The tragedy occurred on Sunday June 19 2016, on the Natal and Joly Street, Yeoville ,neigbourhood, Johannesburg, South Africa.
A store keeper who sold airtime few minutes to the incredible Cameroonian film producer and sound engineer, Djoyum Djoyou Bertrand popularly known within press circles in Cameroon as Bertrand Santini explained on June 21.His shop is in front of the accident scene with the area reportedly an accident prone zone.
“He (Santini) just bought airtime from me and left the shop. As he crossed the road, a car on top speed hit him.
He fell in front of my shop and was not making any movement. We even believed he had died. The ambulance came minutes later and ferried him to the Johannesburg Central hospital,” he said.
|STORE KEEPER IN BLUE PULL OVER EXPLAINS|
Other witnesses are reported to have caused the lady who hit Santini who was heading to church, to follow the ambulance to the hospital. She is later identified simply as a Pastor at the Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church in Berea, a neighboohood which shares boundaries with Yeoville.
It is only on Monday June 20 that another eyewitness contacted this reporter on facebook to announce Santini’s accident.
The Chairman of the African Diaspora Forum, (ADF) a Non-Profit Organisation or NGO which defends the rights of migrants and encourages social cohesion is contacted.
Bertrand Santini was a voluntary worker at ADF since he relocated from Cameroon just seven months ago. The Cameroonian community in Johannesburg and Santini’s family in Cameroon is also informed.
|INDICATING SPOT ON WHICH SANTINI LAY|
ADF Chairman Marc Gbaffou rushes to hospital and reported that Santini was in a comma, his brain was not functioning and that the Doctors were seeing very little chances of him surviving.
This information is confirmed same day at 10 PM by Seraphin Kegne one of the leaders of the Cameroonian community in Johannesburg who doubles as the 1st Vice President of the Cameroonian opposition party, Social Democratic Front, SDF SA .
2:00 PM, Tuesday June 21 2016, Santini who has been under life support for three days, dies at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Central Hospital.
EMERGENCY MEETING / WAKE KEEP FIXED FOR JULY 1, 2016
An emergency meeting took place between members of the Cameroonian Community, ADF officials and Staff and Santini’s friends .
It was decided that the night vigil with corpse takes place on July 1 2016 at the Church Hall of St Francis Catholic Church Yeoville (43 Cavendish Road).
The Cameroonian owned catering service; LANSM Events Ltd opted to do the arrangement of the Hall as its own to support .
The agreement was that time was needed to get some paper work done at the Cameroonian embassy for the repatriation of the mortal remains and that there was need for funds to be generated for the purpose.
|L-R: MILTON TAKA, MARC GBAFFOU|
Santini’s corpse was finally transported to the Phoenix Funeral Home in Yeoville. It was also agreed that the Pastor at the origin of the accident be heard and for responsibilities to be established.
ENTER PASTOR SOPHIA AND CONTROVERSIES
After making several attempts at getting to Pastor Sophia through the phone number she gave witnesses who followed the injured Santini to hospital, ADF Chair Marc Gbaffou, the Communication officer of ADF,
Sir Johnson Emeka and this reporter visited the Pastor’s Church at about 4:30 PM, June 22. The Pastor’s real telephone number is made available.
|AT FUNERAL HOME|
It is on phone on that Wednesday, (4 days after the incident) that Marc Gbaffou informed her that Santini passed away. She promised to make herself available on Thursday June 23 but never showed up.
There is the belief that if no witness trailed her, Bertrand Santini would have simply passed on and maybe buried by local authorities since the Pastor never visited hospital after accompanying him there!
|SANTINI @ ADF/FRENCH EMBASSY EVENT|
On Friday June 24 two Pastors visited the ADF office on her behalf. A meeting is held between another leader of the Cameroonian community, Milton Taka, who doubles as the Chairman of SDF SA, Marc Gbaffou and ADF officials .
