THE BEST OF 2021 | He returned to Hawaii for me – then he was killed: Lindani Myeni’s widow opens up

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The family were living in Hawaii when Lindani Myeni was killed. (PHOTO: Facebook)
The family were living in Hawaii when Lindani Myeni was killed. (PHOTO: Facebook)

They’d wanted to settle in SA but had to go back to the US because her visa had expired – then police shot and killed her husband.

“It bothers me that Lindani had only gone back to America for me. It’s a horrible feeling. He never dreamed of living in America,” says Lindsay Myeni, the American widow of SA rugby player Lindani Miyeni who was killed in a police shooting in April in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hawaiian police shot Lindani (29) on 14 April after guests staying at a private residence called authorities because they thought Lindani was a home invader. Lindani was working as an estate agent in Hawaii.

Lindsay say Lindani, who is originally from KwaZulu-Natal, had mistaken the home for the next-door temple, which is open to the public. New video footage from the home’s security camera backs Lindsay’s version that Lindani had mistaken it for a place of worship.

READ MORE | Heartbroken family of SA rugby player Lindelani Myeni who was shot dead in Hawaii speak out about wanting answers

In the video, Lindani can be seen wearing a traditional Zulu headdress, which Lindsay says he wore only when he went to church or visited a temple. The video also shoes how Lindani, who’d followed the couple – who were on holiday – into the home, emerges a few minutes later, puts on his shoes and leaves. He’d removed his footwear before entering, as one would for a temple.

Lindsay says she knew from the outset her “gentle” husband wouldn’t have had bad intentions. 

“In the days before the shooting, Lindani received life-changing news. He discovered the man he’d thought was his father was actually his uncle. His real dad was the chief of their community – he was actually a Zulu prince,” Lindsay says.

Lindani wedding
Lindani and Lindsay and their wedding party on their wedding day. (PHOTO: Facebook)

The couple have two children: a son, Nsizwakyise (2), and a daughter, Nandi (seven months). 

The family had spent the morning of the shooting together and went for a drive. They had also visited the palace of the Hawaiian queen Emma on Oahu. After they got home, Lindani said he wanted to go for a drive to process everything he’d found out about his family.

“I told him to stay because I’d cooked. I kissed him goodbye, and that was our last interaction,” Lindsay says.

She called him a short while later to ask where he was and Lindani had assured her he’d be home soon. But he was shot dead less than 30 minutes after the phone call.

Lindsay and Lindani met in Durban in 2016 while she was visiting SA doing charity work.

“We hit it off from the start. He was so attentive and had this energy that attracted people to him,” Lindsay says.

They kept in touch over the next six months while she travelled to other countries as part of an outreach programme she was involved in. Then she joined Lindani in Durban.

After the wedding, the couple lived in America for six months so that Lindani could get to know his in-laws. But, Lindsay says, they were both homesick for SA and missed “the friendly, loving people”.

The family had to return to the US in January because Lindsay had overstayed her visa by eight days. She’s in the process of applying for residency in SA and hopes she can raise their children here.

Lindani wife
It was love at first sight when Lindani and Lindsay met in 2016. (PHOTO: Facebook)

She hopes the tragedy can lead to reform in police actions in Hawaii.

“I think there needs to be an about-turn in how police behave and what they can be called for. The person who called the police laid a false charge. But where the police are concerned, they should’ve also have realised they didn’t have to shoot at someone.”

The investigation into Lindani's death continues.

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