Mr Denzil Fincham (OK 1962), 4 May 1944 – 28 August 2023

The Kingswood community is deeply saddened to bid farewell to a Kingswood Legend… Mr Denzil Fincham (OK 1962) passed away on Sunday the 28th of August, 2023.

Denzil will be remembered as an outstanding and humble man who touched the lives of hundreds of Kingswoodians. The outpouring of love and reminiscences that followed his passing are testimony to his impact and legacy.

Denzil began his Kingswood career as a schoolboy in 1957. He enjoyed a happy time at school, finishing his Kingswood career as a prefect in Jagger House in Matric. After school, Denzil attended the Pietermaritzburg Training College which laid the foundation for a lifetime of service through education. He went on to teach at the Boys’ Model School in Pietermaritzburg, was a housemaster at Murchinson College (also in Pietermaritzburg), and then went further afield to lecture for 13 years at Botswana Training College.

In 1983, Denzil and his wife Chick (Cheryl) moved their young family from Mafikeng to Makhanda, where he taught at Nombulelo High School for a year before he began teaching at his Alma Mater, Kingswood College. In 1993, he was appointed Deputy Headmaster of the Junior School.

Denzil was made Junior School Headmaster of Kingswood in 1999 until he retired in 2004. He continued to live in Makhanda where his familiar face was often seen on campus and around town.

Denzil was well-known for many things. No child who attended Kingswood during his tenure will ever forget the familiar “How’s da body?…..Da body’s fine”. His ability to put a smile on everyone’s face was uncanny. He was not only a teacher and a Headmaster, but also a producer of outstanding plays, a star in the Cafe Cabaret productions, and the coach of the mighty U9 cricket and rugby teams… He was a true gentleman, who will be sorely missed by the entire Kingswood community.

Lifelong Friends: Midge Hilton-Green (OK 1961), Mike Bandey (1961), Denzil Fincham (OK 1962)
Lifelong Friends: Midge Hilton-Green (OK 1961), Mike Bandey (1961), Denzil Fincham (OK 1962)

His good friend, fellow Kingswood staff member and classmate Mike Bandey (1961) reminisced about the fun times they had in boarding together that solidified a 67-year friendship; “Zillo was noted for his humanity and endless kindness to everybody he came into contact with. He leaves a huge irreparable gap in our lives”.

Former Junior School Headmaster Midge Hilton-Green (OK 1961), also Denzil’s lifelong friend and colleague described him as “an exceptional Deputy who was loyal and responsible, with a wonderful sense of humour that found him adored by pupils and loved by staff”.

Debbie Kent (OK 1979), also a former Kingswood staff member who taught with Denzil for many years, described him as “an amazing friend and colleague …the Star of the Show with his huge personality.”

We mourn his loss with Chick, Jonty, Cathy, Bruce and their families. He truly was “the greatest of the great!” and we will miss him.

Comments from friends and family on the Kingswood Facebook page:

Lauren Leask
Sending so much love to the family. What a special man! He will be deeply missed.

Michelle Bailey
A massive loss to the community as a whole 😞 sending love and sympathy xx

Eden Malan
Sorry to hear this. I remember Mr Fincham well from my time at Kingswood! Condolences to the family! 🙏

Amy Moss
A wonderful man who will be sorely missed!

Aimee Slabbert
The most incredible head master, I will always remember him “turning the volume up” at rehearsals for the school plays.

Kathrin Muller Weber
How’s the body the body fine first thing that pops in my mind when I think of him. What an incredible man you will be missed. My love and Condelances to the immidiate family and the wider Kingswoods community. I don’t think there is anyone who can say thay they were not touched or influenced by him. Rip Sir xxx

Candice Ford Manning
Mr Fincham was a wonderful headmaster. He had so much enthusiasm when teaching/directing. He will be missed!

Cathy Braans
A giant tree has fallen. A true legend and loyal friend and Kingswood were so lucky to have this dear man for so many years. RIP Denz and condolences to Chick, Jonty, Cath, Bruce and families💔

Diana Hornby
Rest in Peace Denz, a life so well lived. A brilliant teacher and Junior School Head, still spoken about by 4 generations in our family having touched each with his special humanity and kindness. You occupied a big space in our hearts – gone but not forgotten. Chick, Jonty, Cath, Bruce and families – thanks for sharing this special man with us. You are in our thoughts xx

Candice Sherren
You will be missed Mr Fincham, you left a mark on so many peoples lives. Sending love to your family ❤️

Donne Roberts
What a brilliant man.