The two Pastors quoted the Pastor (Sophia) as saying Santini was hit while he ran on the streets. The Pastors added that someone had visited her home to threaten her with a gun, without any precision as to who and when.
|AT AN ADF SOCIAL COHESION EVENT|
A furious Milton Taka quipped that they need explanations from the horses’ mouth and that everyone was shocked by the declarations from the clergy men. He added that the ADF and Cameroonian community are still worried and want to know what happened amid plans to repatriate the mortal remains of Bertrand Santini to Cameroon. Many were not at all comfortable with what the Pastors declared. An appointment to meet Pastor Sophia has been scheduled for the days ahead.
Meanwhile this reporter was reached by a detective of the Yeoville police station who requested that Santini’s family brings his post mortem results for a case (docket) to be opened. This reporter was also informed that the Pastor might have not reported herself to the police after the incident. The Metro police had however opened a case.
At the time of filing in this report, the ADF Chair and the Cameroonian community are mobilizing towards a befitting funeral for Bertrand Santini.
PS: Bertrand Santini relocated to South Africa in late November 2015. As a professional producer and sound engineer, he joined the African Diaspora Forum, ADF and did most of the ICT work. He created the ADF blog as well as the blog on which you are reading this story.
|FEW MONTHS INTO SA|
Santini was able to carve a nitch for himself by
editing work for several Johannesburg residents. He covered the entire Africa Diaspora Hope, an NGO football tournament as well as the Cameroon Diaspora Black Friday Movement, CBFDM, protest at the Cameroon Embassy in Pretoria.
Santini was the main producer of a weekly French Program on the Voice of Wits University Radio Station, an ADF and French Embassy project.
This reporter worked closely with Santini for almost 10 years, from Douala Cameroon to South Africa, where he spent months with him on his arrival. He is an intelligent hardworking person who will do all to deliver. His death looks like a dream. Santini is married and has five children. RIP brother, comrade and friend. Je ne t’oubliarais jamais combatant! Que Dieu te garde. Tu ma vraiement touche Mola!
TRIBUTES TO SANTINI
Comrade Santini, the veteran Techno journalist from Cameroon who had spent just 7 months here was very hopeful of life in SA & could always be counted on every time we mobilized to fight for a better Cameroon.Brother, RIP.
Milton Taka, SDF Chair in SA, CBFDM Coordinator
May Almighty Lord receive his soul. A regrettable loss to our struggle. May the Lord comfort his family.The bible says in 1 Thessalonian 5:18. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of Christ, Jesus. We give thanks to God Almighty for the life of our brother Santini on earth, his commitments and contribution to our struggle. He will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Mbah Francis, Johannesburg
This is so shocking to us all and its terrible. Comrade Bertrand Santini rest in Peace.
|SANTINI ENJOYING LAST MACDONALDS|
Lumumba Chia, Cape Town
Cde Santini was a true fighter who sacrificed day in day out to get out messages for freedom in Cameroon out to the world. He was humble, dedicated, and trusting. At this very sad, sad, sad moment let us give thanks to God for Him alone knows why.
Roland Chebefuh, SDF SA SG
Santini died fighting for our freedom. I will never forget his good humor and struggles for a better Cameroon even with his most limited resources following his few months in SA . My total respect to you Comrade Santini. It's too painful but we must be courageous and carry on .Rest in Peace Brother.
Sir Abotoky Abotoky, Free thinker, Johannesburg
Death is really cruel. We were joking on Thursday at Wits (Radio) and I was supposed to meet with him this week. Oh my photography and video man. LANSM Events Company will miss you. RIP Bro until we meet again.
Comrade Mrs Nkamankeng, CEO LANSM Events
My condolences to all ADf members. If anyone remembers, on Friday last week after work in the office, Santini decided to stay back alone in the office, saying he was finishing some work. May you rest in peace brother. All your close friends are inconsolable.
Dali, ADF Staff