Near-death escape ‘just part of life’

John Harvey

ADVENTURER Davey du Plessis, the young man who was left for dead after being shot repeatedly in the Amazon jungle during his “source to sea” expedition, has chosen to accept the experience as “just one of the many knocks during the journey of life”.

Du Plessis was in Knysna last week for a series of talks to promote his book, Choosing to Live. The 25-year-old’s harrowing ordeal made headlines around the world last year after two assailants emerged from the jungle and shot him, leaving shards of bullet in his spine, face, heart, neck and arms. It is believed the attackers belonged to a drug cartel who were targeting foreigners in the area.

Prior to the terrifying events of that day in August, Du Plessis was only months away from becoming the youngest person ever to navigate the Amazon River from source to sea.

It was only thanks to the efforts of tribesmen in Peru that his life was saved. After being shot, Du Plessis had to run through 5km of jungle to seek help.

Du Plessis said being an adventurer provided a “privileged platform” in promoting certain ideals. “I view myself as a vessel for promoting a more caring and accepting society, and because of the greater reason for why I do what I do, my spirit for adventure continues to remain as strong as ever. If anything, I feel more driven and reassured as an individual due to the experience.”

He had not tried to understand the mentality or question the motives of the attackers, nor did he seek revenge or justice. “Acceptance is a great tool as it allows one to surrender to the tribulations and trials of living, realising knocks are part of the journey.”

Given this approach, Du Plessis is determined to return to the scene of the attack, despite the emotional challenge this might bring. “There is some fear associated with returning, but I know that because of this, it is the exact reason why I will return. My priority is to return to thank the communal members who aided in getting me to hospital,” he said.

“There is a great imbalance between humanity and nature. I don’t know at what point we as a species believed we were separate from the natural world, but [this] inspired a fascination for the natural world and, in this case, the Amazon. There is still much to learn from nature and the Amazon represents nature in one of its more raw forms.”

Leave a Reply