The other Senzo Meyiwa

2014-11-03 06:00

Senzo Meyiwa was a kind-hearted man who was full of energy, drive and fire to live, love and play soccer.

He was a man who loved and cherished his parents and was approachable by all who needed help. Random taxi drivers said that whenever they saw Senzo, they would chat about soccer and Orlando Pirates and how the South African team would fare in their next encounter.

The goalie was loved by all, including his team-mates, who cried openly and didn’t hide their emotions in the days after his death because they loved this man. His coaches loved him too because he was always upbeat and had the team spirit that every coach wants to instill in their players.

Senzo was a remarkable citizen who the country should look up to, said Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula at Saturday’s funeral in Durban, and many others echoed these sentiments.

Senzo was all the things mentioned above – but he was not the saint he’s been portrayed as.

He destroyed a woman’s life and hurt his children deeply. He cheated on his wife repeatedly until he could no longer hide his feelings for his lover. He shamed her in front of the nation. He was not a man who took care of his home and ensured that no harm would come to the woman he claimed to love when he asked for her hand in marriage. He brought shame upon his lover and curses upon her, too.

There was nothing hero-like or giant-like or amazing when he tarnished these women’s lives. Now people want to call his lover all sorts of names, tweeting during the week that she’d better not show her face at the funeral – or else.

She, the tweets say, is a bitch, a home wrecker, a curse. But Senzo is somehow still the hero here.

In an interview, Senzo was asked how he met the songstress.

He said he had seen her on TV and thought she was beautiful and he had to have her. This was a man who was married and had children. This was a man whose wife loved him and did not betray his name or that of his family. But he was watching TV and decided that he wanted another woman – how is that heroic?

At no point was anyone appalled that Senzo left his home to seek out another woman. He did this openly and publicly, with his wife having to bear the brunt of taunts that she was just not good enough for him – what was wrong with her that she could not keep a man? That is what he did to her life and dignity.

What about his children, who have to play and interact with others and are ridiculed for their father’s infidelity that played out nastily in the media?

These children had to deal with their father being a two-faced man: the sought-after goalie who led the nation’s team, and also the person who gambled with their future, their dignity and their relationships.

A man protects his family, protects his children from harm of any kind. He brought harm to their doorstep and continued to push it into their house.

This is a man who lied about his marriage to get his lover – who then fell pregnant, which broke his family’s world apart.

But he didn’t stop.

He kept lying to his wife, saying he had left his lover. He went public asking for the nation to believe that he was a changed man. He was never going to change. He would continue to hurt the people he loved. His father begged him to change his ways, his best friend who married him off begged him to reconsider and think of his marriage vows, but because Senzo was so magnificent, he wanted to continue to shame his family.

Now he has been shot and killed like many other South Africans were last week. The nation stood still and mourned.

The same woman he disrespected, shamelessly, is supposed to sit on a mat in a dingy room and mourn his death.

It’s not as if the entire nation supports patriarchy, bigotry, sexism and bull served up on a silver platter. Senzo was a good goalie, maybe even a great one. He represented the nation just six times. He was an adulterer who brought vultures and scavengers into his home to tear his family apart.

*The women in his life are not named. They have done nothing wrong – they just loved Senzo Meyiwa.

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