Legacy of Swedish volunteer killed in Table View lives on

(Aksel Otterbeck, Facebook)
(Aksel Otterbeck, Facebook)

Cape Town – The family of a Swedish teenager who was killed while volunteering in South Africa are making sure his legacy lives on in the country.

Aksel Otterbeck, 19, was killed and five foreign nationals were injured when a Blouberg motorist knocked the group down in Table View in December last year.

His death shook not only his family and friends, but also those who had got to know him in the short time he was in Cape Town. Those he had touched vowed to raise money for projects in his honour.

He had been a volunteer for the educational charity SAVE Foundation, helping out at the school it ran in Dunoon, Table View.

Foundation manager Gail Strauss said he embodied what a volunteer should be – compassionate, creative, charismatic, and generous.

The lanky teen had been popular with the children. They loved to huddle around him and play with his long, dark hair.

"He dreamed of one day becoming a Nobel Prize-winning scientist and opening a restaurant in Cape Town where volunteers could eat for free," she said.

It is understood that Otterbeck, and volunteers from countries including Holland, Israel, Denmark and Sweden, had been walking along Arum Road at night when they were struck.

aksel otterbeck table view
Aksel Otterbeck with the children he met while volunteering. (Supplied)

Table View police said an eyewitness saw a vehicle speeding along the road moments before it ploughed into the pedestrians. Paramedics tried to save Otterbeck, but he died at the scene.

The driver, Darrel Kevin Fouter, 28, who lived nearby, was arrested and immediately taken to have his blood tested for alcohol.

Otterbeck’s family recently visited the country to see some of the project sites he worked on. They wanted to determine where the money raised in his memory might best be spent.

Strauss said the first project was to complete a new roof for the school where he worked.

The second was to build a first-aid medical clinic next to a school run by the foundation in a more rural settlement outside Cape Town.

"Hopefully, more funds could be raised to build a new school for local children," said Aksel’s father, Jesper.

Thanks to the generosity of his family, over R125 000 had already been raised online.

Fouter, out on R5 000 bail, would be back in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on May 9 to face charges of culpable homicide, reckless or negligent driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol. 

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