Jane Njawe

Died in a road traffic crash: 16 September 2002

To keep my wife’s memory alive, I have formed an organization called Justice and Jane and I put my energy into it. I wish to continue to be helpful to people because she was so helpful to others. I have dedicated myself to promoting road safety.
Pius Njawe, husband of the victim

My wife Jane died in a road traffic crash on 16 September 2002. She was travelling from Yaounde (the capital of Cameroon) to the city of Douala where we live. Jane was in a car with a driver and a bodyguard. A public transport vehicle speeding from the opposite direction hit their car when trying to overtake a construction truck on a narrow road with a sharp curve. My wife and her co-passengers were injured.

The driver and the bodyguard were taken to a nearby hospital. My wife was driven off the main road onto a bush road and taken to a public hospital in the bush, probably by someone going in that direction. It is not a proper hospital and the medical care is poor. Jane asked an ambulance driver to take her to a good hospital. He refused, probably thinking she did not have enough money to pay the ambulance fee.

Even though Jane was bleeding heavily, no one in the hospital did anything to help her. My wife died five hours later, pleading, “Please help me, I am losing so much blood.” One of the doctors later told me, “If I had only known it was your wife, I would have taken care of her sooner.”

Jane was 42 when she died. Our five children were then aged between 3 and 17 years. It was terrible. I was then out of the country and spoke to our eldest child Amanda on the phone. She could not stop crying. My uncle took care of the children until I returned. When we went home with them, their Mom was not there; would never be there again. It was so hard. From time to time the children talk about their mother. I encourage them to talk about her. Just the other day, Justice, the youngest, was looking at some photos. He saw the mangled car's picture. He said to me, “That is the car in which Mom died.” Even after four years, Jane’s mother cries every time she sees us.

Jane worked as a civil servant. She was so warm with people, received everyone graciously, and was so helpful to others. She was a mother to all neighbourhood children. She would organize activities for all of them after school. She wanted to keep them interested and busy in learning so that they did not get involved in unhealthy or unsafe activities. Many people think of me as a hero, but the truth is that Jane was the real hero. Her death was not only a tremendous loss to me and our own children; it was also a great loss to the community.

To keep my wife’s memory alive, I have formed an organization called "Justice and Jane" and I put my energy into it. I wish to continue to be helpful to people because she was so helpful to others. I have dedicated myself to promoting road safety. Every year we produce 100 000 fliers informing people to be careful. We have many slogans like, “Roads are public property, we must share them”, “If you are in a hurry, drive slowly” and “Drink or drive, you have a choice”. We have produced a report on the safety of benskins (motorcycle taxis) in a number of cities for the transport ministry. We write many newspaper articles about road safety and hold conferences, meetings and campaigns. This is my way of honouring Jane. I will do anything to honour her memory.

Pius Njawe, husband of the victim

An effective pre-hospital and hospital care system can prevent unnecessary road traffic crash deaths.

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Jane Njawe
Jane Njawe