For a lot of men in their early thirties with a fast BMW, testing their car’s speed limits comes naturally, but for popular Fresh FM radio personality, Azeal Matsoarelle (Cheeze), a quick rush of blood to the head could have resulted in his death.
On the evening of 11 April this year, Matsoarelle was on his way to meet friends at a hangout spot.
He was speeding down Sam Nujoma Drive, on the corner of the Hilton hotel and the municipality building trying to catch a green light when a car coming from the other road smashed into his. All he remembered after that was waking up in the Katutura State hospital, with his head split open. His mother told the doctors not to touch him, because he had medical aid and was soon rushed to the Roman Catholic private hospital.
“I was in denial, despite the stables in my head. I was in the hospital for three days and still couldn’t believe I was in that situation. It was only when I went to the scrap yard to see my car that it hit me; I could have died,” says Matsoarelle, he adds “I realised how fragile life is, no matter how invincible you feel. In an instant you can be gone.”
Fortunate not to come away paralysed or with some permanent injuries, he returned to work and to his normal life a week later, but with a different outlook.
“Before the accident I was about being at the best events and keeping up with the persona of the Cheeze character I had created. But now, none of that matters. I have two children that would have lost me because of a stupid lifestyle. I now just drive a 1.4 Polo and the old me would have been embarrassed to be seen driving that. ”
But getting back behind the wheel was difficult, he admits. He now drives at 60 KM.
Before the accident, Matsoarelle says he would drive at a top speed with his children in the car to show them how fast daddy could go, but now he sees that as dangerous and irresponsible behavior.
“I look at reckless drivers now with disdain. My children are all that matters. Their mother was there for me during the worst part of my recovery so I have to be there for her as well now. Same with my mother,” he explains.
With the mushrooming of cars in Windhoek city, traffic officers are sometimes seen as a nuisance by some drivers, and Matsoarelle in what he now regards as his past life was no exception.
“But I see them in a different light now. I was unconscious, but from wwhat I was told, traffic officers were the ones who saved my life.”
Despite his new positive attitude towards life, he says it would have been a completely different outcome had he been responsible for taking someone’s life.
“The lady is fine, luckily, and the damage to her car was covered by my insurance. I’m grateful that she is alive because I would not have been able to live with myself. I’m still recovering from it. Even talking (about it) now is part of my therapy.”