WATCH: Hoërskool Driehoek survivor takes first steps on new walkway

2019-05-06 15:55
Picture: Screen grab

Picture: Screen grab

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In a few small steps, a Hoërskool Driehoek pupil has taken a giant leap towards healing from the tragedy that claimed the lives of four of her fellow learners.

Cheverné Duvenage was among 22 children who were seriously injured when a concrete walkway collapsed at the Vanderbiljpark school in February. Four others - Roydon Olckers, Jandré Steyn, Marli Currie and Marnus Nagel – were killed.

Cheverné spent 53 days in hospital and has been in rehabilitation since to learn to walk again.  

In April, the school unveiled a newly-built bridge and, on Friday, 13-year-old Cheverné decided she was ready to face her fears.

Her grandmother, Ella Schlebusch Olwagen, captured Cheverné's emotional return to the school in a family video.

Holding hands with two friends and wearing a bright yellow sundress, a smiling Cheverné is seen walking with a slight limp. But after she ascends the stairs, she almost turns back before her grandmother encourages her to walk on.

Olwagen said her granddaughter's legs were shaking with nerves as she took the first tentative steps on the new walkway.

"Her legs felt a bit weak, but she was happy she did it," Olwagen told News24.

"She talks about it a lot… she knows what happened, she talks about it and is coming to terms with it. Emotionally, she is doing well."

Olwagen said Cheverné has been receiving "fantastic" support from her friends at the school. Some come over in the afternoons to help her catch up with school work. There's even been an argument about who will get to help her carry her school bag when she eventually returns, since she can't manage the weight.

But, even though the family has made much progress, Olwagen said the tragedy still haunts them.

"It was terrible. My daughter and I talked about it the other day… it feels like a movie that played out in front of me. I honestly don't know how we got through it."

Read more on:    gauteng  |  education

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