Senzo Meyiwa

Senzo Meyiwa was a goalkeeper of the South African football club Orlando Pirates and the South African Senior Men’s National Team (Bafana Bafana). At the time of his death he had captained the national team in four consecutive matches under head coach Shakes Mashaba. In the 2015 Afcon qualifiers Senzo Meyiwa was yet to concede a goal.

Senzo Meyiwa
Born Senzo Robert Meyiwa
September 24, 1987
Umlazi, Durban
South Africa
Death October 26, 2014
Aged 27 years old
South Africa
Cause Gunshot Wound
Resting Place Heroes Acre
Chesterville, KZN
Wife Mandisa Meyiwa
2013-2014 (his death)
Children 3 daughters
Occupation Footballer
Height 1.75m

Playing Information

Club Orlando Pirates
Since 2005 – 2014
Position Goalkeeper
Number 1
Appearances 157

National Team

Team South Africa
Since 2013 – 2014
Number 1
Appearances 7

Youth Career

Club London Cosmos
Since Unknown
Club Orlando Pirates
Since 2002 – 2005

Senzo Meyiwa was born in Umlazi township situated in the south of the city of Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

He is the son of Samuel “Sam” Meyiwa (father) and Nombifuthi Meyiwa (mother).

Senzo Meyiwa was born a twin, his twin brother Siyabonga Meyiwa passed away before him although unclear when; the fact that he was born a twin was confirmed to the public on the day of his funeral after the funeral convoy went past his twin brother’s grave.

He also ha a sister, Nomalanga Meyiwa. She spoke at his funeral on behalf of the siblings.

Senzo Meyiwa began playing football at the South African  amateur club, London Cosmos.

He initially played as a striker in his youth for an Umlazi based amateur club London Cosmos. It was only after he switched to goalkeeping that he was first identified as a special talent.

In 2000 he was drafted into the KwaZulu-Natal provincial team, where he played in the Transnet Under-14 and Coca-Cola U-17 Inter-Provincial tournaments as a 13-year old.

It was through his participation in these tournaments that he was identified by scouts for  Orlando Pirates, who invited him to try out with the club’s development academy.

In 2002 Senzo Meyiwa joined Orlando Pirates youth structures.

On November 8, 2006 he made his first start for Orlando Pirates in a match against AmaZulu, Orlando Pirates went on to win that match 2-1.

Senzo Meyiwa was promoted to the senior team in 2005 but remained on the sidelines for years that followed.

Orlando Pirates had failed to win any official title since winning the league in the 2002/03 season.

In 2010, in the 2010/11 season under coach Rudd Krol, he had risen to number two at Orlando Pirates behind star goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs.

This would be a dream season for Senzo Meyiwa and his teammates at Orlando Pirates, they made history capturing three official PSL titles in a single season.

In the 2011/2012 season Rudd Krol departed and Júlio César Leal took over at Orlando Pirates, he picked up where Krol had left off winning the two official cups of the season.

During this period Senzo Meyiwa remained second after Josephs.

At the beginning of 2012, Leal departed and Augusto Palacios took over Meyiwa often played as when Josephs was sidelined by injuries.

At the conclusion of the 2011/12 season, Orlando Pirates had orchestrated a second treble in a row.

Augusto Palacios was kept as Orlando Pirates coach, he started the 2012/2013 season dismally, most notably losing 3-0 to Supersport United at Orlando Stadium in the 2012 MTN 8.

In September 2012, a little over a month after the season began, Roger De Sá was appointed new Orlando Pirates coach replacing Augusto Palacios who had held the position for half a season culminating in league glory.

Orlando Pirates had traveled to Bloemfontein where they played Bloemfontein Celtic at Free State Stadium, they were leading that match 3-1 with less than 5 minutes of regulation left.

Things began to unravel as Bloemfontein Celtic staged a dramatic comeback and eventually defeated Orlando Pirates on penalties – furthermore, Celtic went on to win the 2012 Telkom Knockout.

The dramatic defeat marked sweeping changes at Orlando Pirates; Moeneeb Josephs who got injured before the next match never returned – Senzo Meyiwa became Orlando Pirates‘ number one goal keeper.

Senzo Meyiwa tragically died on Sunday October 26, 2014 in Vosloorus in the East Rand in the Gauteng province after he was shot during an armed house robbery.

He was reportedly visiting his girlfriend, South African Afro-pop singer Kelly Khumalo, at her home.

