Former Harare-based rugby and basketball coach Terrence Kagande died yesterday in a gas accident that claimed his entire family in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in an incident that has shocked both family and friends in both countries.
Kagande (48), his wife 42-year-old Cindy, children Jade (16) and Isiah (13) succumbed to burns and fumes when a gas heater exploded early Thursday morning.
The late sportsman coached rugby and basketball at St Georges and St Johns Colleges before his move to South Africa.
Family spokesperson Gary Kagande said the family was devastated by the sudden death of his brother and entire family.
He also took the opportunity to dismiss rumours that South African police were investigating a suspected multiple murder case.
“As much as we as a family are in shock and would want to mourn our dearly departed brother and his family peacefully. We would want to dismiss with the contempt that they deserve, the rumours that police were investigating murder cases,” he said.
Gary, the former Zimbabwe Sables rugby player, said according to a police report given to Cindy’s sister in Bloemfontein, the children were sleeping in the lounge with the heater on while their parents were in their bedroom.
“The blanket they were using reportedly caught fire and melted the gas pipe from the heater leading to the explosion” Gary said.
“Toxic gases and smoke inhalation killed both Terry and Cindy before they could rescue their children or themselves. We are expecting a full report to be given to Cindy’s sister, who’s representing all of us in Bloemfontein, tomorrow,” he said.
“Terry was a gentle-giant. He had a passion for all sports but basketball and rugby stood out. He coached both disciplines at St George’s and St John’s College.”
He also described Cindy as a kind and gentle mother to her children and a welcoming sister-in-law to the whole Kagande family.
Gary expressed the family’s gratitude to all people in Zimbabwe and South Africa who are assisting the family with funeral arrangements.
Terrence was the son of the late Herbert Kagande, who was the parish pastor at the New Apostolic Church in Hatfield and Jane Kagande, who lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.