Tears flow at memorial for 6 family members killed in Easter Monday crash

2019-05-02 15:43
A picture in the foyer of the memorial service for the Pieterses and the Newmans. (Jenni Evans, News24)

A picture in the foyer of the memorial service for the Pieterses and the Newmans. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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More than 100 Harley Davidson riders have revved a thunderous farewell at the Plumstead Dutch Reformed Church memorial for Manna Newman and five members of his family who were killed in a head-on crash on Easter Monday.

Johan and Maria Pieterse, Manna Newman, Manna's mother Hazell, his wife Zelda, their daughter Chante Newman and their pet dog were killed on the R316 outside Napier in the Western Cape on April 22. 

Inside the packed church, with people standing against the wall and the balcony, Reverend Hannes Koegelenberg paid tribute to them as a family with a very strong bond who lived a full life with love.

He said they were on their way back from a break in Agulhas when tragedy struck. Manna had spoken to his daughter Marzelle who was at home, and had said they would see her later.

Marzelle's partner Armand had planned to ask her father for her hand in marriage on the evening of their return from the trip, but instead they got the shocking news of her family's passing.

"I'm still waiting for that Fortuner to stop at the house," said Marzelle though tears, as people in the congregation cried openly.

Koegelenberg said that he had sent a picture of the crucifix that survived the Notre Dame fire to Hazell on the day she died.

'Their word was true'

"She sent back a message, saying it was a miracle. And hours later she was dead," he said of the family that he described as being close to the church.

"Between us and death is just one step," said Koegelenberg.

Friends of the family choked back tears as they paid tribute to the family. Small packets of tissues were placed on the chairs with the programmes. 

Tim Booysen, on behalf of the Harley Davidson Free Chapter, said the family was deeply involved in charitable events, and had supported the club.

Manna was the assistant director and head road captain of their marshall team and was also on the board of the SA region of Free Chapters. 

"That was one family you could always count on. Their word was true.

"They always had time for the individual." 

Photographs of the deceased were enlarged and placed in the front of the church hall, with a huge arrangement of sunflowers in front of them. 

'Manna from heaven'

The Pieterses' moved into a new home just two months ago, and were looking forward to their retirement.

They had met in 1945, where they worked at Volkskas in Porterville.

They were married for almost 60 years.

"Who would have thought that they would only have two months' retirement there," said the reverend.

He told mourners that they named their son Michael "Manna" because he was born on Christmas day and so the Pieterses' considered him their "Manna from heaven".

He urged the congregation to give more time to their families and friends, as this family had done.

In the other vehicle, Rolf Roux and Jan Bitterhout died. Lionel Bitterhout is understood to be in a medically induced coma in hospital.

Their family of also attended the memorial.

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