On Thursday October 30, 2014 Senzo Meyiwa was remember along with two along fallen sports stars, runner Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and female Boxer Phindile Mwelase.

On Friday October 31, 2014 the KwaZulu-Natal government organized a memorial service of Meyiwa at Durban City Hall.

On Saturday November 1, 2014 the funeral service of Senzo Meyiwa took place at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

He was laid to rest at Heroes Acre in Chesterville, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


Orlando Pirates’ Number 1

In September 2012 Senzo Meyiwa became the first choice goalkeeper for Orlando Pirates when Moeneeb Josephs was injured, it was also speculated that Roger De Sá was not happy with the dramatic turn of events in a 2012 Telkom Knockout match against Bloemfontein Celtic at Free State Stadium.

Senzo Meyiwa with his Orlando Pirates teammatesIt was further speculated that it was the close relationship that Moeneeb Josephs and Benni McCarthy shared that further motivated Roger De Sá to sideline Moeneeb Josephs.

It is worth noting that at this point there had been so many calls for Senzo Meyiwa to move up ahead of Josephs.

The 2012/13 season went on break at the conclusion of 2012, at this point Orlando Pirates had lost it’s consistency. Sometimes winning by huge margins – departing from their tight and controlled style of play that often produced 1-0 victories.

At beginning of 2013 Senzo Meyiwa was called up to the Bafana Bafana camp by Gordon Igesund to form part of the 2013 African Cup of Nations squad.

At the conclusion of the 2013 Afcon, the 2012/13 Absa Premiership resumed and the 2013 CAF Champions League began.

Orlando Pirates destabilized by Roger De Sá’s sweeping changes and missing inspirational players like Lucky Lekgwathi and Benni McCarthy – they did their best.

Senzo Meyiwa playing a pivotal role in their continued fortunes at home and in the continental competition.

The 2012/13 season was dismal, Roger De Sá and his Orlando Pirates failed to defend all three trophies and finished a season with nothing and placed third on the league.

The 2013/14 season began, perhaps the most contrasting for Orlando Pirates. They were able to play every cup final (all in all four, including the 2013 CAF Champions League) but only succeeded in winning one (the 2014 Nedbank Cup).

Furthermore; Roger De Sá resigned as head coach and Vladimir Vermezović was installed as new head coach.

At the time of his death Senzo Meyiwa had played played in every single cup final since the 2013 MTN 8, all in all he had played in five consecutive cup finals with his Orlando Pirates.

Coach Vladimir Vermezović promoted Senzo Meyiwa to captain in the absence of captain fantastic Lucky Lekgwathi following a brief captaincy stint by Siyabonga Sangweni.

Senzo Meyiwa captained Orlando Pirates for the last time approximately 24 hours prior to his death.

It was in the 2014 Telkom Knockout quarter-final match against Ajax Cape Town (now under the guidance of Roger De Sá who promoted Senzo Meyiwa to number 1 when he was at Orlando Pirates) on Saturday October 25, 2014 at 20:15 at Orlando Stadium, Orlando East, Soweto in Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa that Senzo Meyiwa played his final football match.

On that night the rain poured down almost consistently throughout the match, Orlando Pirates, under the captaincy of Senzo Meyiwa overwhelmed Ajax Cape Town 4-1.

Ajax Cape Town’s goal came from a penalty, Senzo Meyiwa had gone the right direction but the ball was just out of his reach, hitting the upright on the left of Senzo Meyiwa and ricocheting back to the inside of the net.


2013 CAF Champions League and the Lubumbashi Nightmare

Orlando Pirates began the 2013 CAF Champions league in a spectacular fashion defeating Djabal Club 5-0 at Orlando Stadium in Orlando East, Soweto in South Africa and 4-0 at Stade Zikoumbini in Comoros.

Senzo Meyiwa 2013 CAF Champions League FinalThey followed up with a 1-0 away victory to Zanaco in Zambia and 2-1 victory at home.

Their next opponent was one of Africa’s most revered and feared clubs; TP Mazembe, perhaps a foregone conclusion that Orlando Pirates would not stand a chance.

Roger De Sá silenced his detractors with a 3-1 home victory at Orlando Stadium but the media maintained that Orlando Pirates was not going to survive the round as they were headed to Lubumbashi – there Senzo Meyiwa single-handedly guaranteed Orlando Pirates passage to the group stages in a match that has always been marred in controversy and enduring suspicion.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was not allowed to film and broadcast the match live, their journalists were detained, Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi was red carded and TP Mazembe was awarded two penalties.

