Guard of honour for Enock Mpianzi’s parents at emotional farewell

A memorial for Enock Mpianzi outside Parktown Boys' High School in Parktown, 28 January 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

In honour of Mpianzi, Parktown Boys’ High pupils formed the guard of honour on the path he would have walked on his final day at the school in 2024.

Parktown Boys’ High School pupils honoured Enock Mpianzi, 13, when the brass band and drum corps played the school’s traditional Last of the Mohicans theme song at an emotional memorial service on Tuesday afternoon.

Mpianzi drowned in the Crocodile River during a Grade 8 orientation camp at the Nyati Bush and River Break lodge near Brits in the North West on January 15.

The Last of the Mohicans tune is generally played as part of the school’s tradition to honour the matrics on their last day of school. It is also played at rugby matches and prefect inductions.

In honour of Mpianzi, who would have been in matric in 2024, and as the tune was playing, a guard of honour was formed by pupils for his parents, Antoinette and Guy Intamba, and the rest of his family on the path he would have walked on his final day at the school.

“Enock, however, will not be afforded this honour and tribute owing to him when the time comes for our present Grade 8s to leave on their final school day as matrics in 2024. Today, the school bids its traditional farewell to Enock on his final journey, as he would have experienced it in 2024,” Parktown Boys’ director of culture, Andre Wilzem, said before the procession started.

Dressed in their black blazers with red stripes that had black and white ribbons attached to them, the boys filled the school’s memorial hall. They were joined by pupils from Mpianzi’s primary school, Brixton Primary, where he completed Grade 7.

His mother, Antoinette, could not hold back her tears as she entered the packed hall.

The teen was described by speakers from his former school as well as family members as a brilliant mathematician, humble, kind and a God-fearing young man.

Mpianzi’s primary school friend, Mpho Molelekeng, said he had helped her with her maths, adding he was friendly with all the pupils at the school and had once told her he wanted to be a lawyer.

“When I heard that Enock had passed away, [I was so] emotional and sad,” said Molelekeng who was also Mpianzi’s date at their Grade 7 farewell.

Mapule Modipa-Xaba, who taught Mpianzi at Brixton Primary, said she felt honoured when she heard he was accepted at Parktown Boys’ High.

“We come from a very small school, quintile one and for one of our learners to be accepted at this beautiful school, quintile 5, it was an honour.

“We were going to follow Enock around and we had hopes that our little school will one day be in the news. But it never crossed our minds that it would be in the news in this manner. Enock went to the camp pulling his bag, but he came back in a body bag,” an emotional Modipa-Xaba said.

She added when Mpianzi was enrolled in Grade 3 at Brixton Primary in 2015, he could not express himself and this worried his teachers, but he surprised them when he excelled in numeracy.

Modipa-Xaba, who taught Mpianzi in Grade 4 and coached him in chess, added he was a shy boy who excelled in the sport.

The teen will be buried on Saturday in Johannesburg.

  • News24 previously misspelt Mpianzi’s first name as “Enoch”, based on information provided by members of his family and the education department. It has since been established that the correct spelling is “Enock”.

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