A charity walk to raise funds for the Manenberg community ended in tragedy when one of the volunteers was struck by a car and died on the scene.
Maruwaan Scullard, who had turned 21 a week before, volunteered to join Manenberg community activist Jonathan Peter Jansen on a 60-day walk from Johannesburg to Cape Town to raise money to start a mentoring programme for young people of the gang- and drug-troubled area.
Mr Scullard had been off drugs for a year and a half and that was his motivation to take part in the campaign: to be an example to other young drug addicts.
But in a devastating turn of events, a car crashed into him while the team was on a lunch break on Friday September 2. Mr Scullard was killed.
Mr Jansen, who had been standing behind their stationary support vehicle, jumped out of the way but landed in a ditch.
He sustained abdominal injuries and is in a serious condition in hospital. Mr Jansen and Mr Scullard’s friend, Jaryd Jooste, who was following them in a support vehicle, said they would’ve taken more than 1.7-million steps during their trek from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
Mr Jooste was also hit and is in hospital.
The group started their journey on Thursday in Hillbrow where they were joined by resident, Nigel Bracken, who, when he heard about the initiative, offered to help.
“Myself and other Hillbrow residents rallied behind the guys and bought them supplies, but not only that, we decided we’d walk with them and encourage them along the way,” said Mr Bracken who witnessed the incident.
“It was their second day and at around 12.45pm, they decided to stop for a quick lunch break in Sebokeng, a township in southern Gauteng,” Mr Bracken explained.
The team’s support car had been parked behind the yellow line of the road, under a bridge.
“The guys were all standing behind the car and eating their lunch while talking and laughing when all of a sudden a vehicle swerved into the yellow lane, speeding towards us. We jumped out of the way, but unfortunately Maruwaan was hit full on and died,” Mr Bracken said before a long pause.
“We all just feel broken,” he said.
Mr Bracken said the driver of the car which crashed into theirs appeared horrified, but was not hurt.
Mr Jansen and Mr Jooste were transported to Sebokeng Hospital.
Sarah Portel, who is the housemother of the Recovery Home in Manenberg, where Mr Scullard was helped with his drug problem, yesterday flew his parents to Johannesburg to initiate plans to bring his body back home.
“We’ve all been so proud of him because he’d been off drugs for a year and a half,” Ms Portel said on Saturday September 3.
In a Facebook video posted earlier on Friday, Mr Scullard said: “I’m excited! We can do this.”
Manenberg community leader Roegshanda Pascoe described him as a hero.
“He didn’t just talk, he was actually doing something which was meant to benefit his community.”