Up to 80 people have been killed after an apparent attack in Nice on France’s national day. The driver of a truck ploughed into multiple people on a beachfront promenade on July 14, Bastille Day in France. The driver of that truck has been killed by French security forces
The horrific news that flooded our every turn where many lives were lost on a day aimed at unity and celebration. With French heritage rooted in the Town of Franschhoek I had mixed emotions over the weekend going into the “festive” promises of Franschhoek Bastille festival. Yet, to many, the occasion to celebrate this memorable event from 1789 would not to be a somber one but perhaps a day that “happily” remembered those lives lived & lost and the achievement of Freedom for many fore fathers and inevitably some of the families of Franschhoek.
Sadly, it is the monogamous martial relationship and mentality of many who believe that excessive drinking is synonymous with celebration that often take these events a little too far. It is no secret that statistically South Africans are ranked as one of the highest alcoholic consumption countries. That being said when events are created and liquor, wine in the winelands, is often the focal point, where does the “drink responsibly lie” adage fall flat?
Below is the dreadful story of Anthony Webb and his last moments after Franschhoek Bastille Festival this past weekend:
Tonight we were part of the traumatic accident that happened outside La Motte. It was a tragic situation of what looked like a drunk driver, which we were behind, overtaking the cars in front and hitting an oncoming motorbike, it was horrific. We had noticed the erratic driving so slowed down so we were not to close to the car ahead of us. The young person on the bike had no chance. The bike flew on fire like a petrol bomb and the body flew past us. We stopped and stayed with the young person. The point of this post is to bring up two points. Firstly and the least important, my horror that as I was shouting for people to stop and call help they carried on driving, what is wrong with the people in this country, the second is the lack of enforcement of control over drinking during the Bastille festival. I am no better than anyone but having seen the horrific situation We need more rigid policing of people driving during the festival and it needs to be enforced. Someone lost a loved one. The person driving made a choice but the festival should also be aware of the possibility of increased irresponsibility of patrons. I am a huge supporter of the festival and will Continue to be but there needs to be some sort of intervention by the organizers to balance profit and responsibility of visitors. I hope there are no other targets this weekend.
The post saw 44 varied posts, from inquisitive questions, strong sentiments against government and their lack of action after the rising death toll and finally the slight air of blame & shame that hung over Franschhoek Bastille Festival(the tented, licensed and paid for event) and as far as to say, it’s organizers. The latter is what intrigued me the most. Who is to blame/responsible? I go to the infamous soliloquy in the “Nunnery Scene” from Hamlet , “Ay, there’s the rub”
Do you believe that festivals which are some of the largest draws of tourism to small towns, Franschhoek especially should have more police and traffic department intervention? The one argument sees that these efforts will cripple tourism and whilst I might agree, it may also cripple the rising death toll and a LARGE biased income for certain individuals too. An example of the Trolley Problem, the moral (and selfishly financially) do you kill one to save many?
Does a Death, or fatality go un-noticed each year to spare the many live, jobs and businesses of Franschhoek locals or is something going to take the initiative to rectify the issue, to save a life?
Do organizers take a more aggressive role to inhibit consumption and ensure those attending leave at a safe limit or with a dedicated driver. When does the individual “Adults” responsibility fall onto that of those influencing him and contributing to the hazard?
Do we respond-he(the drunk driver) is an adult and should have known better and leave it there.
My aim as an indirect benefactor of the event would be to increase police presence to ensure that more individuals are conscious of the risks of over indulging. There is not enough money, debt or profit that out ways the life of another. I imagine guests would be more inclined to arrange shuttles, a driver or even accommodation to avoid the repercussions.
I would love to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter HERE
My sincere condolences go out to the Webb family, regardless of the political opinions and comments array on Facebook, a family is without their son, their brother and a friend. May his tragedy be a lesson, a beacon of light in a dark grey area in our community. May he be remembered!
Anyone with information please also contact Sergeant van der Berg at Franschhoek Police Station on 083 862 4636.