Family, friends, former classmates and teachers are struggling to come to terms with the death of a young Grahamstown man in a car accident during the weekend.
Henry Olivier, 20, who completed matric at PJ Olivier last year, died at the scene when the vehicle he was travelling in struck a tree. He and a friend were travelling on the Port Alfred road, late on Saturday night.
Police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender said the accident occurred after 11pm on Saturday night, 2 September, 17km from Bathurst on the R67 towards Grahamstown.
“The vehicle hit a tree,” Govender said. “It is not known what happened to cause the accident.”
She said emergency services were at the scene for a long time and that both occupants were trapped in the vehicle.
“The passenger died on impact and the driver is in a critical condition,” Govender said.
Govender said a case of culpable homicide had been opened at the Bathurst police station.
PJ Olivier Principal Joubert Retief said, “It is with shock and great sadness the school has learnt of the passing of Henry Olivier. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially Boudina and Cameron McConnachie who with their family supported Henry the past few years.
“The news of Henry’s passing was met with an outpouring of grief from friends, acquaintances young and old, staff members and learners. He will be dearly missed and remembered for his life which was a blessing to us all.”
A spokesperson for the family said they were all together, with other relatives on their way to join them. “It is a tragedy that has broken our hearts.”
Social media posts have meanwhile also seen an outpouring of support for the wife and young child of the driver, who is in a critical condition in a Port Elizabeth hospital.
Henry’s life will be celebrated at a memorial service in the PJ Olivier school hall at 3pm on Friday, 8 September. “Everyone who knew this special young man is invited to attend to pay their last respects,” Retief said.