Senzo Meyiwa, the captain of South Africa’s national football team, was clearly a popular and talented player whose star was on the rise.
So when South Africans woke up to the news that the 27-year-old goalkeeper had been shot and killed in what appears to be an attempted robbery at his girlfriend’s house on Sunday evening, it is little surprise that there was an explosion of grief.
Television stations provided blanket coverage. The presidency quickly offered its condolences, with President Jacob Zuma saying “the law enforcement authorities must leave no stone unturned in finding his killers.”
At a hastily arranged press conference, Riah Phiyega, the national police chief, announced there was a R250,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the killers. Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, the national football coach, broke down in tears as he recalled a young man who was “was a team player, he was everything.”
The sad truth is that fast on the back of the Oscar Pistorius trial, a promising, young life has been lost in tragic circumstances, while South Africa once again draws international attention for all the wrong reasons.Read more
When US President Barack Obama swept into a packed university auditorium at a campus in Soweto township and addressed his youthful audience, he spoke of a “more prosperous, more confident” Africa. It was, he said, “a region on the move.” He then handed over the baton to young Africans, giving them their chance to probe him at the “town hall”-style gathering at the “Young African Leaders Initiative.” And they did not disappoint.
They may have been addressing the world’s most powerful leader, a man whose election as the US’s first black president inspired a wave of optimism across the continent, but the youngsters from South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya – the birthplace of Obama’s father – showed few signs of nerves and certainly no deference. Rather they displayed an articulate confidence – one that reflects the aspirations of a youthful continent that is increasingly enjoying a more prominent role on the global stage. Read more
The “exclusive” footage by SABC, South Africa’s state broadcaster, was rich in content as the country’s top leaders chuckled to the background of clicking and flashing cameras.
There was President Jacob Zuma, his shirt undone at the neck, looking relaxed and carefree. His deputy in the ruling African National Congress, Cyril Ramaphosa, appeared equally jovial and casual.
But there was one major problem – the centrepiece of the clip, Nelson Mandela, looked anything but happy. Rather, the revered former liberation leader and South Africa’s first black president stared vacantly into the distance, frail and apparently unaware of the commotion around him.
The result was the unseemly spectacle of a bunch of politicians parading themselves around an old man lauded as a national treasure, causing a storm of outrage to erupt on social media.
Gideon became chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times in July 2006. He joined the FT after a 15-year career at The Economist, which included spells as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington and Bangkok. He also edited The Economist’s business and Asia sections.
His particular interests include American foreign policy, the European Union and globalisation.