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‘Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star’ sparks curiosity ahead of the murder trial

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With the trial of the five suspects in the murder of Bafana Bafana captain, Senzo Meyiwa, set to start on Monday, ’Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star’ couldn’t have been more timeous with its release.

‘Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star’. Picture: Netflix

WITH the trial of the five suspects in the murder of Bafana Bafana captain, Senzo Meyiwa, set to start on Monday, April 11, “Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star” couldn’t have been more timeous with its release.

Knowing that this would be a huge talking point, I binge-watched the five-part Netflix documentary when it started streaming on Thursday.

My curiosity, shared by millions of fans plagued by unanswered questions and conspiracy theories, centred on how respected director Sara Blecher, and executive producers Thandi Davids, Neil Brandt and Tendeka Matatu, tackled the narrative around this high-profile case.

Senzo was at the pinnacle of his career when he passed away from a fatal gunshot on October 26, 2014.

The 27-year-old soccer star, who was an ace goalkeeper and, later, captained Orlando Pirates, was to lead Bafana Bafana to victory at the Afcon games when he was slain.

It was alleged that two robbers entered the Vosloorus home of Kelly Khumalo’s mother Ntombi, demanding money and cell phones. An altercation ensued and Meyiwa, who was one of several people in the house, was shot.

According to reports, Kelly’s son Christian (a toddler at the time), her daughter with Meyiwa, Thingo, her sister Zandie, her mother Ntombi, Longwe Twala (Chicco Twala’s son) and Meyiwa’s friends, Mthokozisi Thwala and Tumelo Madlala, were in the house at the time of the incident.

Kelly Khumalo arrives at the house were Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain Senzo Meyiwa has died after being shot in Vosloorus during a robbery. Picture: Itumeleng English

The opening sequence pays homage to the soccer icon.

In the first episode, Blecher pieces together the events of that transpired on that fateful day. With the use of graphics, she gives viewers an overview of the layout of the home where the crime took place.

And she uses documented eyewitness accounts of what transpired, coupled with first-hand accounts by those closest to Senzo as well as Kelly.

There is plenty of raw footage, media footage, breaking news inserts and commentary from media, law enforcement, the sports fraternity as well as the TV industry, namely Robert Marawa and Bonga Percy Vilakazi.

Blecher unpacks Senzo and Kelly’s love story, which initially started out as a conquest for the soccer player. Unbeknown to Kelly, he was married to Mandisa, with who he had a child.

While the love triangle grabbed media headlines, Senzo’s feelings for Kelly saw him eventually move in with her.

It was something that his parents were not happy about, more so as it brought chaos to their traditional Zulu lifestyle. Sadly, his grief-stricken father Sam passed away waiting for justice to be served.

His mother Gertrude, still visibly inconsolable as she relived the trauma of losing her son, continues the fight with the help of Afriforum and Advocate Gerrie Nel, who is known for being a ’bulldog’ in the courtroom.

There were a few things that came up in this docu-series that will raise eyebrows. One being the discrepancies in Longwe’s account of where his cellphone was on the night in question.

According to a police official, Kelly’s body language and attitude when she was questioned didn’t align with someone who had lost her partner.

Her phone call to Chicco fed into a rumour that Senzo tried to intervene in a row between Longwe and Zandie. Ntombi’s description of one of the suspects led to the false arrest of a guy who washed Senzo’s car and was known to the family.

Blecher also approaches the subject of there being a cover-up and bribery involved.

Of course, there are no answers here – the trial is yet to happen.

But what ’Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star’ does do – and commendably well I would like to add – is weave a narrative that paints an equitable overview of a true-life tragedy that has haunted Mzansi for six years.

The wheels of justice have turned slowly and now all eyes are on the trial to ensure that justice is served.

“Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star” is streaming on Netflix.

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