‘He would’ve been great’

2019-01-28 17:09
Sphamandla Bhengu and Siphelele ‘Pepe’ Khumalo were also involved in the accident that claimed the life of former St Charles College head boy Samukele Khumalo.PHOTO: kerushun pillay

Sphamandla Bhengu and Siphelele ‘Pepe’ Khumalo were also involved in the accident that claimed the life of former St Charles College head boy Samukele Khumalo.PHOTO: kerushun pillay

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Two former St Charles College college pupils who were involved in the horror crash that claimed the life of former head boy Samukele Khumalo, have reflected on the incident after 11 years.

Sphamandla Bhengu and Siphelele “Pepe” Khumalo, both of whom were matric classmates of Samukele Khumalo at the time, have described the last decade as difficult but nonetheless healing.

They spoke to The Witness on the sidelines of a ceremony to name St Charles’ basketball arena after Samukele last Friday.

Samukele was a first-team basketball captain.

Also read: St Charles honours ex-pupil

He was one of four people who died in an accident on the N3 near Market Road in 2008.

Twelve passengers were flung from a Ford Bantam bakkie with no canopy after the driver lost control and the bakkie hit a ditch and overturned, it was reported at the time.

The group were travelling back home in the early hours of the morning after watching the Sharks rugby team beat the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup in Durban. Samukele died later at Northdale Hospital.

Bhengu spent time in intensive care and Siphelele Khumalo spent a week in hospital.

Bhengu, who now works in construction, said memories of the incident came flooding back in the lead- up to the ceremony, but in a positive way. “We can look back at his legacy, and rather than cry tears of sadness it’s more of a happy event with good memories.

“There have been ups and downs over the years but we’ve all managed to stick together,” he said.

Khumalo, who is a sound engineer in Johannesburg, said: “We sometimes wonder what he’d be doing today and we have no doubt he’d be doing great things.

“He was an unbelievable leader and a happy person. He was a smart, well-informed guy.”

The ceremony was attended by the school’s pupils and staff, as well as old boys and members of Samkulele’s family.

His mother, Nompumelelo Mtshali, and St Charles’ principal Allen van Blerk, unveiled a plaque to officially launch the arena in his name.

Former head of basketball at the school Stewart Bradford, in a speech, lauded Samukele’s leadership skills on and off the court, saying the team only lost two games during the season he was captain.

“He was a quiet boy who led with action and sincerity and not noise. His message was simple: stay focused and concentrate on what you are doing,” said Bradford.

“Samke taught us so much and we are grateful to be able to celebrate his legacy here.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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