News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Family unaware of young activist’s death


Athini Melane, budding activist, killed by a car as he crossed the N2 highway.

Social activist Athini Melane’s family feels “saddened” that he spent two months in a government mortuary before they heard of his death.

The family says they were informed last Monday that the 24-year-old had died after he was knocked down by a car on the N2 freeway on May 12.

The circumstances that led to the Melane family not knowing about his death are not clear as yet, but according to Athini’s stepmother Majama Melane, she heard from a police officer investigating the case that Athini was knocked down by a car on the N2 when he was running from a security guard who was chasing him for allegedly picking up golf balls at a golf course along the highway.

“The family had not seen Athini from a long time and we had thought he was with his friends as he always was,” said Majama.

She said the family were only informed after fingerprints police had sent to Pretoria for identification came back to the Salt River morgue where his body was kept.

“The family is devastated.  He was such a good boy,” she said.

Majama said she last saw and spoke to Athini was when his father was buried on April 6 and she gave him R50 for transport to look for an educational institution where he would further his studies in politics in an initiative to become a political journalist or a news analyst.

Describing him as a good friend and a people’s person, Athini’s friends are also devastated that he had died in the manner he did.

Friend Lonwabo Mfungu said he had read about Athini’s death on Facebook last Wednesday and could not believe it.

“I phoned some of our friends and they also did not know about it but later some friends came back saying the family has confirmed his death,” said Mfungu.

‘He was brilliant, could have been a politician and he wanted justice for the needy and ordinary people.’

Athini was born and bred in Gugulethu.  He joined student politics at a tender age, when he was just eight years old.

Athini’s cousin and radio personality Afrika Melane said Athini “lived a full life.  He had the courage to try new things.  He loved joking and he had an incredible voice.  He was always fighting for people’s rights”.

In 2005, he joined Arts and Media Access Centre (AMAC) where he studied media studies in order to pursue a career in print journalism.

His memorial service is to be held at the Community House in Salt River on Thursday afternoon, where he often worked as a volunteer for social justice organisations based there.

The Daily Sun’s Cape Town chief bureau Ntomboxolo Makoba, who went to school with Athini, said “what a life lost”.

“I can describe him as an intellectual, a good speaker and a fighter. Athini had no fear and didn’t favour anyone when given the platform to address issues concerning the youth.

“He was very proud of his political organisation (Azapo) and forced me to call him a Tower.  He was friends with everyone. I’m still shocked and saddened by his tragic death,” said Makoba.

Senior journalist Anna Majavu said on her Facebook wall post “a sad farewell to Cape Town thinker, writer and activist, Athini Melane…gone too soon, before he had a chance to taste real freedom or enjoy his life”. – Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: Afrika Melane, Anna Majavu, Arts and Media Access Centre (AMAC), Athini Melane, Azapo, Lonwabo Mfungu, Majama Melane, Ntomboxolo Makoba, Salt River morgue

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One Response to “Family unaware of young activist’s death”

  1. Zukisw says:

    Athini’s memorial will be in Gugulethu not in Salt River anymore.

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