Cape Town - All it took was some spilled petrol on her clothes and the naked flame of a match struck thoughtlessly, and a promising young wine-making student from Paarl paid with her life.
Kelly-Anne Groeneveld, 23, the daughter of New Orleans Secondary School deputy principal Andrew Groeneveld, had taken her mother, Sandra, to work on Monday morning and was on her way to a friend when her car ran out of petrol, her distraught father said on Wednesday.
Kelly-Anne who was studying wine-making at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology campus in Wellington, called her father for help and he arrived with petrol in a can.
Together, the two poured petrol into the tank of the car using a funnel, but the funnel leaked and petrol spilled on to Kelly-Anne’s clothes as she was holding the funnel.
“I told Kelly-Anne to go home to clean up and change her clothes, but she chose to go to her friend’s house first,” Groeneveld said.
The details of what happened there are not yet clear, but it appears Kelly-Anne had struck a match and her clothes caught fire.
“I did not know her as a smoker, but her friend said she would occasionally light a cigarette,” Groeneveld said.
Kelly-Anne was taken to Paarl Hospital with third-degree burns over her upper body.
From there, she was transferred to Tygerberg Hospital’s specialist burns unit, but despite the emergency medical treatment, she died of her burns later that day.
“She was a beautiful child. She was also a past pupil of New Orleans Secondary School and a member of the school choir,” Groeneveld said.
A memorial service will be held at the United Reformed Church’s Immanuel Congregation in Paarl at 1pm on Saturday and the school choir will perform during the service.
Friends and family will also be meeting at the Groeneveld home at 29 Lafayette Avenue, Paarl, before the service from noon.