Senzo Meyiwa stopped both penalties and restricted TP Mazembe’s victory to 1-0 further ensuring that Orlando Pirates secure a 3-2 victory on aggregate.

Senzo Meyiwa continued his good form through out the 2013 CAF Champions league campaign, including stopping a penalty in a 3-0 victory against Al Ahly at El-Gouna Stadium in Egypt.

That campaign culminated in a final defeat (3-1 on aggregate) against Al Ahly; 1-1 at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa and 2-0 at the Arab Contractors Stadium in Cairo, Egypt.


International Career

Senzo Meyiwa represented the South African Men’s National Team at Under 17, Under 20 and Under 23 levels before being called up to represent the South African Senior Men’s National Team.

Senzo Meyiwa was called up to the national team by Gordon Igesund for the 2013 African Cup of Nations which was held in South Africa. He did not make any appearances in that tournament.

Senzo Meyiwa and Shakes MashabaHe appeared on seven occasions in Bafana Bafana colours; in a match against Lesotho (came in as half-time substitute), Swaziland, Australia, Sudan, Nigeria and against Congo on two occasions – with the match played at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane in the Limpopo province in South Africa being his last.

When coach Shakes Mashaba took over form Gordon Igesund, he promoted Senzo Meyiwa to national team captain. Senzo Meyiwa captained Bafana Bafana for the first time against Sudan in a 3-0 victory at Al-Merreikh Stadium in Omdurman, Sudan.

Senzo Meyiwa also captained Bafana Bafana in a 0-0 draw against Nigeria at Cape Town Stadium, in a 2-0 victory against Congo at Stade Municipal de Pointe-Noire in Point Noire and in final match against Congo at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Limpopo, South Africa – that match ended in a goalless draw.

Senzo Meyiwa did not concede a any goals during the 2015 Afcon Qualifiers which he also captained.



2010 MTN8

2010/11 Absa Premiership

2011 MTN 8

2011/12 Absa Premiership

2011 Nedbank Cup

2011 Telkom Knockout

2014 Nedbank Cup

2008 Telkom Knockout runner-up

2010 Telkom Knockout runner-up

2013 MTN 8 runner-up

2013 Telkom Knockout runner-up

2013 CAF Champions League runner-up

2014 MTN 8 runner-up


Posthumous Honours

On Tuesday October 28, 2014 Chairman of Orlando Pirates football club, Dr. Irvin Khoza, announced that number 1, the number that Senzo Meyiwa used at Orlando Pirates, will be retired.

In future number 1 will not be used by any player at Orlando Pirates, Dr. Irvin Khoza was quoted saying “I don’t think anyone can replace Senzo and his jersey will never be worn by anyone else again”.

On November 7, 2014 it was reported that Senzo Meyiwa has been posthumously nominated for the CAF African Player of Year based in Africa.


Personal Life

Senzo Meyiwa and his wife MandisaSenzo Meyiwa met Mandisa Mkhize at Park Station in Johannesburg in 2005. The pair got engaged in October 2012 and later wed in a traditional ceremony on March 11, 2013.

Senzo Meyiwa was married to Mandisa Meyiwa (née Mkhize) until his death.

He had one daughter from a previous relationship and one daughter with his wife Mandisa.

In March 2014 Senzo Meyiwa welcomed his third child – a daughter named Thingo (Aphelele) Meyiwa, a first to his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo.

All in all Senzo Meyiwa had three daughters; Namhla Meyiwa, Nana Meyiwa and Thingo Meyiwa (Thing Aphelele Meyiwa).

  • Love Child

Shortly after Senzo Meyiwa was buried the Sunday Times reported that Senzo Meyiwa’s family learnt about his secret love child, a son of about 3-months-old (November 2014).

The Sunday Times reported that the Meyiwa family confirmed that they had met the baby and his mother shortly Senzo Meyiwa’s funeral.

The baby boy was born shortly after the birth of Thingo Aphelele Meyiwa, Senzo Meyiwa’s third daughter – first to Kelly Khumalo.

  • Relationship with Kelly Khumalo

Senzo Meyiwa had a publicized affair with South African musician and actress Kelly Khumalo who later bore his child.

