Mitchell’s Village father and Mitchell’s Plain activist Sulyman Stellenboom has vowed that his son’s death will not be in vain.
Sherwyn Stellenboom, 30, was caught in crossfire in Boekenhout Street, Eastridge, on Monday November 6 on returning from a nearby shop, with a friend, at about 9pm.
Tributes for the Stellenboom family have been streaming in on social media and in person as people pay their respects at yet another innocent life was lost through gang violence in Mitchell’s Plain.
Mr Stellenboom said he would be initiating a safety campaign soon after his son was buried this coming weekend. “I feel the blood is on the hands of the politicians who earn big salaries while our children are shot and killed. No one is doing anything about the killing of our children,” Mr Stellenboom said.
“We need programmes in place to keep our youth busy,” he said. “You won’t find shebeens and scrapyards in white areas but it is in our areas,” he said.
He said alcohol was involved in 90% of cases of violence.
Sherwyn and his friend heard gunshots and ran, but when they got to his friend’s house, they saw that Sherwyn had been shot in the neck. Sherwyn’s friends put him in his car and took him to Melomed Hospital, where he died four hours later.
Sherwyn was the youngest of three brothers and had a younger sister. He is survived by his son Nahum, 5, his parents Sulyman and Jean Stellenboom and his siblings. During an interview with the Plainsman, Mr Stellenboom recalled the day Sherwyn was born.
“I witnessed his birth at Mitchell’s Plain Maternity Obstetric Unit (MOU),” he said. “I remember thinking I don’t want him to go through what I’ve been through.”
Mr Stellenboom said he changed his life completely when he became a father. During the past couple of months the father and son drew closer, as Mr Stellenboom had been diagnosed with diabetes, after losing lots of weight. He said Sherwyn had taken him to the doctor.
“I am still in awe of people coming up to me, sharing their condolences and saying what an exceptional person he was,” said Mr Stellenboom.
He said they had a saying in their household: “I’m going to be better than my father,” encouraging each other to do good.
Sherwyn’s mother said he greeted everyone, he was a peacekeeper who wanted his family together. She said she would share Sherwyn’s humility with his son.
Sherwyn matriculated from Westridge High School and studied business management at Mind Magic and completed his in-service training at Tafelsig Primary School. He played cricket from the age of 4 for Blue Downs United Cricket Club and his dad used to take and fetch him, along with dropping his brother at swimming practice at the University of the Western Cape. Later he played for Mitchell’s Plain Cricket Club.
For the past seven years he had been playing rugby for Rocklands Rugby Club. He also played in the Avis company cricket league.
Sherwyn started out working at a printing company in Salt River after which he joined Avis Car Hire, starting in the washing bay and ending up in dispatch.
“He started right at the bottom and worked his way up,” said Mr Stellenboom.
Ms Stellenboom said she hoped Sherwyn’s death taught other youth to be safe. “Everything he did he always did to the best of his ability,” she said. “He was a spiritual and hard-working, independent person,” she said.
A memorial service will be held at New Covenant Christian Church (NCC), on the corner of Trampoline and Metropolitan streets in Beacon Valley tomorrow, Thursday November 16, at 7.30pm. Sherwyn’s funeral will be on Saturday November 18, starting with the viewing at home at at 7am at 39 Waaihoek Street in Tafelsig, proceeding to NCC, where the service will start at 9am, and ending at Plumstead cemetery.
Police are investigating a case of murder and anyone with information about the incident is asked to call investigating officer, Detective Constable Ashley Donough, from Mitchell’s Plain’s SAPS’ Serious and Violent Crime Unit on 082 777 8076.