Budding filmmaker dies

2010-01-18 00:00

TALENTED young local filmmaker, musician, occasional crime-buster and lay-preacher in the Methodist Church, Bruce Grobler, has been tragically killed in a car accident en route to Cape Town at the weekend.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, his mother Judy said that Grobler had overnighted at a friend’s home in Bloemfontein. Shortly after setting off early in the morning, his car was struck by a truck and trailer which had crossed onto his side of the road at 6 am. Grobler, who was to turn 22 tomorrow, died instantly.

Judy said police had speculated that the truck driver may have fallen asleep.

“He was going to Cape Town to try and find accommodation and look for work in the film industry.”

Judy said the family had been anxious after not hearing from him during Saturday morning and finding that they could not reach him on his cellphone. At 11 am they were told of the accident.

The devastated mother said her son had been so grateful for the support of locals who had helped him raise over R3 000 for the Ubuntu Children’s Home from the screening of his film Wounded.

“As a result of that, a 30-year-old relative spent Christmas morning at the Ubuntu home handing out gifts, so Bruce’s action sparked others to help too.”

Judy spoke of her son’s devout Christian beliefs and said that during a sermon at the Prestbury Methodist Church last Sunday, he had revealed that 2009 had been a “very tough” year for him. “He said he had seen the hand of God in his life.”

Judy also paid tribute to Grobler’s love of spontaneous action.

“On Thursday last week he got a group of his friends together and they had a party without alcohol, just cake and chips, on the Athlone traffic circle, playing soccer and frisbee until 1 am. That’s my son. So he said goodbye to everyone before he left.”

Tearful at times, Judy described how she believed her son would have done very well in Cape Town and his future career endeavours because he believed in himself and had determination. “But God had other plans.”

She cited the time he took to the streets with a signboard to raise money for the making of his student project film last year.

Grobler made headlines last year too after he chased a suspected thief, resulting in the thief’s arrest.

He had seen a man who looked like he was trying to steal something from Grobler’s car. “He ran off and got into his car [and] I decided to chase after him,” said Grobler at the time.

A number of police cars eventually joined the chase, which ended in Pentrich Road when the suspect rolled his car and was arrested. “In his car they found a stolen radio. The car didn’t even belong to him,” Grobler had added.

In another incident, he caught a car thief who stole his late grandfather’s bakkie from his family home. Judy said her son had chased the suspect, who damaged Grobler’s car in the getaway attempt. Grobler then crashed into the suspect’s car and tussled with him in the Slangspruit river when he tried to escape, holding him until the police arrived. “The police eventually arrested the man, but he had bitten Bruce on the hand.”

“You can complain about crime or you can do something about it,” Grobler told The Witness last year. He added that he would be willing to become a police reservist. “It was the most exciting thing I have ever experienced.”

Grobler was also known for having played as bass guitarist in a Christian band, As Flames Purify.

Judy Grobler said no funeral arrangements have yet been finalised, but these would be published in the newspaper this week.

Besides his mother, Grobler leaves his father Andre and brother Lloyd.

He attended Carter High School and Prestbury Junior School.

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