It’s been five years since Chad Basson died and his father has shared what it was like to lose his youngest son in a new book.
The book, Not All Heroes Wear Capes, tells what the family has endured as they continue to fight for justice for their son, who was shot dead at a friend’s 21st birthday party, (“Teen dies protecting friends” Plainsman August 1, 2018).
All the accolades commemorating his 19-year-old son, who has been called a superhero for sacrificing his life for a stranfer, were on display at the launch on Saturday September 30 at the Salvation Army Church, Lentegeur.
Cornelius Basson, 59, said: “I still cry for my son.”
He said he thought he would leave this earth before his children.
“I questioned God, myself, the world and put it on paper,” he said. “I was worried I would die of a heart attack with this book. I experienced high blood, toothaches and bodily changes. The binding machine broke a day before the release of the book. Thank God I could walk and do the entrance on the song Superman by Cassper Nyovest,” he said.
Mr Basson said he already has ideas for a second and third book.
Since Chad’s death, Mr Basson has received a presidential national bravery award and Chad was posthumously honoured by President Cyril Ramaphosa with an Order of Mendi for Bravery, awarded to South Africans who have performed acts of bravery (“Lentegeur teen honoured with national bravery award” Plainsman November 24, 2021).
Before his son’s death, Mr Basson was a couch potato. He dropped out of school in grade 11 in 1979 but matriculated in 2012 at 47 as the oldest matriculant. He finished it in three months and passed with flying colours, he said.
“I wanted the world to know what a beautiful soul and son we were fortunate to know. He was a God-given jewel,” he said.
Anti-gang Unit’s Detective Bradley Schuurman is investigating Chad’s death.
“We called on the family and community to help. Mr Basson is a great detective as he was oppit. If we weren’t challenged together we wouldn’t get this far,” he said.
“It’s nice to see a book coming from a father who didn’t allow a docket to lay down. If the community stands together we can do a lot,” said Detective Schuurman.
Chad’s mother, Dawn Basson, 54, said the compassionate detective made the job look easy when it’s not.
“He was sent here by Chad,” she said. “To think he was loved by thousands of people, a heart of gold he had. That night none of us were there to protect him, we’re still challenged by these thoughts. We questioned why he chose to save people he didn’t know, why didn’t he choose life over death?” she said.
The family found some closure on Chad’s phone, which they still have. There they found a statement: “I would rather die like a man than to live like a coward.”
“We had our answer and that brought comfort,” she said.
Mitchell’s Plain United Resident’s Forum member, Linda Jones said she salutes the family amidst their pain. The community must continue to stand together to fight this fight.
Publisher Esraa Jacobs, from Hanover Park, part of South African Muslim Authors and Artists Association (SAMAAAA) said when she readv through the word document, she knew she “had to do this”.
“In three months we completed the book. I had to retype the document making sure it flowed. I am proud of his amazing work,” she said.
Chad’s brother Keanan Basson, 27, said the book launch was beautiful even though a few people attended it.
Chad’s sister Verushka Basson, 33, said she is very proud of her dad.
“I’m grateful for everything he does for the family and keeping Chad’s memory alive. In life you may have many friends but after death your family is still there,” she said.
“The world will be a better place if we adopt an attitude like Chad had,” she said.