Rosestad mourns music teacher’s death


Tributes poured in on Thursday for a music teacher and businesswoman from Bloemfontein after she and her fiancé were found dead in their home.

Retha van der Merwe (61) was involved, among other things, in the Universitas Primary School (Tjokkies).

Her body was found on Tuesday evening together with that of her fiancé, Neilen van Breda (63), in a house in Universitas.

This was after the police received a call about shots being fired at the house at approximately 21:30.

Upon their arrival, the police looked through the window of the residence and saw Van Breda’s body. He was apparently lying on a bed with a firearm that he held in his right hand. He also apparently had a wound near his right ear.

The police then searched the house and found Van der Merwe’s body in the kitchen. She had a gunshot wound to her head and two more to her body.

Neilen van Breda, Retha van der Merwe, Universitas, Bloemfontein, Murder

“Such a big shock and so unreal. A dear beautiful teacher who left deep traces in our two little girls’ lives. She cultivated their love for the guitar with passion. Her gentle way of learning is the greatest loss. Yesterday’s special birthday sing for Leamay will always be in our hearts. Thank you dearest Miss Retha,” Kobus and Marelize Bosch wrote on Facebook.

The Universitas Primary School also paid tribute to Van der Merwe and said her “beautiful guitar sounds will forever resound in our Tjokkie hearts”.

Apart from her music lessons at school, Van der Merwe was also a well-known businesswoman in the city. Van Breda recently moved from Gauteng to the Free State. According to his Facebook page, he used to farm with bees, among other things.

Anneline Geldenhuys wrote to Van Breda’s family: “Deep sympathy Johan to hear about the shocking news. Pray that only Jesus will comfort you”.

Johan, Van Breda’s son, did not want to talk to the media when asked on Thursday.

Van der Merwe’s two daughters, Jolina Kritzinger Fourie and Emmari van der Merwe, also did not immediately respond to inquiries.