One of the men responsible for the Worcester Christmas bombing in 1996 left one of his victims speechless when he gave her his Comrades medal at a special ceremony that he organised.
Olga Macingwane, 57, says she was unaware of the ceremony when Stephanus “Stefaans” Coetzee invited her two weeks ago to visit him in Klerksdorp.
Coetzee, who was only 17 at the time, and three other members of the Afrikaner Weersstandsbeweging detonated two bombs at a Shoprite and a pharmacy.
Olga was among the 67 injured. Both her legs were badly injured, and she needs to see a doctor monthly and can’t stand for long.
According to Olga, this was the first time she saw Stefaans since he was released on parole last year after serving nearly 19 years of his 40-year sentence for the bombing which claimed four lives, including that of a child.
After her arrival in Klerksdorp on September 23, the two spent time getting to know each other and sightseeing.
“Stefaans took me to lunch and we visited the gardens of the feeding project for children he is involved with. We also went to a museum before the church service where they preached about reconciliation,” she tells Daily Voice.
She got a shock when she and Stefaans, 38, were called to the stage and he handed her a frame containing his Comrades bronze medal and race number.
“We held each other and cried. I was speechless. I feel so honoured,” says Olga.
Olga was the first bombing victim to forgive Stefaans when she visited him in the Kgosi Mampuru II prison several years ago.
“I asked what he would give me if I forgave him and he said he had nothing to give me.
“But I never expected he would do this,” says Olga emotionally.
She reveals Stephanus once told her he wanted to run a marathon.
“After the ceremony he asked if I remembered that day. I am so happy because he fulfilled his dream,” says Olga.
Now she hopes Stefaans will be able to visit Worcester soon so they can spread the message of reconciliation together.
“He is already going out with churches to spread the message. I am so proud of him,” says Olga.
Stefaans said he treasures Olga’s forgiveness.