One of Enock Mpianzi‘s siblings has described the late teenager as a shy, but very intelligent boy.
Shadrack was speaking at his brother’s memorial service at Parktown Boys’ High School, north of Johannesburg, on Tuesday afternoon.
The former Brixton Primary learner drowned during his new school’s Grade 8 orientation camp near Brits, in the North West.
He disappeared when a makeshift raft – that he and other boys were on – overturned on the Crocodile River.
Learners and teachers from Brixton primary and Parktown Boys’ High School attended the service to bid him farewell.
Some of Mpianzi’s family members sobbed uncontrollably as they entered the venue of the memorial service.
The 13-year-old was the youngest of four boys in his family.
His brother Shadrack says Enock was very special.
“He never studied, but he was intelligent. He proved me wrong most of the time. Each time I’d be like, ‘you’re going to fail if you don’t study.’ And you just look at me. I failed to understand that he was so special. He did not have to try hard. Enock was very shy. I’d just sit down and look at him, and tell him, ‘Enock, I love you.’ And he’d not respond because he was shy. He’d just look at me and nod his way. And already I understood that was his way of saying he loves me too.”
His friend Mpho Molelekeng from Brixton Primary School says she couldn’t believe Enock had died when she first heard the news.
“We used to share good memories together. He was a kind boy, kind guy. He used to joke; friendly guy, never fought with anyone. Enock said to me ‘Mpho, when you grow up you wanna be what?’ I said I wanna be a doctor, what about you? He said I wanna be a lawyer; I wanna bring justice in this country. The time I heard that Enock passed away this was so emotional and sad. I called my teacher, mam Xaba. Mam was like, ‘yes Mpho, Enock left us.’ I was like Mam my fuel partner? This is not true.”
Enock’s former teacher at Brixton primary Mapule Modipa-Xaba says it was a proud moment for her school when he was accepted at Parktown Boys’.
She says they were looking forward to tracking his progress and had hoped their school would one day be in the news.
“But it never crossed our minds that it would be in the news in this manner. I don’t know, I’m a Christian. I don’t know how to say to God, it is well, because it’s not. It’s truly heartbreaking to lose a child like Enock. And on Saturday, to you my son, Enock my boy, we’re not going to bury you; we’re going to plant you like a seed. I pray that you’ll sprout, and you will blossom, and you will bear seeds; seeds that are going to change the manner in which we conduct excursions in our schools; that will change the manner in which we operate as teachers with you.”
Enock is one of several children whose deaths have left the nation in mourning.
On Friday, the burnt body of 15-year-old Laticia Jansen was found in a veld in Elsburg, east of Johannesburg.
She reportedly went missing on Wednesday.
A week after Enock drowned, Keamogetswe Seboko’s body was found in the hostel swimming pool at Laerskool Bekker in Magaliesberg.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says it’s been a difficult time for him and his department.
“For the last two weeks, we’ve been moving from one family to another, to convey our messages of condolences to those families. To Enock’s family, I’ve been with you since day one. Even today, it’s very difficult to explain what happened. You’ve gone through pain, but through all my interactions with you, you showed love, respect and support. And for that we’re grateful. To Enock, how painful it was, that we’ve never met, and when I met you, I met you in a body bag. Go well, my son, go well my learner. Robala ka khutjo.”
Enock will be laid to rest on Saturday.