Pretoria - Robert Barclay would have turned 24 next week. He was to have celebrated his birthday with his loved ones in Cape Town.

But instead Robert’s family is arranging his funeral.

The UCT student’s body was discovered on Tuesday in Paarl’s Bainskloof Mountains in a gorge on the Wellington side of the mountain. Forensic pathologists have confirmed that the 23-year-old slipped and fell to his death while hiking.

He broke his ankle and fractured his skull and lost consciousness during the fall. He died soon afterwards. He had been missing for three days since leaving a group of friends to go for a walk.

Robert, who was born in Joburg but grew up in Botswana, was staying with friends at a lodge on Eerste Tol at the time of the tragedy.

His brother John said the family had received the forensic pathologist’s report which confirmed that his death had been accidental.

“It is a very rocky area he was walking along and we could easily see how it could happen.”

John said it had been an extremely tough week for him and his family: “You ask yourself why? Why is he no longer among the living when he was so young, so full of life, so much to offer all of us? Why? This is not fair,” said Barclay.

“But then there are the ups, remembering an amazing man. A man with a smile so wide you ended up grinning with him.

“A man with jokes, a man who understood absolutely, who teased wisely, a man who explained insightfully, thought carefully and deeply, a man who listened with the patience of a saint, a man who had time for all men from all walks of life and the ability to touch them uniquely.”

Robert had enrolled for an honours course at UCT and was working as a process manager in Cape Town at the time of the accident. - Pretoria News Weekend