Parents of teen who died on school trip ‘have peace in their hearts’

The parents of the Grade 11 pupil who died while on a school trip to Stilbaai know that their son is in a better place, but are struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.

This is according to André Latsky, principal of Hoër Landbouskool Oakdale in Riversdal, where Stefan Marais was a pupil and where his father, Pine, is a teacher.

“His father still cries a lot over his son’s death and he’s still grieving. It will probably be that way for some time,” Latsky says.

Stefan’s body was found on 20 January in the Goukou River in Stilbaai, near Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. He’d gone missing a day earlier while on a school outing.

It’s believed he drowned.

Pine spotted his son’s body from a helicopter during the search. Stefan’s mother, Petrusa, is a teacher at Hoërskool Langenhoven in Riversdale.

Latsky says the couple and their youngest son, Pieter (14), are keeping busy after the tragedy. 

“On the surface it looks as if they’re doing all right. They’re just trying to stick to their normal routine as far as possible. The community is being very supportive.

“Although it’s hard, they have peace in their hearts knowing Stefan is in a good place.”