Caroline Sibanda
RIP Mr Fincham 🙏🏽

Shelley Denton
So sad an incredible man who always had a lovely smile on his face. A true legend ❤️

David Wilkinson
What a great man and schoolmaster and Headmaster! Kingswood meant everything to him and in return Kingswood owes him so much for his loyal service. He was truly a legend. It was a privilege to be a colleague of his – and I will never forget his rendition of The great pretender in Cafe Cabaret. RIP Denzil. 🙏🙏🙏

Sarah Green
I have such fond and good memories of Denzil. Lots of love to his family, friends and colleagues who mourn his passing. A true asset to Kingswood.

Greg Brown
Sincere condolences to the Fincham Family. He had a way of making new kids feel welcome, comfortable and at home immediately. He was ahead of his time in the way he treated children. He was not feared as a strict disciplinarian, but loved and respected by all.

Carolynn Bruton
Agree – we have so many happy memories with him on the staff at KJS. and as coach and teacher to Craig and Ryan!

Tracey Behrens
Condolences to Fincham family. Denzil was definitely one in a million!!! 🙏🙏

Joey de Wit
Out sincere condolences to Chick and family. He was an amazing Headmaster

Derek Braans
So sorry to hear of Denzil’s passing. A giant of a man and a true, loyal Kingswoodian in every respect. He was a great Headmaster and was always so supportive and engaging when I took over from him. I’m so grateful to have got to know this kind caring man over the years. RIP my friend. Condolences to Chick and the family.

Pamela Reynolds Hare
Chick, Cath, Jonty and Bruce may you find comfort reading all the wonderful words,comments and tributes that so aptly describe the special man Denz was – an amazing family man, protector, educator and friend – holding you all close at this sad time xx 🤗

Debbie Smuts
Oh no – dearest Denzil! What a huge loss. What a giant of a man, so gentle and kind – he knew every child and remembered them all long after they left the Junior School. I am grateful that my boys had him in their school lives. We still say, “Da body fine” in our house. Much love to Chick and family. Thank you for sharing this wonderful human being with us. He is a legend who touched us all with his humanity, kindness, humour and charm.

Alison Darby Brown
So sad to hear the news. Denzel was indeed a legend. An amazing teacher and mentor to all the children who passed through his hands. Our condolences to his family.

Angela Baines
Sending sooo much love to the family. Denzel was such an amazing man. He was so compassionate and yet so very very funny.

Aubin De Gruchy
What incredibly sad news. Our love and condolences to Chick, Jonty, Cathy and Bruce. What a wonderful colleague, friend and schoolmaster. We have often spoken about what a privilege it was that our children enjoyed his care, his humour and especially his coaching that shaped the way they have approached life. Aubin, Debbie, Simon and Sarah de Gruchy.

Kerry-lee Knott-craig
What an absolutely incredible man. Always greeted with such warmth and a glowing smile. He made you feel right at home. My condolences to the family. Sending you all so much love.

Birgit Bosch
Such a Legendary Human being. I will never forget all his encouragement when I needed it. ❤

Asha Daya Bhana
Such sad news. We were fortunate enough to be taught by him and when we bumped into him, whenever we were in Grahamstown he always remembered each of us by name and was always interested in what we were doing. Condolences to his family.

Mali Govender
Sincere condolences to the bereaved family and friends. Rest peacefully🙏

Shelley du Plessis
You will be missed Mr Fincham. Was so lovely to catch up over KDay. Only you could make the subject of General exciting and you were always full of fun while being our deputy head. Rest in peace. Thinking of you Chick and family

Laura Greaves Poultney
Sending our condolences to the Fincham family. What an incredible legacy.

Kim Webber
So sorry for your loss Chick, Cathy and Jonty. Sending lots of love to you all.

Gershon Fuller
Sincere condolences to the families and friends.

Alister Hay
Condolences to all. Remember him in Mafiking at his moms shop

Charmaine de Klerk
🌹🌹🌹 my heartfelt condolences to the family. Will miss the banter. 🙏

Amy King
I’m so saddened to hear this. Denzil supported me during the Kingswood Junior production of HMS Pinafore in 2011. Such a charming, warm man who I was privileged to work alongside. Love to all the family xx

Sandy Maclachlan
An amazing friend & colleague through the years. My deepest sympathy & sending love to Chick & the family. ❤️🙏

Bridie Garrard
What a truly wonderful man Mr Fincham was. He was always so kind, and also a great sense of humour. He will not be forgotten!Sending the whole family all my love and prayers of comfort.

