'Jayde's death must not be for nothing'

By Viasen Soobramoney Time of article published Apr 24, 2015

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Port Elizabeth - Hundreds of pupils, past learners and parents filled up Riebeek College Girls' High School in Uitenhage for a memorial for slain teacher Jayde Panayiotou.

Panayiotou, a former student at the school, had taught grades 4 to 7 and coached hockey.

There wasn't a dry eye in the hall as the memorial started off with an emotive slide show of Panayiotou's photographs.

Pupils and their parents sobbed loudly as the school choir led them in gentle hymns.

Riebeek College principal Mrs M Woods led the tributes, recalling Panayiotou as a student at the school.

"I remember her running through this school as a young girl. In her adult life as a teacher I would see her in the hallway and I would call out to her - Jaydee! And she would give me the most memorable smile," said Woods

She said that the school had been overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of support they had received from around the world.

Riebeeck High head girl Yolanda Mni read out a poem Panayiotou had shared with them titled: "Don't weep at my funeral for I am not dead”.

Panayiotou's sister-in-law Kloe, also a teacher at the school, paid tribute to her.

"You were a sister and a sister-in-law. You guided me and always gave me advice about my work. My brother loves you and you loved him. I can still hear you call from hockey practice asking him what to cook," said Kloe to laughter.

Among those that attended the memorial were members of the Uitenhage branch of the ANC Women's League.

Branch chairperson Ethel Sikweyiya said that Panayiotou's death must not be in vain.

"We are here because we have to stand together and say enough is enough. Jayde's death must not be for nothing. We have to work to stop this violence against women," she said.

In the school foyer two walls of remembrance carried hundreds of messages from pupils at the school. An altar with Panayiotou's photo was surrounded by candles.

Parents attending the memorial said they were battling to come to terms with Panayiotou's death.

"There are no words to describe how devastating Jayde's death is to us. The entire community is just in shock, said Tara Hummel.

Panayiotou was abducted from outside her Kabega Park home in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday morning. Her body was found a day later in KwaNobuhle outside Uitenhage.

On Thursday, preliminary reports confirmed that Panayiotou was shot. A post mortem to confirm her exact cause of death took place on Friday morning butt the results have not yet been released.

There is still no word on funeral arrangements at this stage.


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