“I was disorientated and I wanted to get up, but my mother told me I couldn’t, my leg was gone…”
Almost four months after Johann Steenkamp (41) was left for dead on the road after a hit-and-run accident in Hartbeespoort on 10 March, he opened up about his journey from fury to acceptance after losing a leg and having his arm crushed when a speeding vehicle crashed into him.
Johan was driving home from work on his scooter shortly before 20:00 on the fateful night when a vehicle, that according to eye witnesses was racing another vehicle near the MTB fuel station on the R511 in Schoemansville, overtook and hit Johan head-on.
“According to fuel attendants, the two vehicles raced away without slowing down. My leg was severed during the impact. I was left unconscious on the road.”
Johan was rushed to hospital in a critical condition and only regained consciousness in the intensive care unit three days later. “I remember waking up in the Kalafong Hospital not knowing where I was and how I got there. My parents rushed to the hospital when they heard I was awake. I wanted to get up and my mother said I couldn’t. When I asked her why, she told me my I had lost my leg. I cannot describe the feeling when I lifted the blankets and saw the stump that used to be my right leg. Life stood still…”
On top of it, Johan’s right arm was crushed and doctor’s feared he might have lost the use of his arm. “In fact, they told me that they initially thought I would not survive.”
“I was in a dark place. I was furious, depressed, rebellious and full of aggression. I couldn’t make sense of it. The doctors were wonderful. I remember my doctor telling me that if I look after myself, my arm might be saved. He helped me during these dark days, encouraging me and giving me hope. I spent 84 days in hospital and as I lay there, I had lots of time to think. It was a slow process, but eventually I had to accept what had happened to me. My arm got better and the doctor said I might regain full use of it. I had to have skin transplants on the arm. I realised I was alive and that I do have a life ahead of me.”
Johann finally went home to his parents in Skeerpoort near the end of May. “It is not easy. I am in a wheelchair and my arm is still full of rods. Moving around is difficult and I have my dark days, but my parents cheer me up and give me hope. I have come to a point where I can even joke about my leg sometimes. I told my mother the other day that my stump resembles one of these entrance booms when I move it,” he laughs.
“I realise I cannot allow myself to lose hope, but this is a shock to body and soul. I don’t know what my life will be like in the future. I was an active person. I did construction work and I liked hiking and climbing the mountain. The pins in my arm will hopefully be removed soon and as soon as my wound on my remaining piece of leg is healed, a prosthesis will be fitted. I will then have to see what I can do. But I am grateful that my arm was saved and that I am alive.”
Johann has no income now and his parents are pensioners. “We try to scrape by. It is not always easy to pay rent, but we manage. We have now claimed from the Road Accident Fund and hope for the best.”
There is one thing that he cannot get out of his mind, he says. And that is that the two motorists who shattered his life, have not come forward. “What kind of person does this? How could they just race away?”
According to video footage, witnesses and police statements at the time, the two speeding vehicles were suspected to be a white Audi and a silver BMW.
Although the future is unknown, he has a dream. If my claim is paid out, I would like to open a small restaurant so that we have an income. “With the help of God and my parents, I will get through this.”
The police are still looking for eyewitnesses who might have seen the accident and may identify the vehicles that were involved in the accident. If you have information, please call the Hartbeespoort police.