‘Senzo Meyiwa was a comedian, who never took anything too seriously’

2014-10-28 00:00

A JOKER and a comedian. That is how Senzo Meyiwa’s colleague, friend and business partner Eugene Sikhumbuzo will remember the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper.

Sikhumbuzo co-owned the Jamarie Sports Academy in Umlazi with Meyiwa, an organisation that was very close to the Orlando Pirates star’s heart right up until the day he died. Jamarie was previously named London Cosmos, the club where it all began for Meyiwa before his move to Pirates in his early teens.

“I was talking to him [Meyiwa] just last week,” Sikhumbuzo told The Witness yesterday. “We were discussing a tour for our U19s to Johannesburg, where they would play against Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Wits U19s.”

Those talks included a potential name change to the Jamarie and Meyiwa Sports Academy, what would now be an appropriate tribute.

Amid his thriving international and club career, Meyiwa had relinquished the hands-on running of Jamarie to Sikhumbuzo, though his passion for youth development in the town of his birth never wavered.

“He was obviously very busy, but he used to support the academy financially,” said Sikhumbuzo. “He would visit regularly. Just two weeks ago, he called about a sponsor that he had secured. He was always very passionate about this project.”

Sikhumbuzo recalls a time when Meyiwa was just 13 and was called up to play for the London Cosmos senior side at a tournament.

“We knew then that he was something special,” said the current chairperson of the Umlazi Football Association.

His memories of a young Meyiwa remain vivid and he has been a close friend of the family for many years.

“He was a clown, always joking and never taking anything too seriously,” said Sikhumbuzo. “You could even see that in his professional career at Pirates.”

Upon hearing the news, Sikhumbuzo was distraught.

“I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t believe it. It took me an hour to register what had happened,” he said. “I spoke to his sister on the phone. Sometimes when you hear or see something on the TV, you still don’t believe it, you need to hear it from someone.”

Sikhumbuzo was on his way to the Meyiwa family home in Umlazi yesterday morning to offer his support.

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