in a drinking-and-driving incident in 2005.
“Over the festive season, many people lose their lives on the roads, and mainly due to loss of blood when involved in an accident. Getting our communities to donate blood can help save lives,” said Ms Smit.