Awards to honour murdered student

2008-08-01 00:00

SCHOOLS in the northern areas of Pietermaritzburg will get a chance to commemorate Gail Papli, the masters student who was murdered earlier this year, by awarding a floating shield to their most deserving students in Science.

Papli was found dead by police, with stab wounds to her neck, in her rented outbuilding in Newholmes. Her boyfriend, Nivesh Doodla, was charged with the murder.

The prize initiative forms part of the Gail Papli Remembrance Day, which will be observed with Women’s Day celebrations next Saturday at the Northdale Campus of the Northdale FET College in Newholmes Way.

Retired teacher Sivie Naidoo and his wife Grace are behind the idea.

He said the trophies will be known as the Gail Papli Memorial Floating Science Shields.

They will be presented to each of the secondary schools in the northern areas where Papli lived and to two high schools in her home town of Port Shepstone.

“Gail was a brilliant science student and was in the final stages of completing her masters degree.

“She was a beautiful person, vibrant and carefree.

“Everyone adored her. Her smile could brighten up anyone’s day,” said Naidoo.

He said Papli and his daughter, Aletia, who is completing her studies in France, were good friends and studied together.

The Naidoos felt it necessary to honour Papli in this way, in order to perpetuate her memory and to take a stand against gender violence in Pietermaritzburg.

“Besides honouring Gail, we want to pay tribute to women. We want to revere all women by telling them that they are special every day, for their achievements, dedication and for caring at all times.

“And we want the families of the women who have died as a result of gender violence to know that they are not forgotten,” said Naidoo.

He added that candles will be lit by Gail’s family, Gail’s friends, the children who are victims of gender abuse and for “the women of today”.

Keynote speakers will include representatives of women’s rights organisations and the KwaZulu-Natal Network of Violence against Women.

The event will start at 2 pm and is open to members of the public.

Doodla’s case was remanded for September 1.

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