'We will see him again' - family mourn death of Roydon Olckers in school tragedy
"We’ll see him again."
That is what Donovan Olckers said on Friday at the funeral of his son, Roydon Olckers, when the family said their last goodbyes at the back of the hearse before dried rose petals were sprinkled onto his coffin.
Roydon, 18, is one of the four children who died after a walkway collapsed at the Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark on February 1.
"I’m not sad. I please want to tell you, if you think I am pumped full of antidepressants, then you are wrong," Donovan said when he addressed about 400 mourners in the Derde Kruis-gemeente in Vanderbijlpark on Friday afternoon while about 200 people listened via loudspeakers set up outside the church.
"If you think I am not mourning, then you are completely wrong. I have sobbed violently."
Donovan said he had found his way back to God after becoming silent and listening to his message.
“If you have questions, if you are struggling to find your faith … phone me anytime.”
Roydon’s mother Sharlene read a message on behalf of herself and his brothers Vincent and Justin. She said Roydon had been considering joining the army next year.
"You told mama and granny just the other day that this year you’re going to give everything for your school. Mama did not realise that your everything is your everything … I know I will see you again one day."
André Swanepoel led the church service and spoke about how "personalised" the tragedy had become.
"How many parents did I speak to this week, how many people I spoke to this week, who said: 'It could have been my child. It was so close. What if it was my child? What if it was my school?'"
Swanepoel asked the mourners to ask themselves if they were ready to be taken by God.
"You have to do it (ask it) for yourself.”
When the hearse departed, pigeons were freed as Roydon undertook his final journey.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga attended the funeral.
Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the investigation into the structure at Hoërskool Driehoek was continuing. Tents have been erected on the school grounds where some classes will be held when the school reopens on Monday.
"What is critical for them (the school) is to reintegrate the children back into the school environment."