Hundreds gather to pay respects to DF Malherbe pupil Paul Manyadzwa
A sombre mood filled a packed DF Malherbe hall in Port Elizabeth last night, when hundreds gathered to commemorate the life of popular pupil Paul Manyadzwa. Manyadzwa, 18, died at the weekend after he and his best friend, Warren Swart, were on their way to the Port Elizabeth beachfront on a motorbike when it was involved in a crash with a Land Rover Discovery, driven by Boomtown creative director Ross Ventress, 45.
Swart, who turned 19 yesterday, is recovering in hospital.
Pupils, parents, friends, church members and family of the Grade 12 pupil wept as video clips depicting the larger-than-life Manyadzwa played on a big screen before the start of the memorial service.
His photograph with a trophy was displayed inside the hall.
His emotional friends who paid special tributes to Manyadzwa could hardly hold back their tears as they read out poems from the podium.
Thando Tshangela, 17, said Manyadzwa had been extremely ambitious and enthusiastic about the future and had been wellloved by parents, teachers and fellow pupils.
“Some of us call him a brother. I remember the first time we met in class. When I met him, he laughed. He had a big smile,” he said.
“We had our ups and downs over the years. We became strangers, but we became best friends later. “Thereafter, we became brothers. “He meant a lot to us, whether it was in the classroom or on the field.
“He made everyone feel comfortable and happy. I am grateful I was part of his life.
“I thank you for being a brother to me. You will always be in my heart. I love you forever,” he said.
Eden Visagie, 17, another friend, said she had decided to pay tribute to Manyadzwa through a letter, which in part read: “My dearest Paul. Where do I begin? You had so much ambition this year.
“You had big dreams. You have touched many people’s lives. You are the only person I knew. You became my best friend. You were willing to give anything for anyone. “I cannot believe that you are gone.” Pastor Adrian Vermaak, of Providence Church, remembered Manyadzwa and the “impact he made in all of our lives”.
“I speak as a pastor who has known him since he was in primary school.
“The last time I saw him was at Sunday service. His last words to me were thank you. That was how Paul was. He had impeccable manners.”
DF Malherbe principal Andre van Wyk described Manyadzwa as one of the school’s dearest sons.
“On December 8, he came to the office and handed over gifts to the admin staff. He took me by surprise,” he said.
“He touched the lives of many people. He lived up to the school’s value of respect. He was passionate about the game of rugby.”