Jimmy Booysen (1969 - )
The Order of Mendi for Bravery in
Profile of Jimmy Booysen
On the night of 15 August 1995 Jimmy Booysen was aroused from his sleep by the sound of terrifying screams from outside his house. Alarmed by the piercing cries for help, he peered through his window to be confronted by darting shadows of fire across the walls of his neighbour’s wood and iron shack.
Realising that the cries were those of his neighbour’s children inside the burning shack, Booysen, now fully aware of the impending catastrophe, ran out of his house and kicked down the door of the fiercely burning shack. To Booysen’s consternation, the heavy smoke billowing from inside the open doorway and flames already licking at the woodwork prevented him from seeing anything inside.
Tormented by the excruciating screams of the little children he often saw playing in the streets and without any regard for his own safety, Booysen entered the raging inferno. Practically blinded by the smoke and the heat, but with great composure, he cautiously worked his way towards the direction of the children’s rapidly fading cries. Reaching out his hands in the dark, he found the three whimpering children at the point of suffocation, huddled on a bed. Sweeping them into his arms, he rushed out just seconds before the lean-to exploded into a fire-ball.
Jimmy Booysen risked his own life to save the lives of three young children who in all probability would have perished in a terrifying inferno. In doing so he displayed immense bravery and heroism.
Jimmy Booysen was born on 31 December in 1969 in Grassy Park in Cape Town where he has been a lifelong resident. He attended Zeekoevlei Primary School and Zeekoevlei Secondary School and currently works for the South African Post Office in Goodwood.