Innovative student’s death shocks UCT

UCT student Nkosinathi Nkomo who has been credited for developing an innovative grey water system passed away on Sunday December 3.

Friends and colleagues of a bright young inventor, who developed a grey-water system to both ease the water crisis and pay for his UCT studies, have vowed to continue his legacy, following his sudden death.

Nkosinathi Nkomo died on Sunday December 3. The circumstances surrounding the 24-year-old UCT student’s death are sketchy, but police say his body was found at the Upper Eastside Hotel, in Woodstock, in the early hours of Sunday. He had apparently fallen from the balcony of a fifth-floor room.

Provincial police spokesman, Captain FC Van Wyk, said no foul play was suspected and an inquest docket had been opened.

Mr Nkomo’s funeral service was held on Sunday December, 10, at the Orlando East Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Soweto, and his friends expressed their sadness online.

In a Facebook post, Mr Nkomo’s business partner, Sesethu Mazangazanga, said: “Nathi will be remembered as a friend, partner and the most human being you have met. The rest of us are here to ensure his dreams come to pass and be grateful we shared memories with him. He is among the greatest people who have touched this earth.”

AquaRenu, the company Mr Nkomo founded, announced on its Facebook page that it would halt operations for the foreseeable future but would work hard to realise Mr Nkomo’s vision for it.

The third-year civil engineering student’s AquaRenu system recycles grey water at homes and businesses for irrigation. Mr Nkomo started the company to raise money to finish his studies.

In (“Innovative students help to solve water crisis,” Tatler October 26) Mr Nkomo talked about the help friends and family had given him to achieve his vision.

“I always look for the silver lining in things. I didn’t need too much money to start once I got the first unit to work. Some friends and family were willing to help me raise funds to build the first batch of our irrigation systems.

“The main lesson I learned while building AquaRenu is that the people around us are sometimes all we need to help us advance,” he said at the time.

UCT vice chancellor Dr Max Price expressed his condolences over Mr Nkomo’s death and said that even though he was not registered this year, his studies for 2018 had been secured as he had been awarded a scholarship by a UCT professor who did not wish to be named.

“Details surrounding Mr Nkomo’s death are still unclear. At present, it seems as if he fell to his death from a building in the city of Cape Town, but the circumstances are not yet clear. He has been described as having a smile that lights up a room and being an incredibly humble and tenacious young man,” said Dr Price.