'Brave lawn man' from Free State causes social media storm

2017-06-07 05:20
A picture of the tornado. (Supplied, Cecilia Wessels)

A picture of the tornado. (Supplied, Cecilia Wessels)

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Cape Town - A South African-born man living in Canada made international headlines after a picture of him calmly mowing his lawn during a tornado caused a storm on social media over the weekend.

The picture - called a definition of "this is fine" by some - shows Theunis Wessels calmly mowing his lawn while a huge tornado was spinning in the background. 

Although this seemed a brave show by Wessels, his daughter was not impressed, and out of fear for the danger her father was facing, the 9-year-old ran to the house to wake her mother.

When Cecilia, Wessels's wife, rushed out to see what was happening, he reportedly said, "Everything is OK". 

"My daughter was very scared, but we could calm her down when we mentioned aspects like there was no wind at our home, no alarms had gone off and that it has been moving past us pretty fast," said Cecilia Wessels.

She later posted Wessels's picture on her Facebook account, saying, "My beast mowing the lawn with a breeze in his hair." The picture has attracted lots of media attention and the couple has since been interviewed by notable publications.

Cecilia Wessels told News24 that Wessels felt that mowing the lawn before it rained was a good idea, and not even a raging tornado could stop him from doing so. 

"Theunis actually started mowing the lawn earlier the afternoon when the weather forecast showed cloudy. He felt that cutting it before the rain would help promote it growing better.

"The tornado started forming quite a distance away from us and Theunis kept an eye on it and its path. 

"By the time I took the picture, he was basically finishing off with the lawn and it was just my luck that I could take the shot."

Although the storm was moving away at the time the picture was taken, it sparked mixed views, with some admiring his apparent bravery and others saying that it was a dangerous move as he could have been struck by lightning.

'Fond memories'

Cecilia Wessels says this was their first experience seeing a tornado, adding that they are only used to the Free State's whirlwind. 

"We were actually quite astounded by this beautiful and fearful thing. It was our very first experience with a tornado, because as you know we only know the Vrystaat se warrelwinde [Free State's whirlwind], which is a breeze compared to Cape Town," she said.

"We moved to Canada in 2007 for work. My husband is originally from Theunissen in the Free State and I'm from Hartswater, Northern Cape. We both have fond memories of our home country and come to visit on a yearly basis. 

"Our children love the atmosphere, the food and the sun of South Africa; not to mention the beaches! It is wonderful to have been raised in South Africa."

Read more on:    free state  |  canada  |  weather  |  social media

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