I have been informed of a number of comments that has been made on a certain Facebook profile regarding a donation and trophy that I’ve made to Uitenhage High School, also referred to as Uitenhage Senior Secondary School in honour of my late friend and classmate Eugene Exford RIP 1999.
Him and his wife died 10 years ago in a tragic car accident near Colchester. His daughter and only child survived the accident. As an ex-headboy of the school and an exceptional leader amongst his peers, I thought it befitting that I should donate a trophy and prize money to a grade 12 learner for “exceptional leadership abilities”, in memory of my friend. I’ve presented this idea to the school and they’ve agreed to it, as well as a couple of other specific conditions that relate to the dispensation of the prize money. Part of these conditions were that the school must invite Eugene’s mom and daughter also to the event, in view of the initial presentation of the award.
Great was my surprise (and disappointment!) when at the time of the presentation of the award NO mention was made that the trophy was presented to the school “in memory of Eugene Exford RIP 1999” (as stipulated in the agreement I’ve made with them). I was sitting next to Eugene Exford’s mother AND his surviving daughter at the time. If I did not stand up and say something at this crucial junction, I would have failed in my duty to my friend, his family and one of the greatest leaders Uitenhage High has ever produced. I stood up to my feet and corrected Mr Ernie Heynes (the MC at the time). The other MC, Mr Joseph Paul Slingers, Jr was in the same class, 10D, with Eugene Exford and myself, and he also neglected to mention anything during the multiple opportunities he had as the co-MC for the evening.