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New bike for heartbroken fire victim

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Christmas came early this year for a Pretoria shack dweller who lost his first-ever motorbike in a fire in Woodlane informal settlement this week.

Chengetai Chauke, 26, a casual worker, is to get a brand new bike from Honda SA, which heard of his plight.

Chauke wept inconsolably on Tuesday morning when he realised that the fire had destroyed the bike, Beeld newspaper reported.

Ten shacks, Chauke's among them, burnt down after a gas stove fell over and ignited.

Chauke said he had paid R3350 for the bike, and had been working to fix it and get it into a roadworthy condition.

He had aimed to get his driver's license, and possibly use the new skill as a path to employment.

Dave Cohen, a DJ who recently bought a Honda motorbike, read the story online and was touched.

“I had to scrimp and save for my bike. When I read that story, I related to it. The man intended on making a living and get himself started,” he said.

Cohen approached Honda SA to tell it about Chauke's story. Honda Kyalami in Johannesburg reacted by offering to sponsor a new bike for Chauke.

“It's a small motorcycle (125cc) to us but it can make a big difference to someone else,” said owner Craig Langton.

AND THERE’S MORE

Langton said the company would also sponsor the bike's license and registration, and offered to cover maintenance for two years.

Chauke would also be sent to a training facility to ensure he could ride a motorcycle.

Tswelopele, a non-governmental organisation which has been working with the Woodlane community over several years, had received many donations from the public for Chauke and the community.

“It is marvellous. The response we've had is absolutely amazing,” said Tswelopele treasurer, Colin Dredge.

Chauke refused to believe he would be given a new bike, reported News24. He would not believe it until he saw it, Chauke said. -Sapa


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