He claimed to have seen her (presumably on TV) while watching the Feather Awards with his Orlando Pirates teammate Daine Klate while they were on Bafana Bafana camp in Cape Town.

On the Feather Awards Kelly Khumalo was with Lucia Mthiyane, whom Senzo Meyiwa knew – he called her and asked her to put them in contact. Although hesitant, Lucia Mthiyane phoned Kelly Khumalo to ask for permission.

Senzo Meyiwa claimed that Kelly Khumalo did not know that he was married until their relationship was five months old.

The relationship reached a boiling point when Kelly Khumalo and her sister assaulted Senzo Meyiwa’s wife, Mandisa, on the side of the Empire Road.

A warrant of arrest was issued for Kelly Khumalo and her sister after Mandisa Meyiwa laid charges against them, they were arrested and later appeared at Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court.

Senzo Meyiwa claimed to be at fault for the fallout and his marriage falling apart, he ended his relationship with the (at the time) pregnant Kelly Khumalo and went back to his wife who had forgiven him.

Senzo Meyiwa claimed to be at fault for the fallout and his marriage falling apart, he ended his relationship with the (at the time) pregnant Kelly Khumalo and went back to his wife who had forgiven him.

His wife, Mandisa, claimed to have learned about the relationship prior to it being publicized – this was when his friend told her to look at Kelly Khumalo’s Instagram account.

In March 2014 Kelly Khumalo gave birth to Senzo Meyiwa’s third child, their first together.

Senzo Meyiwa left his wife for Kelly Khumalo once again, on October 26, 2013 – the day he was shot and killed, Senzo Meyiwa was at Kelly Khumalo’s house.

Two men entered the house in what is believed to have been a bid to rob, one of the two men had the gun pointed at her and Senzo Meyiwa moved to protect her (Kelly Khumalo).



Senzo Meyiwa was shot in Vosloorus, Gauteng, South Africa on Sunday night on October 26, 2014 – according to a tweet by the South African Police Service twitter account, Senzo Meyiwa was shot during an ensuing altercation when 2 men entered the house – in which seven people were inside – while one of the assailants remained outside.

Senzo Meyiwa and Kelly khumalo hours before he was shot and later died from that gunshot woundSenzo Meyiwa was visiting his girlfriend, South African musician and actress, Kelly Khumalo at her parent’s house in Vosloorus, in the East Rand in Gauteng province of South Africa on Sunday October 26, 2014.

At approximately 20:00 (South African time) two men entered the house and demanded cellphones, money and other valuables. One of the two men pointed the gun at Kelly Khumalo, Senzo Meyiwa tried to protect her – at which point he was shot in the back and the bullet exited through the chest.

He was reportedly rushed to Botshelong Empilweni Private Hospital – in his own car driven by Kelly Khumalo – where he was declared dead upon arrival.

On Tuesday October 28, 2014 it was reported that when Senzo Meyiwa stood the assailants thought he was getting up to fight and therefore one them fired at him.

It has been reported that no one else in the house was injured.

Three suspects in the shooting of Senzo Meyiwa fled on foot.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) announced within hours of Senzo Meyiwa’s death that it was offering R150 000 to the person(s) with information that may lead to the arrest of the assailants. As of October 28, 2014 the reward has been reported to be R250 000.

  • Reaction

Senzo Meyiwa’s death sent shock waves throughout South Africa and some parts of the world. As the story began to unravel, his name shot to the top of twitter trending subjects.

Shortly after midnight in the early hours of October 27, 2014 Orlando Pirates broke their silence through twitter acknowledging the death of goalkeeper and captain Senzo Meyiwa. The tweet read “MEYIWA STATEMENT: The @Orlando_Pirates family has learned with sadness of the untimely death of our number 1 keeper & captain Senzo Meyiwa.”

Orlando Pirates' official twitter account paid tribute to slain goalkeeper Senzo MeyiwaA string of tweets followed; “MEYIWA STATEMENT: This is a sad loss to Senzo’s family especially his children, to Orlando Pirates & the nation, said Chairman Dr Khoza”.

“MEYIWA STATEMENT: This statement is being issued whilst Club officials are up & about dealing with matters arising from the unsettling news.”

“MEYIWA STATEMENT: The Club will be holding a press conference on Monday morning.”

In the morning of October 27, 2014 as South Africans woke up to the news and further details of the incident began to emerge, Kelly Khumalo, a girlfriend Senzo Meyiwa died protecting came under fire at the hands of angry South Africans on social networks –  it is worth noting that others defended her.

