A wave of insensitivity

2014-11-06 00:00

THE father of murdered soccer star Senzo Meyiwa said he had found the recent Twitter memes of him waving to mourners at his son’s funeral to be in bad taste.

Samuel Meyiwa, father of the Bafana Bafana captain who was killed in a botched robbery two weeks ago, created a Twitter frenzy after he greeted funeral goers with open arms.

Meyiwa was driven into Moses Mabida Stadium where his son’s funeral was held and greeted the massive crowd with arms wide open as he leaned out of the car window.

According to Meyiwa, what was a heartfelt greeting from a mourning father was turned into string of hurtful memes from South Africans all over the country, bearing the hashtag #NotSenzosDad.

Samuel said he did not understand why South Africans were posting pictures of themselves re-enacting his acknowledgement of the crowd and that it was very insensitive.

“I was showing people how much I love my son and thanking them for their support.

“People are just like that, it’s stupid and I don’t know how they think. They have all taken it the wrong way,” said an audibly upset Meyiwa.

Senzo’s brother, Sifiso Meyiwa said he hadn’t known about the pictures and memes until yesterday and found the photos to be in extremely bad taste.

“This is very bad. They must stop doing this,” said Sifiso.

Sunday Times photographer Alon Skuy, who took the picture of Senzo’s father leaning out the car at Saturday’s funeral service told the newspaper’s website Times Live that he was surprised how it had became a humorous meme on Twitter and Instagram. While others had found humour in the image, he saw a man humbled and grateful for the support his son received.

Durban University of Technology student, Khethukuthula Lambethe said although it was not a traditional Zulu funeral greeting, the matter of the trending photos was out of hand.

“It’s taking away the focus on what really happened and the real issues that should be trending around the Senzo Meyiwa death. The pictures are a mockery,” said Lambethe.

However, not all South Africans have taken to tweeting the Samuel Meyiwa pose to mock Senzo’s grieving father.

“The nation has been mourning for the past week and it is depressing for SA when we look at the crime and this was something to cheer us all up.

“The trend came at the right time and I know Senzo’s father is going through a big loss but I hope he sees this in a good light. This is definitely not to mock him,” said Johannesburg tweeter, Thapelo Mokoena.

The pictures on Twitter have gained a huge following as people posted photos of themselves sitting in washing machines, trains and donkey carts, striking Samuel Meyiwa’s pose.

There has been divided reactions to the pictures of Samuel with some describing the memes as “hilarious,” and others saying the pictures, “are extremely disrespectful.”

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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