Moving memorial service held for slain Ukrainian hiker

2019-08-04 20:38
Memorial to Ivan Ivanov (Jenni Evans, News24)

Memorial to Ivan Ivanov (Jenni Evans, News24)

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With the first wildflowers of the season blooming and the sweet smell of grass mingling with incense, the scene at the steps leading up to Cape Town's East Fort near Hout Bay was in stark contrast to the horror of last Saturday when Ukrainian Ivan Ivanov was stabbed to death.

Orthodox priest Father Nikolaous Giamouridis's incantations of thanks for Ivanov's life floated over the air towards the pretty seaside town where the picturesque Chapman's Peak drive starts. 

"We must treat each other with kindness," said Giamouridis under a gloomy sky. "In front of the eyes of God, we are all the same people."

A large group of mourners gathered at the site where the father of three was killed as he started a hike. 

ALSO READ: Hout Bay residents gather, leave flowers at spot where he was killed

Framed photographs of Ivanov nestled near a memorial stone erected on the side of the path, with bunches of proteas, roses and fynbos laid respectfully on the gravel. 

The inscription stated his date of birth in 1975 and the date of his death - July 27.

"In loving memory of a remarkable Russian man whose life was taken so tragically. May God give rest to his soul! You are missed every second of every day and are forever in our heartfelt prayers! Wife Tina, sons Gleb and Makar, daughter Taisia."

The murder site is just a few steps away from the start of the walk to the fort that once guarded the entrance to Cape Town in the late 1700s and in the 1800s as European countries fought for control of the coveted land. 

East Fort

Ivan Ivanov was killed near the tall tree to the left of the picture, metres from the road. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Standing at the top of crumbling steps of the fort itself, his colleague Eric Naidoo from Bureau Veritas, said Ivanov, who lived in Switzerland, had been in Durban for a week before Cape Town, training colleagues.

After finishing his work as an "expert trainer" in Cape Town, he took a few days to rest, and hiking in Cape Town was on his list of things to do.

Naidoo described him a modest man who was a proud dad and husband. 

He loved showing photographs of his wife Tina and their children Taisia, Gleb and Makar. 

Speaking on the sidelines, Naidoo, told News24 that Ivanov was an expert who specialised in agricultural training for the inspection of products such as wheat. 

Mikhail Galukhin, chairperson of the Russian Club, told News24 that Ivanov was born in Odessa, Ukraine. He extended condolences to Ivanov's family and said he hoped the country he had raised his own daughters in for the past 25 years could find a solution to crime.

Ukraine is an independent country and is considered a top wheat exporter. 

'I am totally devastated and heartbroken'

Ward councillor Rob Quintas extended condolences on behalf of Mayor Dan Plato and said that, when he and Plato had visited the crime scene on Monday, they were shocked by how close to the road it was.

He commended the police for the quick apprehension of the suspects.

A letter of thanks from Ivanov's wife Tina was read out by Bronwyn Moore, who works with Community Cohesion. 

"I am totally devastated and heartbroken by the tragic death of my beloved husband," read the letter. 

"And I have to find the strength to go through this to help my children deal with the loss of their dad."

She hoped that the tragedy would reinforce the improvement of the security situation in South Africa and asked that a second petition, requesting that bail be denied to the two additional suspects arrested on Wednesday, be denied.

A first person was arrested on Saturday, allegedly wearing bloodied clothing and in possession of a backpack containing Ivanov's belongings. All three have appeared in court and will return for a bail application.

"...As my daughter Taisia put it: 'It won't return my daddy, but no more people will be killed by these people'."

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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