Bromley good samaritan helps South African stricken twins

PUBLISHED: 17:20 02 June 2011

Saskia Van Roomen holding Linamandla and Likhona

Saskia Van Roomen holding Linamandla and Likhona


Two tiny South African twin orphans born by caesarean after their teenage mother dived from a burning taxi have had their fates changed by a kindhearted bride-to-be.

Saskia Van Roomen, from Bromley, went out to South Africa in December to be with her fiancé, Mat Chaplin, who was filming a documentary in the country.

In February, Saskia, 42, was shocked by the story of Likhona Tilikana and his sister Linamandla, from a township near Cape Town.

Nicknamed ‘the miracle twins’, their 18-year-old mother, Bonelwa, was 32 weeks pregnant when she was involved in a horrific accident and never lived to see her newborn children.

A metal rod from an overturned truck had struck the petrol tank of the taxi.

Bonelwa died 17 days later in hospital from severe burns.

Saskia said: “I was terribly moved by the story and could not get the twins and their fate out of my mind.

“It took me about a week to decide whether I wanted to be involved but I just kept thinking about these premature babies in their corrugated iron shack, which must have been an oven in the extreme heat of South African summer.”

Saskia rallied her friends and family to help and became involved with Philani Child Health and Nutrition Project, which builds better shacks for poor families.

Together, they were able to give baby formula milk to the grandmother who is looking after the twins, clothes and prams but, most importantly, extend their tiny shack.


Saskia is planning to get married in August in a small village in Northumberland but before that she is organising a fundraiser for the twins.

n To get involved or to donate to the appeal you can email

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