DURBAN – THE widow of the late Lindani Myeni is seeking assistance from the government in order to obtain South African citizenship.
Lindsay, who is an American citizen, was speaking after her husband’s memorial service held at eMpangeni Rugby Club yesterday.
Myeni was shot dead by Honolulu police in the US island state of Hawaii three weeks ago. He had moved to the island early last year with his wife and children.
According to the Hawaiian police, Myeni was shot dead when officers were responding to a “home burglary”. It is alleged that when the police arrived at the scene, a scuffle occurred between Myeni and three officers outside a home.
More than 200 people gathered at the rugby club for the memorial service for Myeni, whose remains arrived in the country last Friday. The service was attended by senior local and provincial government officials, including KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala.
Lindsay said she had no intention of going back to the US as she was concerned about the safety of her two children. “I have to do what is best for me and my children. I need to consult with the South African government to get citizenship, so that I can stay in my children’s home country even without my husband.
“We always wanted the flexibility to be in whichever country the children would prosper in the most. For their future, it would be awesome as well to get assistance with their education so that they can study in the country.”
She said that since her arrival, Myeni’s family, friends and neighbours had been welcoming, loving and supportive.
“Right now I feel like this is the safest country for my children. I don’t want to raise them in a country that is clearly not safe and considers them ‘black’. I know my husband’s death is going to hit hard after the funeral, which is why I need to decide what I am going to do with the kids.”
An emotional Lindsay could not take her eyes off the programme pamphlet for the memorial service which bore pictures of her and her husband’s wedding day. Her emotions were shared by other mourners, including Myeni’s former rugby teammates and classmates, who wept throughout the service.
Myeni’s grandmother, Ntombi Shushu, said from a young age, Myeni was a respectful and disciplined child.
“He loved his home, and we also loved him. When he left for the US for the first time, I cried because I feared that he would be treated as a foreigner. It was always fun to have Lindani around.”
Myeni’s friend, Celester Asuega, described Myeni as a soft-spoken “gentle giant” who cared about his family. “He was not only just my friend, but he was my brother as well. He was a beautiful soul, who always lifted people’s spirits up. His death has truly left a big hole inside my heart,” he said.
The Zululand Rugby Union also handed over Myeni’s team jersey to the family.
Zikalala assured the family that the government would not rest until justice prevailed.
“We also pray for former US president Barack Obama’s mediation – who hails from Hawaii – in bringing the killers of Lindani to book. To Mrs Myeni and the children, may you be comforted, and please know that KZN will always be home to you and the citizens of America.
“Those who killed Lindani want us to believe that he was a violent man. But those who were near and dear to Lindani tell us a different story. They tell of a young man who hated violence and was passionate about peace and progress,” said Zikalala.
Myeni is to be laid to rest tomorrow at uMfolozi Tvet College, Esikhawini.
Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said that Lindsay Myeni was welcome to apply for citizenship.
“Her application will be considered in line with all applicable laws and thereafter she’ll be advised of options which are appropriate for her.”