Heartrending tributes after boy dies following freak accident at KKNK

18 April 2017

Josh Pharaoh (9), described by many as a sunshine child, died Sunday after he fell in an armored vehicle at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees arts festival on Friday.

Josh Pharaoh (9), described by many as a sunshine child, died on Sunday after he fell in an armoured vehicle at the KKNK arts festival in Oudtshoorn on Friday.

According to reports, he'd been climbing on the military vehicle – part of an annual exhibition by the military – when he lost his balance and fell into the cockpit, hitting his head on a steel plate.

In a poignant Facebook update, the boy’s grandmother, Heidi Pharaoh, expressed the family's grief: “God help us through this irreversible grief.”

Josh’s grandfather Hamilton Pharaoh wrote an equally touching parting message on Facebook to his grandson: “There are no words to describe the pain we all are feeling at this point. Our sunshine grandchild who made us love beyond all boundaries is no more. RIP Josh James Pharaoh, our life will never be the same again. I know you have left our lives with an incredible gift of memories that will last us a lifetime. Your life during the past 9 years has been an incredible journey of love and blessings. Thanks be to God for allowing all of us to have you in our lives."

One of the boy’s teachers, Naomi Smit, commented on the posts: “I can’t believe that little Josh has left this world of ours. He was in my PE class for two years and I had the pleasure of having him in my art class for a full year. This teacher is very distraught, he had artistic talent, he had a wonderful outlook on life. His creativity inspired other learners in art class. He was always willing to share his ideas and love with everyone.

“I'll miss him a lot. May you find comfort in the Lord. One day we will all see him again in heaven. So sorry to hear! Rest in peace, my Joshie!”

On 14 April, shortly after the accident, the boy's grandfather was still encouraging him on social media to keep fighting. “Josh James, my life, my everything. Fight for your life, as little and vulnerable as you are. Being a grandfather is the best thing in my life because you’re everything to us. May God protect you during the operation and return you safely to us. I’ve never had a nickname. You started calling me Games, a name I proudly bear. Keep fighting our darling boy. We love you very, very, very much!!!”

The incident is under investigation.

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