‘Angel’ appears in family’s funeral photograph

2011-01-05 00:00

WEPENER — An “angel” image which appears on a family photo taken after the death of a 10-year-old boy has brought closure and comfort “in this very difficult time”.

Ruan van der Berg died after an asthma attack last Wednesday and was buried three days later on his family’s farm, Pharosfontein, in the Wepener district.

His father, Pieter, says the photo was taken on the farm on the evening of Ruan’s funeral.

A bright image “of an angel” can be seen on the top right of the photo.

Rentia van der Berg, Ruan’s mother, said before the burial she was “hysterical”.

“I couldn’t sleep, but after I saw the photo I slept like a baby. That was my Ruantjie saying he was part of us.”

She said Ruan knew he was going to die on the day of his death

“GJ, Ruan’s older brother, and I were sitting in the kitchen. Ruan was in the lounge at the TV. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him disappear into his bedroom with his asthma pump.

“When he came into the kitchen a little while later, his eyes were red from crying.

“He said to me, ‘Mommy, I am going to die’.”

Ruan was not gasping for breath like he had when he had his first asthma attack years ago, but “when he again said he was going to die, I think he knew”.

He had suffered from asthma since he was a year old.

Ruan’s father said he was working on his farm on the tractor when his wife called him. At first he did not hear his cellphone.

“The tractor suddenly began smoking inexplicably. I switched it off and only then heard my phone ringing.”

The photo with the strange image has got the Van der Berg family and their friends talking. Many people believe it is an angel.

Peet Katzke, a family friend who has seen the picture, said he believes the image is real. “No one can really explain the vision.”

Charl Devenish, chief photographer with the Bloemfontein daily Volksblad, believes the “angel” image could be the result of the camera’s flash reflecting off something like a moth. Witness photographer Ian Carbutt concurs.

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