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Two SA families mourn

This as the Gift of the Givers called on world leaders to put down their guns down and start talking.

School learners carrying Pierre Korkie's coffin ahead of his memorial in Bloemfontein on 12 December 2014. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The death of two South Africans should inspire world leaders to put the guns down and start talking, relief group Gift of the Givers said Friday.

This as two South African familie s mourn the loss of their loved ones.

Pierre Korkie was buried today in Bloemfontein after being killed by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen last week.

He died in a botched operation by US Special Forces after being held captive by al-Qaeda for more than 18 months.

At the same time, a memorial service took place in Pretoria for three members of the Groenewald family who were killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Forty-six-year-old Werner Groenewald, his 17-year-old-son Jean-Pierre and his 15-year-old daughter Rhode were killed in the Kabul attack.

Werner's wife, Hannelie, was working at a hospital at the time of the incident.

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman says it's time for South Africans to use the past to help other countries overcome conflict.

"Every other country I visit is falling apart and our message is that we can make things happen in the right way."

Sooliman says the world cannot fight hatred with guns and war.

"My message to the US and Europe is let's put down the guns because they haven't worked."

He played an instrumental role in freeing Yolande from her captors and says there are other South Africans abroad that need the same kind of help.

Meanwhile, a former Grey College headmaster credited Korkie for the school's medal-winning cycling team.

Johan Volsteedt says Korkie's persistence led to pupils being given the opportunity to compete professionally for the first time.

He paid tribute to the slain teacher at the memorial where the school's pupils carried Korkie's coffin, which was covered with the school flag.

Volsteedt says Korkie always fought for the underdog at school.

"He was a father figure to so many boys and he was never too busy to help them."

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