I stood with tears in my eyes in the graveyard as the army performed its burial rituals after having lost one of its own. I remember the gentle embrace of a family member lovingly holding me. I held her as well. – And just like that we buried a young relative. He passed away in a car accident.

From that day onwards, I think I started to really notice the little crosses and memorials people place on the road at places where they are grieving the loss of their loved ones. So often people will think about national memorial spots and locations, but barely take notice of landmarks, crosses and flowers placed all over our roads.

These markers are not like road signs, but are reminders to remind passing motorists and pedestrians of the value of life. Let them serve as reminders against familiarity. Let them serve as markers to caution the living not to speed. May they encourage us to take breaks when driving, service cars and make sure that we are sober and vigilant. May they motivate for roadworthy vehicles and patience towards fellow road users.

Somewhere on the road from Pretoria to Mafikeng along the freeway, there's a big cross with a helmet on it. This Easter of 2016, there were written-off cars strategically placed on the road, such as on the Mabopane Highway with safety warnings calling for drivers to not speed, but to take breaks when tired and not drink and drive.

Rather than travelling far away to find meaning or celebrate memorials and life out there, let these painful, but loving reminders usher renewed road safety and compassion on our roads. As you drive past a cross or memorial along the road, do say a prayer for the family who is missing a loved one.

Lest we ever forget: A roadside "monument" in Pretoria. Photo by Phindiwe NkosiLest we ever forget: A roadside "monument" in Pretoria. Photo by Phindiwe Nkosi

Remembering road casualties. Photo by Phindiwe NkosiRemembering road casualties. Photo by Phindiwe Nkosi

 

Comments   

 
0 # ThanksNontuthu Sithole 2016-11-19 06:58
Thank you for this article. It is so true, people don't even notice them. They are not just normal signs, but reflect grieving and hope. Thanks P
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