Scores of soccer supporters started arriving at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday morning to attend the funeral of Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa.
Donning their sport regalia, mostly dressed in Orlando Pirates colours, the team that Meyiwa captained and played for in the Premier Soccer League, fans were singing and dancing as they waited for the gates to the stadium to open.
Vuvuzelas and drums accompanied the singing.
Pirates flags and banners bearing the words “Rest in Peace Senzo Meyiwa” were held high in the air. The gloomy weather in Durban did not deter the high-spirited supporters, determined to bid their captain farewell.
Meyiwa was shot and killed on Sunday evening in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni while visiting his girlfriend, actress and singer Kelly Khumalo. Two men entered the house, demanding cellphones, and shot him before fleeing.
On Saturday morning Ntsakiso Kubayi said he took a bus from Johannesburg to Durban to bid Meyiwa, his “inspiration”, farewell.
“I’m here to pay my last tribute to Meyiwa. He inspired me a lot. Every time we were at the stadium he would tell us to cheer up. For me he was Orlando Pirates,” he said.
“I have lost a legend, the greatest footballer in South Africa… I have lost someone so important,” he said.
Kubayi said Meyiwa’s death was not only a loss for Pirates but the nation as a whole.
“He was a leader for both teams and they will have to work hard to replace [him] and find continuity,” he said.
Fans were given t-shirts bearing Meyiwa’s face.
Inside the stadium, singing fans were wearing regalia from an assortment of soccer clubs.
Some carried placards that read “Rest in Peace Meyiwa” and “Hambe Kahle [Good Bye]”.
All around the inside of the stadium event organisers had placed numerous photos of the slain soccer star.
A stage had been erected at one end with a marquee set up for VIPs.
Police sniffer dogs carried out a search of the stadium before the official guests arrived.
Metro police were monitoring roads leading to the stadium, with traffic cones being set out.
On Friday, a man appeared in court in connection with Meyiwa’s murder.
Gauteng police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said: “[On Thursday], after receiving very positive information about a number of
suspects, we conducted an identity parade during which some of the
witnesses positively identified one person.”
The 25-year-old Vosloorus resident, Zenokuhle Mbatha, was arrested and charged on the basis of the positive identification.
The National Prosecuting Authority said Mbatha would appear in court again on November 11 when he was expected to apply for legal aid.SAPA