Shahida Nash Joubert
Sad news. Sincere condolences to Mrs Fincham and family

Norma Bezuidenhout
😭😭😭😭🙆‍♀️🙆‍♀️🙆‍♀️Many many condolences

Claudia Mote
A true gem and such a loss to the community – love to The Fincham Family! 🤗

Margaret Victor
Sincere condolences to all friends and families of the Kingswood community. R.I.P. Denzil Fincham.

Wendy Dold
So so sad to read this. An absolute Kingswood Legend who we all loved. Much love to Chick and his family.

Jannes Soné Griesel
Sincerest condolences to the Fincham family

Annette Knott-craig
Sending so much love to Chick, and family. A true Kingswood gentleman! Positive, loyal, fun-loving, respectful and kind!

Pam Riekert
He was such am amazing man. Condolences to the family. RIP Denzil 🙏

Gregg Rippon
Such a loss . A Kingswood Legend . Condolences to his family .

Sally Norton James
This is sad news. Denzil was such a gem and a wonderful teacher loved by all! Condolences to the Fincham family.

Sheldon Norton
The Norton family have the Fincham’s in our prayer. A wonderful wonderful human being, Mr Finch.

Jason Wilkinson
Such sad news. Denzil was a wonderful man. Always so giving of his time and energy. Will be sorely missed – a true statesman amongst all Old Kingswoodians. Condolences to Chick, Jonty, Cathy and Bruce.

Joan Spencer
Condolences to the family.

Ian Melliar
Deepest condolences to all and especially family at the loss of Mr Fincham a Kingswood Giant🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Steve Staude
What an absolute Kingswood Legend and Gentelmen.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Fincham family at this very sad time.
May his Dear Soul Rest In Peace.
‘Till we meet again’

Sam Goose Karam
Mr Fincham was loved by all. Our condolences go to his family during this difficult time. MHSRIP 🙏💙

Julie Stone
Condolences to Cath and family, a true gentleman who will be missed 🤗

Heather Lister
Condolences 🙏

Justin Wilmot
So sorry to hear this news. What a great Kingswood man.

Judy Hilton-Green
Such a terrible loss to the family and all his friends who loved him..Denzil you leave a huge hole but we will remember the incredible times we have shared together and that will help us heal.RIP dearest friend.

Stan Reed
So sorry to hear this sad news, condolences to the family 🙏🙏🙏

Claire Allen Purdon
So sad. Such a wonderful man and always flew the red and gold. A brilliant headmaster. He will be missed. Love to all the family

Pieter Kamp
My sincere condolences to family and friends.

Bev Munro-Keyter
Terribly sad news. Denzil, you were a true gentleman, a great sport, a fair and honest man, a caring and dedicated teacher, a loving and wonderful husband and father, a fantastic colleague, a loyal friend and a true Kingswoodian. He shall be sorely missed.

Neil Smuts
Such sad news my thoughts and prayers go out to all the family.

Roxanne Frans
Heartfelt condolences to the family.
Rest in peace Mr Fincham🤍

Gregory Bunyard
What a shock. So sorry to hear of Denzil’s passing. I have only good memories of him. Lots of love to Chick, Cathy, Jonty and Bruce. So sorry.

Mike Lesar
R.I.P. Denzil. Deepest condolences to all the family.

Rob Glynis Moss
What a wonderful man, our 3 children loved him. Huge condolences to Chick and family. RIP Denzel you will be sorely missed.

Elspe Scheepers
Condolences to the family Denzil will always be remembered as a true gentleman and for his humour RIP

Nicola Jean Sharp
So Sad to hear this. Sending so much love to his family. Such Fond memories of Mr Fincham ❤️

Elmarie Retief
I am at a loss of words. So many precious memories working alongside Denzil – my first interview at KC Junior, Cafe Cabaret, a marketing trip to Botswana and so many more. Never giving up until the Chapel clock was fixed. My thoughts and prayers go to Chick, Catherine. Bruce and Jonty. A big tree has fallen in our forest. 💜

Kathy Rodger
Always soo much laughter when Mr Finch was around. My thoughts and prayers are with you Mrs Finch, Cath, Jonny and Bruce.

