As South Africans commemorated Youth Day on Sunday June 16, Mitchell’s Plain mourned the death of a young man, described as a community hero, who had been shot in the face and head multiple times.
Senior drum major and head coach of Western Province Marching Association, Chad Arendse, 19, from Beacon Valley, was on his way home from a 21st birthday party in Rocklands when he was killed.
His mother, Natasha Arendse, 39, from Beacon Valley, said she had heard that the person who shot at Chad had been at the party he was at, but Chad’s friends who were with him at the time do not wish to speak about the incident.
Mitchell’s Plain police spokesman Captain Ian Williams said Chad was found lying in Beaufort Street, Rocklands, at 1.30am, on Sunday.
He had been shot in his head and face multiple times. Police found 14 cartridges at the scene but they said they would only be able to confirm how many times he had been shot once they had the autopsy report.
Police are investigating a case of murder and confirmed that while the motive was “possibly gang-related”, Chad was not a gang member. No one has been arrested.
On Saturday June 15, said Ms Arendse, Chad had attended a braai with a friend and her family in Lentegeur, after which he had used an e-hailing service to get to the 21st birthday party of a friend in Rocklands. Because Chad had lost his phone two weeks before, he had used his friend’s phone to call for a lift.
Chad had been standing across the way from a liquor store in Beaufort Street waiting for his ride home, when the suspect approached Chad and opened fire.
It was after midnight that there was a knock at Ms Arendse’s door.
It was the aunt of the girl whose party Chad had attended. She had bad news.
Chad had been the drilling coach at Littlewood Primary School in Eastridge, as well as for Golden Grove Primary School in Rondebosch and Young Cabelleros Malay Choir from Cape Town. He was also part of the Pennsylvanians and Juvie Boys minstrel groups.
The night before the shooting – on Friday June 14 – said Ms Arendse, Chad had attended a variety show called A Night with the Squad, at Joseph Stone Auditorium, in Athlone, with the Littlewood Primary squad where “they stole the show”.
Chad had also arranged and hosted many gqom parties in Mitchell’s Plain, and had gone by the name of Gqom King at Portland High School.
Gqom is a local form of electronic dance music that originated in Durban.
He would have held another gqom party at Eastridge Community Hall, on Friday July 19 – and it will still take place to honour Chad’s legacy, and to raise funds for the squads he coached, his mom said.
Chad started drilling in the Beacon Valley Community squad at 15 in 2015, and joined Western Province Marching Association in 2012.
The association’s president,
Saeed Ruiters, said Chad had been a fun-loving and vibrant person with a passion for youth and had been instrumental in their development.
“He voluntarily coached in Hanover Park, Mitchell’s Plain and Lansdowne schools, without seeking fame, glory, financial gain or any recognition.
“He was a positive role model to many with a great following of young people and parents. He was a great ambassador for us with respect and discipline. Those succeeding him have big shoes to fill,” he said.
In a moving Facebook post from his matric class of 2018, classmate Labeeqah Dramat, 18, from New Woodlands, wrote: “For the past three years, you have been the light of our lives, the smile on our faces. Even when it was difficult for us to smile, you enforced your happiness and glow onto us. If you never knew him, you missed out on the most amazing soul ever. As a class, we have gone through so much together. We are devastated by your loss. You were the happiest person we knew, and we will miss you.”
His neighbour, Jaden Jansen, 18, from Beacon Valley, said, Chad had had a great impact on her life.
“He made me a fan of drilling. Losing a friend so dear broke me. He didn’t deserve to have his life taken away so soon,” she said.
Chad’s memorial service will be held today, Wednesday June 19, at 7pm at the main hall at Portland High School. For more information, contact Ms Arendse at 078 355 2636.
In a separate incident, a 33-year-old man, believed to be a cameraman who was dropping off colleagues after work, was shot at 10.43pm, on Thursday June 13, in Lentegeur. When they were approached by gunmen, the man was shot in the neck and sped off. He lost control of the car, eventually crashing into a wall. No one else in the vehicle was injured. Lentegeur police registered a case of attempted murder.