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Andre Mercurio – Tribute

It is with deep sadness that we heard of the tragic death in a car accident over the christmas weekend of our EvolveAbroad student, Andre Mercurio. Ukhanyo Primary school is devastated by this news and our love, prayers and condolences go out to his family in Europe.

Andre came into our lives like a breath of fresh air. He was on a gap year after two years at Nottingham University studying sports science. He came to South Africa to expand his knowledge and test himself in a new environment.

He was enthusiastic, engaging, committed and delightful. He embraced this diverse environment as though he was born to it. Within a short space of time, he impacted all our lives. He loved the children and was a superb coach. He gave the coaching staff a real boost and a different perspective. He, with our soccer coach ‘Star’ Tshambu and Teddy Nyali developed two under-13 girls’ soccer teams. He took one-on-one  coaching sessions ensuring that each player was given private tuition to develop new skills. The teams simple shone.

His loss has been deeply felt.

Nceba Jonas, MasiSports head coach wrote: “When he came to Ukhanyo he displayed great energy and had a positive attitude to every aspect of our school. He not only had a vision but was on a mission about the future of our learners, whether that was his nutrition plan, girls soccer or a full 2023 sport and life skills programme. He was a very special man and will never be forgotten.”

Fez Payi, head netball coach, wrote to the family: “No words hold enough power to ease your hearts pain. May God bless you to overcome this shocking situation. You are not alone in your grieving journey. My heartfelt sympathy.”

I so enjoyed our discussions – thoughtful, innovative, enthusiastic, curious, giving, loving and inspiring. He was always so positive about the people and this country. He was brimful of ideas to assist the children.

He was a beautiful human being. He was taken so young, yet his legacy will live on in the minds and actions of all those he touched

May you rest in peace, Andre .

With respect and great sadness.