Woman who lost her family in car crash finds new love

Lunelle and Johann Viljoen. (PHOTO: Supplied)
Lunelle and Johann Viljoen. (PHOTO: Supplied)

It’s been two years since the unthinkable happened to Lunelle Kotzee. On 3 January 2018 her fiancé, his two young children and her teenage son died in a car accident while travelling home from a seaside holiday.

Now, Lunelle has found new love and is looking to the future.

She still misses and mourns the loss of Danie, Melisha and Duncan Breytenbach, and her son, Luan. Lunelle was the only survivor of the horrific crash as she’d been wearing a seatbelt.

“My new motto in life is not to put a question mark where God put a full stop. It’s tough accepting His will but I work at it every day,” Lunelle tells YOU.  

About a year ago she got a second chance at love when she met Johann Viljoen. He’s helping her not to dwell on the past and get mired down in pain.

“I wasn’t looking for it at all – not in the least. But Johann came into my life and he’s exactly right for me,” she says.

Johann, a fitness instructor, provides emotional support, she adds.

Lunelle and Johann Viljoen. (PHOTO: Supplied)

“He lets me cry when I need to, and laugh when I need to laugh. I told my sisters if I ever met someone knew, he shouldn’t have children – and Johann doesn’t. I can’t . . . My heart couldn’t bear it again,” she says.

Melisha (4) and Duncan (8) had been like her own children, Lunelle explains.

“Every time I do my makeup, I think of Melisha. She loved makeup and wanted to do her own. She used to say she wanted to look like me,” Lunelle says.

But the greatest loss to her is Luan (16). She’s made a special memorial corner for him in her home in Heidelberg, Gauteng. On the third of each month, she lights a candle in memory of her only biological child.

Lunelle and Johann Viljoen. (PHOTO: Supplied)

“There are days when it’s still very tough but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I’d never have survived the past two years if it hadn’t been for my family,” Lunelle tells us.

Her family suffered a second tragedy last year when Lunelle’s mother, Nellie Lourens, died suddenly. A stomach ulcer had burst, causing septic shock.

“That was terribly hard. We’ve been through two very difficult years – so 2020 can only be better.

“This morning, when I saw my psychologist, we spoke about this time of year,” she says. “It’s incredibly hard for me. But I’m hopeful and I look to God for strength.”

She says the pain of losing her son will never go away. “But I know my mom and Luan are looking down on us from heaven. At least they’re together – that eases [the pain in] my heart.”


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