Beach safety project on a roll

The Hout Bay community has rallied around a popular Imizamo Yethu man whose bakkie was stolen a fortnight ago.

SheehamaOnesmushas become a popular figure among business owners making use of his furniture removal services, but on the morning of Sunday October 21, his world turned upside down when he woke to find his bakkie gone from outside his home in Steve Biko Street. “I had gone to the BP garage to buy bread and milk, and then parked my bakkie outside my house before I went to sleep. When I came outside at about 8am, I saw it was gone. My first thought was if I had left the key in the bakkie,” Mr Onesmus said.

He immediately went to Hout Bay police station to report the theft, and he was told they would investigate.

On the Sunday night, Mr Onesmus received a phone call from a police officer stationed at the Gugulethu police station, asking him if he was the owner of a missing bakkie, as during his rounds he had come across a bakkie with branding and Mr Onesmus’s contact number on the side.

The Gugulethu officer asked him for his case number to verify that the bakkie was his, but unfortunately no such case number was found. “I then ran back to Hout Bay police station, and it seems the officer who had first taken my statement had not registered the case yet. Hout Bay police then did this. Later the Gugulethu officer called me to say the case number had now come through, but that I would also need a circulation number from police to get my bakkie. So I arranged to get this as well.”

The following Monday morning, October 22, Mr Onesmus drove with friends to Gugulethu police station. He said duty officers told him they were aware of the case, but he needed to drive to the Bellville South yard to retrieve it. “But when I got to Bellville South, they told me they had no case like this. It seems the case number was not right, so they told me to go back to Hout Bay so they could correct it. I then went back to Hout Bay police station and they corrected it.”

At this point, Mr Onesmus decided to look for the bakkie himself and after driving through Gugulethu, he eventually came across his missing vehicle. “It had been completely stripped of everything, and it was burnt out. All that was left was the shell. I was devastated.”

Hout Bay businessman Pierre de Wet, of the Anything Goes second-hand furniture shop, who regularly uses Mr Onesmus’s removal services, became aware of his plight within hours of his bakkie going missing.

“For the first few hours, I didn’t know what to do. Then I thought of a friend who is the chief operations officer of crowd-funding platform BackaBuddy, and I gave her a call, asking if she could help,” Mr De Wet said.

“Within an hour she put something together. I had to write a small motivation, explaining that I wanted to raise funds for a new bakkie for Sheehama. I ran what I had written by Sheehama, and then the campaign went up on BackaBuddy. “It just took off. Initially it was my personal network that got it going.”

To date, almost R28 000 has been raised on the platform, with donations being made both locally and internationally. “We received one big donation of R10 000, but we’ve also received smaller donations which is helping to tip the balance.

“A new bakkie would cost between R80 000 and R90 000, but we are realistic and we could get a good used bakkie for R60 000. Sheehama runs a small business and does everything for himself. Sheehama also provides work for others. This is not about providing fish, but giving a fishing rod to catch the fish.”

Mr De Wet said he had been fortunate to take over his business from a family friend, and so he wanted to pass on this good fortune through the campaign.

“People have really opened their hearts to me,” said Mr Onesmus. “As for Pierre, I don’t have any words for him. I don’t know how to thank him for what he has done.”

The Backabuddy campaign
can be found at