"One afternoon I ran into him at the traffic lights. He asked me if I could go and get him some dagga. What struck me was that he always looked as if he wasn't quite all there, in a trance, almost as if he wanted to say: 'Go on, hit me.'"
Soon it is rumoured that Henri had received treatment in a private rehabilitation centre. The family refuses to comment on this allegation. Eventually it is reported that in 2014 he did in fact spend some time in the Tijger Clinic in Loevenstein, Bellville, an exclusive mental-health treatment facility for conditions such as drug and alcohol addiction, schizophrenia, and anxiety and psychotic disorders. Henri was, like all the other patients there, assisted by a team of experts. At a cost of up to R3000 per day.
Was there any truth to the rumours that Henri used dagga and tik? Tik users tend to suffer from, inter alia, insomnia, a lack of appetite and poor personal hygiene. Among the effects of the drug are paranoia, hallucinations, mood disturbances and irritability. Would these symptoms perhaps be recorded in Henri's particulars at the centre?
The unsettling story of the 20-year-old's life was indeed starting to take shape.
Only a full two years after the De Zalze axe murders would a relation divulge: "Henri was suspended by the University of Melbourne because of his drug taking." And: "Rudi, too, experimented with drugs, but it wasn't so serious. He was able to stop.
"The family had difficulties trying to get Henri into a university in South Africa afterwards - because of his suspension," the relative recounted. "Martin took his family away from here to escape from the crime. Then he took them to a country where people set little store by religion, where they - how does one put it again? - are not kerkvas [attached to the church]."
According to Alex [Boshoff], a student at Stellenbosch University, Henri often visited him at his university residence. (Their fathers were business partners at Curro Holdings, among others. The two families sometimes went fishing, diving or paragliding together.) Alex called Henri a "genius" who was very good at mathematics.
Other family friends observed that Henri's idleness occasionally got him down, given the absence of the pressure and routine of a university's academic programme. The house made him feel hemmed in, maybe claustrophobic. So, he'd drive to town in one of the family's cars, or walk to the nearby Stellenbosch Square centre or along the R44 to the Spar in Paradyskloof, to buy cigarettes.