Cape Town - More than 1200 riders took part in a mass ride from the Brackenfell Hypermarket to Killarney International Raceway in honour of murdered motorcyclist Zelda van Niekerk on Saturday morning.
They came on scooters, cruisers, superbikes and adventure tourers, from most of Cape Town’s mainstream clubs, as well as hundreds of riders who simply wanted to add their voices to the growing swell of outrage at the unprovoked attack on Van Niekerk under the railway bridge over the N1 at Century City on Friday evening, 28 September, that left her dying and every motorcyclist at risk whenever they stop alongside the road from now on, whatever the reason.
The riders and their partners, and Van Niekerk’s family and friends, filled the hall at the Killarney clubhouse to ‘standing room only’ and spilled out onto the terrace, for the service, conducted by Ds. Elmarie Dercksen, who spoke of Van Niekerk as somebody who came to terms with her failings and lived life on her own terms.
We all make mistakes, Dercksen said; learn not to judge yourself and you won’t judge others, especially when their weaknesses mirror our own.
Ilana Meyerling read a poem written by Retha Loock, a friend of Van Niekerk, on the night of the murder, in a voice that trembled with emotion as deep and heartfelt as that conveyed by Loock’s words.
Then co-convenor of Zelda’s Ride, Linlee Solms took to the stage to remind the riders that Van Niekerk’s greatest strengths were her concern for others less privileged than herself, her absolute loyalty to her biking friends and the Bikers for a Cause movement she had recently founded, her love for Suzuki Katana motorcycles and her irrepressible sense of humour. Zelda, she said, could always make you laugh.
The laughter stopped and the anger resurfaced, however, when Solms’ co-convenor, Jaco Wessels, told the riders it was time to push back against the wave of violent crime sweeping South Africa. Bikers, he said, were not so much as minority as a microcosm of South Africa, representing every colour, every age group, every religion and every background of our population. When bikers stand up and say, “Enough is enough”, they speak for all South Africa.
But, he said, it is we who have failed South Africa; the only reason the alleged killers of Van Niekerk were apprehended, was because members of their community who knew what had happened informed the authorities. It’s up to us, he said, to make that call, to report that crime, to make it impossible for gangsters to rule our streets, by exposing their every move.