CAPE TOWN | The memorial service was held for Thulani Manqoyi at the school on Tuesday where pupils and staff shared their tributes. Manqoyi, 53, was shot dead on September 21 while sitting in his car in the school parking lot.
Heinz Park Primary School teacher Manqoyi’s murder last week was not only felt by his biological children, but also the many pupils who looked up to him as a loving father figure and a Math teacher. He was a Grade 6 maths teacher and had been teaching at the school since 2008.
“Mr Manqoyi was more than a teacher to us, but a father who treated us all as his children. He showed us so much love and support,” said a learner representative, Lindokuhle Vuko.
Former principals, education department representatives and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) joined to pay their respects.
Another learner, who was overwhelmed by emotion, recalled how Manqoyi would give pupils money when they did not have food.
“Besides helping us to be good in maths, he taught us many good values by also teaching us about the Bible every Monday.”
“He was always there for us and we will always remember him and his words. He’s gone but will not be forgotten.”
He leaves three children. Sikhanyiso, his 24-year-old son, remembers imitating his father’s buddies and calling him “Counter.” “The name was created because he was so good with numbers. Today I see that because of who he was. To me, he was my hero and taught me that family comes first. I will now look after my siblings,” he said.
Monwabisi Manqoyi, his brother, encouraged the police to treat the matter as high-profile. “He was senselessly killed inside the school premises. As the family, we don’t know how far the police are with the investigation but we urged them to leave no stone unturned … We still believe this was planned and he was targeted.”
“My brother was a great man, a peacemaker and a mediator in the family. He was a true leader and a proud born-again Christian.”
Manqoyi was dedicated to his job, according to the school’s vice principal, and offered ideas with colleagues on how to enhance the institution.
The Western Cape Education Department’s Bronagh Hammond “The WCED sent its condolences to the family, friends and the school community and counselling support has been arranged for learners and educators. The incident is of course most distressing.”
The motive for the shooting remains unclear.