Teen's matric celebrations end in tragedy

By Terri-Liza Fortein

He was bursting with excitement after hearing his matric results and was confirming plans to travel to Indonesia this year when tragedy struck.

Brent Classen, 18, died in a car accident while celebrating his matric exam pass.

During the early hours of Thursday morning, Classen, from Montana, and two other friends travelling in a Nissan Sentra skidded off the road in Gunners Circle, Epping Industria.

Classen died at the scene. The driver of the vehicle, a fellow matriculant, and a third female passenger were rushed to Groote Schuur Hospital.

The driver sustained a broken elbow and is in a stable condition. The teenage girl sustained minor injuries and has been discharged.

On Sunday, Classen's mother Jenny Classen, who was on holiday in London at the time of her son's death, said: "This is tragic but the amount of support we have been shown by friends and family has really been a great help."

On Sunday the family's home was filled with members of their extended family and well wishers were streaming in with flowers, food and messages of encouragement.

Jenny Classen and her husband Peter had been on holiday for only three days when they were told of their son's death. They rushed home immediately.

Jenny recalled speaking to her son just after 1am on Thursday morning.

She congratulated him on passing matric and they ironed out the final details surrounding his trip to Indonesia during their conversation.

"He wasn't going to study because he needed a gap year and the last time I spoke to him he was very excited about travelling," she said.

Brent Classen was the youngest of the couple's four children and his older sister Celeste Classen, 24, was the first in the family to hear that he had died.

"I received a phone call from a family friend very early on Thursday morning. She said Brent was in an accident and he is dead.

"But I had to find out if it was true or not, so I kept phoning his cellphone hoping he would answer but it went to voicemail," she said.

When she was finally able to confirm what had happened, she started notifying family and friends.

Celeste Classen said she will miss her brother's sense of humour most.

"He was so funny and he had all these weird words he made up.

"We used to call them 'Brentacisms'.

"He also ate chilli sauce with everything and he took really good care of his hair. He washed it every single day," she said.

Brent Classen's favourite hang-out spots included the Galaxy night club in Rylands and the Valve in central Cape Town.

His mother described him as an outgoing, popular teenager who had had lots of friends and was very well liked.

"God comes to fetch all his children sooner or later and I know my son is safe in the Lord's arms," said Jenny Classen.

Brent Classen's funeral will take place on Wednesday, January 5, at the New Apostolic Church on the corner of Olyfberg Street and Barracuda Crescent in Nooitgedacht at 10am.