Lindani Myeni memorial: Zikalala urges US to pass laws to stop cop brutality
Share this article:
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala on Thursday called on the American government to ensure that legislation is passed in the US Senate to reform policing and prevent the indiscriminate murder of black people.
Zikalala was speaking at the memorial service of 29 year-old Lindani Myeni who was shot dead by American police in Honolulu, Hawaii, last month.
The slain former KZN club rugby player’s body arrived in South Africa from the US and he is set to be laid to rest on Saturday, three weeks after his death at the hands of American police.
Myeni’s death, captured on police body cameras, sent shock waves across South Africa and once again brought into sharp focus the unrelenting police brutality in the US.
Amongst mourners at Myeni’s memorial service were his wife Lindsey, children Nsizwa and Nandi, family, relatives, former rugby teammates and friends who had flown in from the US to pay their respects to the father of two.
Addressing mourners gathered at the Empangeni Rugby Football Club, Zikalala called for unity in denouncing the hostile manner of Myeni’s killing, adding that condemnation of his killing should be coupled with demanding swift justice to prevail and take its course.
“We add our voice in insisting that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 should see the light of the day in the US Senate to reform policing in that country and prevent killers behind a police badge get away with murder of black people.
“Yes, black lives matter. Yes, Lindani Myeni is one of our own and his life matters dearly to his family and to us as his nation,” Zikalala said.
Describing Myeni as a gentle giant who would not hurt fly, Zikalala said that at the young age of 29, Myeni still had had a lot to offer to his country and the world, had he not been killed untimely in the prime of his life.
“Those who took Lindani’s life want us to believe that he was a criminal and a violent man, but those who knew him intimately tell tales of a soft-spoken, gentle giant who was always considerate and compassionate.
“The gentle giant who would not hurt a fly, had his life cruelly taken away from him as if it was that of a hunted animal. It is unbelievable that this gentle giant, who strode the rugby fields and the valleys of eSikhaleni like a colossus, has ceased to walk,” Zikalala said.
Celeste Asuega, a US based Samoan friend of Myeni’s, paid a moving eulogy to Myeni, saying that although he had an intimidating physique, Myeni was a quiet and hard working individual and one of the warmest people he had come across.
“It didn’t take long for us to get along, as we both come from a similar culture. We became very close friends and enjoyed each other’s company and as many would agree today, Lindani was such a good friend, a beautiful soul, always lifted people up and never looked down on anyone,” Asuega said.
KZN Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi called for respect and racial tolerance amongst the various racial groups across the country.
“As we grow up, we believe that our children will be the ones that bury us but now we see that we bury our children under very unfortunate situations, hence we are saying that a South Africa that is going is to prosper should be a non-racial South Africa where all racial groups respect and give a right to other national groups to be part of this country,” Sithole-Moloi said.