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A photograph of the Big Hole from 1975

The Big Hole Drama Part 3


The Big Hole Drama Part 3 (and conclusion)

From The DFA Thursday 6 November 1975

Click here to read Part 1

Click here to read Part 2

Staff Reporter

The body of the missing Kimberley scholar, Mr David Kokora (19) was discovered amongst trees on a ledge within the Big Hole yesterday about 3pm, shattering the hopes of his family that he had run away to his brother at Cape Town University.

He and his friend, Mr Harry Koopstad (21), are believed to have leapt into the Big Hole during the early hours of Saturday morning.

Mr Koopstad, an apprentice at De Beers, was found by De Beers security men about 26 metres down the mine lodged against a tree. He was admitted to hospital with back and head injuries. Friends said yesterday that his condition was satisfactory.

Police officials thought Mr Kokora had seen his friend leap into the mine, and fearing that Mr Koopstad was dead, and that he would be implicated by his death, had gone into hiding.

In spite of this a police search party climbed down to the southern plateau again yesterday and after an hour-long search, found the body under the trees.

Mr Kokora’s body was placed in a drum which had been lowered by ropes, and then hoisted to the surface by policemen and volunteers.

They struggled because the drum hooked fast on trees and against the wall of the mine. Falling rocks and ground filled the drum and added to the weight.

Mr Kokora’s brother, Louis, told the DFA on Tuesday that the brothers [friends] disappeared after a party on Friday night. They were not seen again until a De Beer’s security guard saw Mr Koopstad struggling on the slopes of the Big Hole.

Mr David Kokora’s vice-headmaster, Mr S Hunter, said yesterday afternoon that the boys probably feared the censure they would receive because of a motor accident and so had decided to take their lives by jumping down the mine.

Mr Hunter said David had obtained a first class for his junior certificate examination, and was expected to repeat this performance in his matriculation examination at the end of the year. His parents had hoped to send him to university.

An estimated crowd of 300 people lined the fence to watch the recovery of the body. Several mothers with their young children struggled to get a better view.

Mr David Kokora’s parents last night expressed their appreciation to the police involved in the recovery of their son’s body.

Notes by Steve:
1. The surname is Kakora, I have kept the DFA spelling.
2. Southern plateau is George Street. In the 1970s there were houses on George Street
3. Mr S Hunter was vice principal of William Pescod High School.

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