Letta KN Bingana
Our Condolences to the Family and to KCS! I remember when my son arrived at Kingswood for the Junior School and he assured me that whatever talent my son had; they will unearth it! My son is a seasoned Trumpet Jazz Musician and his talent was indeed unearthed at Kingswood! May Mr Fincham’s soul rest in eternal peace! 🌺🙏🏾

Jenny Thomas
Such sad news, sending love and condolences to the family ❤️

Nikki Daniels
Such terribly sad news.. RIP Denzel.. Sincere condolences Chick and the family, sending love and strength 🙏❤️

Shane Hale
So sorry to hear this very sad news. A brilliant colleague and the finest schoolmaster. Our love and thoughts to all the family🥰

Mark George Truscott
This is really sad news. Mr. Fincham was a true legend, interested in our lives, always enquiring how the old Kingswoodians were doing. he was a kind, genuine, and really funny Man. My condolences to Bruce, Chick, Cath, and Jonty. I will miss you Sir!

Glen Avon Farm
I first met Denzil in 1961, my senior by a year or two. How wonderful it was to have our 4 sons under his care. Condolences to Chicks and family. Bill Brown.

Kiran Ranchhod
Condolences to the family. MHSRIP🙏

Whyllaine Ferraro
Condolences to the Finch am family. May he rest in peace

Carol Freeman
My thoughts to Chick & family.
A Kingswood Legend xxxxx

Moira Stirk
So sad.Deepest sympathy to all the family

Bomber Kent
What an amazing man and incredible asset to Kingswood in all the years he was involved as a teacher, Junior head and loyal OK, I will miss you my friend

Siyabonga Sulani
Great leader in deed❤️❤️❤️

Hilton Sinclair
Sorry to the sad new of Denzil’s passing, what a wonderful person he was. Thoughts and prayers go out to the Fincham family.

Natalie Lee
Condolences to the family 😢🙏

Neil McCune
Condolences to the family and friends RIP Denzil

Trevor Cohen
Such a big loss to all of us. Such a terrible year. May he RIP. Condolences to all and especially the family.
That last paragraph of the last hymn we sung at Commem rings louder and louder the older we get.
Till we meet, Till we meet.

Nicky Moore
My heart aches for his family. He was the BEST teacher ever. Definitely brought out the best in me. Can still remember him shouting from across the street “Tricky Wicks” 🥺

Wilna Pittaway
Oh Denzi you will be so missed. Very loved by your colleagues and children alike. My children adored you. Now YOU are the ‘bright shining star’ as you always said to us. Deepest condolences to Chick and family. RIP dearest Denzi 😇

Eleanor Hartley Anderton
Sincere condolences to the family & friends

John Lees
What a sad loss for the Kingswood community! I knew Denzil first as a parent at the Junior School while I was Headmaster and I never hesitated for a moment when he asked me if he could join the staff. A thoroughly professional and deeply caring teacher he was a huge asset to the school and I was not surprised to hear when he was appointed Headmaster himself. My deepest condolences go to Chick and their three children. He will be sorely missed!

Wayne van Heerden
Sad news indeed!
Rest in peace & sincere condolences to the family🙏🏻

Debbie Handley Kent
Denz will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him ! He was a wonderful colleague, family man and school master and we were all so lucky to have him at Kingswood for so many years 💛 he was loved by pupils and staff for his kindness, compassion and great sense of fun! Sending so much love to Chick, Jonty, Cath , Bruce and families 💔

Kim Barnard
So sad, what a legend he was! Condolences to the family. X

Candice Thomson
So very sad, he was a wonderful man.

Nicky Roselt
Condolences to the family. He was a brilliant teacher.

Richard Argent
So sad to hear this, you will be sorely missed. Condolences to the family

Garrick Bowker
This is such sad news. Mr Fincham will be sadly missed. My thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Mrs Fincham, Cath, Jonty and Bruce. Strength to all of you 🙏🏻

Anuj Mathur
Condolences to the Fincham family. thoughts and prayers

Shareen Methven
RIP Denzil
Deepest sympathy to All xx

Yolanda Cooper
Rest well Mr Fincham. My kids simply adored you. Much love to the family.