The Orlando Pirates press conference went ahead as planned, it took place at Rand Stadium where the club often train, at 11:00am on Monday October 27, 2014.

In attendance were Orlando Pirates players, fans, management, technical staff, journalists and South African football administrators among others – some of the most notable names in attendance were; Dr. Irvin Khoza – chairman of Orlando Pirates and the PSL, Kaizer Motaung – chairman and founder of Kaizer Chiefs and vice-chairman of the PSL, Brand de Villiers – CEO of the PSL, Dennis Mumble – CEO of the South African Football Association (SAFA) and Shakes Mashaba – head coach of the South African Men’s Senior National Team (Bafana Bafana).

Shakes Mashaba could not hold back the tears as he broke down and cried during his speech.

Dr. Irvin Khoza had told the media that he spoke to Kaizer Motaung about the letter he intended to send to the PSL about the postponement of the Soweto Derby which scheduled for Saturday November 1, 2014 at 15:30 at FNB stadium at Nasrec in Johannesburg.

During his address, Brand de Villiers said that the 154th Soweto Derby match will be postponed until further notice, this as a respect to the slain goalkeeper.

Senzo Meyiwa’s father, Sam Meyiwa, – speaking to the media from his home in the K-Section of Umlazi township, south of the city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal – told the journalists that the bullet that killed his son also killed a part of him and pleaded with the police to arrest the perpetrators.

Sam Meyiwa was quoted saying “They [the police] must make sure they get these people who killed my son. I want them in jail. I want them in custody. I want to talk to them and ask them why they killed my son. It’s like they killed myself.”

“I don’t know if I’m coming or going. My heart is broken. I’m just finished” Sam Meyiwa was quoted saying.

SABC 1’s Soccerzone dedicated it’s hour long episode to Senzo Meyiwa with Augusto Palacios as a notable guest who is said to have spent the longest time with Senzo Meyiwa on the football field.

Orlando Pirates assistant coach Teboho Moloi was on SuperSport’s PSL Extra Time, also talking about the tragic death of Senzo Meyiwa.

Senzo Meyiwa’s death also drew reactions from former South African international Steven Pienaar, Fifa president Sepp Blatter, South African rugby player Bryan Habana, South African rapper AKA and South African music maestro Zakes Bantwini among many other notable figures.

  • October 31 to November 2, 2014 PSL Fixtures

Originally the Premier Soccer League of South Africa only announced on Monday October 27, 2014 the cancellation and reschedule of the Soweto Derby, a match between Orlando Pirate (the club Senzo Meyiwa played for) and Kaizer Chiefs.

In the days that followed the other clubs also sought to have their fixtures rescheduled, a request that was granted by the Premier Soccer League.

All Absa Premiership and National First Division matches scheduled for the weekend of October 31 to November 2, 2014 were not played and were reschedule for later dates.


Memorial Service and Funeral

On Thursday October 30, 2014 Senzo Meyiwa was remembered along with two along fallen sports stars, runner Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and female Boxer Phindile Mwelase in a South African sports ministry organized memorial service held at Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg.

Another memorial service was held at community grounds at L-Section uMlazi, organized by his friends and former teammates from his London Cosmos days.

On Friday October 31, 2014 the KwaZulu-Natal government organized a memorial service of Meyiwa at Durban City Hall. On this day his body arrived in his home town of Durban.

President Jacob Zuma ordered that national flags be flown at half-mast in the KwaZulu-Natal province on November 1, 2014 (the day of the funeral) in honor Senzo Meyiwa.

Senzo Meyiwas's funeralOn Saturday November 1, 2014 the funeral service of Senzo Meyiwa took place at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

He was given an official KwaZulu-Natal provincial funeral for his service to the South African football as declared by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday October 30, 2014.

Tens of thousands of people came to Moses Mabhida Stadium to bid farewell to the fallen star.Many people there wore black and or/ red of Orlando Pirates – the club Senzo Meyiwa played for and later captained.

His funeral was also attended by; KwaZulu-Natal premier, Senzo Mchunu; Orlando Pirates and Premier Soccer League chairman, Dr. Irvin Khoza; Kaizer Chiefs founder and chairman, Kaizer Motaung; South Africa Football Association president Danny Jordaan; Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula; Bafana Bafana coach, Shakes Mashaba and Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe. He was laid to rest at Heroes Acre in Chesterville, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.