Lindani Myeni laid to rest but fight for justice rages on
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Durban - A physically-distanced hall of funeral goers dressed in black said their final goodbyes to Lindani Myeni on Saturday.
Myeni’s family, his wife Lindsay, children and his parents attended the funeral held at eSikhaleni TVET College in Empangeni, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Upon arriving at the venue the hearse was met by a band and bagpiper that played as Myeni’s coffin was carried into the funeral hall.
The white coffin stood before the congregation of mourners with a backdrop of lit candles and wreaths in front of the stage where stories were shared and condolences conveyed.
Myeni, 29, a mechanical engineer and former professional rugby player, was gunned down by Honolulu police officers in the US following a scuffle on April 19.
Police allege he entered a home, exhibiting strange behaviour, and proceeded to take off his shoes and made himself comfortable, leading the homeowners to believe they were in danger.
Responding to an alleged robbery in progress, officers found Myeni on the premises and attempted to make an arrest, which eventually resulted in his demise.
A 10-minute 911 call, made by a female,who claimed not to know Myeni, has since been made public by the police officers. His family said his killing was racially motivated and are now suing both the police department and the city.
Lindsay took to the stage and called up Myeni’s brother for support as she spoke about her late husband.
“Nobody wanted to speak because there is nothing you will understand from what they say about how good of a man he was, or how giving or fun he was. If he was here he would burst in barefoot and singing. He was so many things to so many people and you cannot begin to try and describe him or fill the spot that has been left behind, but to me, he was my home and my safety,” Lindsay said.
She said he was her king and never wanted his memory to end.
“I know we will all be okay with time but I needed to know he was okay and God has sent me signs to say that he is. He has changed the world forever and taught us that we have to see each other as equals.”
Speaking on behalf of the provincial government, Neliswa Nkonyeni, MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, condemned Myeni’s murder saying there was evidence dated back to the days of the trans-Atlantic slave trade of black people treated as soulless sub-human beings.
“We are gathered here to pay our last respects to Lindani, a victim of a racist inspired war, which threatens to rage like an inferno,” she said.
“His death must not be seen as just another isolated racist and systemic incident, it should be viewed within the context of the USA’s politics of domination and racially motivated exclusions, an unwritten policy that criminalises blackness.”
Nkonyeni called for those responsible to be punished while comforting his young widow.
“As we lay Lindani to rest today, we promise that we shall never rest on our laurels until those who killed him are brought to book. Justice must be served, his death must not become a statistic; it should never be in vain.”