Nompucuko Nodada
One of my fav teachers for my kids💗What a warm personality, for him it was inborn trait to show love and care of people. When he greets, he looks at you and ask about the kids/ family. Handsome and kind😂, he still looked the same even in his old age. Rest in eternal Peace Mr Fincham⭐️

Brenden Kent
Such sad news. I was lucky enough to spend a fair bit of time at their house. Key memory is of us winning a cricket match and Mr Fincham taking us all to his place for an ad-hoc pool party. The word ‘Legend’ is thrown around a lot, but Mr Fincham was just that. Love to Chick and the family

Andre Wille
What an absolutely wonderful man and asset to Kingswood and Grahamstown!

Heather Boman
So sorry. Condolences to the family. Always such a lovely man.

Lynne Benyon Cordner
So so sorry to hear this sad news 💐

Kath Jackson
Such sad news. Sending my condolences to the family xx ❤️

Gzmix Mix
Condolences to the Fincham family.”I’ve watched his hand bled since i got to KC in 1991 to 1992 in junior school.Many of us would remember this”.R.I.P Sir

Louisa Kruger
It was such a pleasure to be on the same staff as Denzil for so many years. RIP

Charles John
RIP Denzil! Condolences to the family of this wonderful person! 🙏🙏🙏

Alistair-John Collier
Yes a true legend but also a giant that contributed to raising Kingswood to the heights it is today. RIP

Mark Stuart Fletcher
Quite a shock to hear this sad news laat night! Condolences to Chick and his family.

Harry Laing
Condolences to the family MHDSRIP

Ronald Laxton
Condolences to the Fincham family, and to all in the Kingswood community. RIP Denzil.

Carmen Remsing
Condolences to the Fincham family!

Marcus Dayton
I will always remember how Mr Fincham ate chalk to entertain us in class and his big smile when teaching us how to sing or act in a play. He was an incredible teacher and charismatic individual. Thank you for sharing these traits with us all. Rest in peace you lovely human.

Anne Skelton
RIP Denzil. What a genuine educator who made everyone feel so special. My son has never forgotten how you welcomed him into Kingswood. Love and strength to Chick, Cath, Jonny and Bruce.

Nomkhitha Gysman
What a loss😲 😱 Our condolences and love to the Fincham family. Head master of my 2 boys Zimasa Gysman Makube Gysman MHBSRIP 💔💔🙏🏾

Kim Williams
GIF may contain Goodnight My Angel

Yolanda Cooper
Blake Cooper

Eiona Rathbone
Condolences to the Fincham family.

Margie Thomas
A true friend and a loyal Old Kingswoodian in every possible way. Chick, Cath, Jonty and Bruce, our love and condolences to you all. RIP Denz – you will never be forgotten. Love to all the Fincham family from all the Thomas family.

Andrew Stevens

Alan Pike
Our deepest Condolences to all the family, RIP Denz. You are all in our thoughts & prayers.

Michael Burgess
Yes, he was great, and he will be sadly missed. And what a true legend he was.

Rosalie Anne Turner
Very very sad news! Our sincere condolences to the Fincham Family. Certainly one of KC’s great men! Loved by all who met him. Parents & pupils alike. He always wore a smile & had time for everyone. He certainly will be missed.

Sandi Randall Van Riet
RIP 😢 Denzil you where an amazing, kindhearted man. My condolences to all your loved ones.

Diana Gardner
A special friend and neighbour for many years. My deepest sympathy and love to Chick and family on their very sad loss.

Pieter Burger
so so sad to hear this . Mr Fincham was such a awesome person and always positive. RIP Mr Fincham 🙏

Susan Skipper
So sorry to hear this. Denzil was a much-loved colleague, teacher and headmaster. Always with a smile on his face and a cheerful word. My love and prayers to all his family at this very sad time. ❤️

Lunga Shongwe
Aww sad news indeed. Rest easy Mr Fincham🙏🏽

Nina Wax
Isn’t it strange how some people just enter your mind? He did just that the other day… an amazing role model, not only to my child but to me as well. I will never forget this gentle man and his loving and caring family. Thank you for being a part of my life 🖤
Rest in Peace 🕊️
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal ~ Love leaves a memory no one can steal. [Inscription on an old Irish tombstone]

Liz Hermse
Such a lovely photo of Denzil!! Sad news to wake up to but he left a great legacy – he really cared for people, especially the children at Kingswood Junior. He knew how to have fun. My sympathy to his whole family 💔💔

Shaleeni Ranchhod
What a loss