Train hero hopeful he will walk again soon


Cape Town – Darryn August, who was thrown from a fast-moving train for trying to intervene while his fellow commuters were being robbed, is hopeful he will eventually be able to walk again.

Almost two weeks after the community activist was discharged from Tygerberg Hospital and admitted to the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre in Mitchells Plain, August, 27, said his wheelchair is temporary – soon he will walk again.

Read: Train hero ‘can feel his legs, but can’t move them yet’

Before the incident in early May, when he fractured his spine and sustained stab wounds, which collapsed his lungs, August was an active volunteer in his community in Athlone, where he ran workshops, coached football and offered a small surfing initiative, where youngsters from the area were taught how to surf.

Read: World hails Cape Town train hero

“I always had a love for people, developing people. Some people think I’m crazy, I’ll go to someone and ask them what they’re doing, get them different ideas. But I think I also like learning.”

Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for social development, Suzette Little, who is August’s ward councillor in Athlone, said he had impressed her at their first meeting.

“He is very dynamic and enthusiastic, you can’t miss him,” Little said.

He had attended one of her youth talks, which she hosts in her ward, and stood out immediately for Little.

“He is a leader in the community and is not happy with the way things are. This young man has a presence; you can’t say that about many people.”

Regarding his prognosis after his discharge from hospital, August said that he remains positive and has already mapped out a plan for his life, despite doctors trying to temper his expectations.

Asked about the fateful day when he was flung from the train between Firgrove and Somerset West station, August said that a gang robbed passengers on the train, which came as no surprise because there were always menacing gangster-types on the train at that time (10am).

“I think I was just very unfortunate to get a whole group of guys who were pretty heavily armed.

“Once I intervened with the ladies (on the train and tried to prevent them from) robbing them, they (singled me out) and I was quickly outnumbered.

“It’s not like I regret doing it. This for me is a massive challenge… It doesn’t matter what the doctors tell me, life goes one. I don’t care if they say I’m not going to walk (again), time will tell and I’ll keep on persevering.”

While he is “temporarily” away from his work in Kewtown, Athlone, August said one of his partners from Brazil was taking charge of a life skills programme for youngsters, which he had started in the area.

Asked about whether he was stressing himself out about achieving tangible results with his community programmes, he said it was akin to planting a tree.

“Government wants to see results, people, investors, sponsors want to see results (always)… For myself, I know when it comes to teaching life skills, change does not happen overnight.”