Community remembers slain Nyanga artist

People from all over the metro came braced the rainy Saturday to come to bury Zolani Nikani who killed by his best friend in Nyanga.

The day after 22-year-old Lonwabo Jack was buried, another young man from Nyanga was brutally killed.

Zolani Nikani, 24, also known as Vocal Zoid, was allegedly stabbed by his close friend after a disagreement while partying in Matanzima Road in the Mau-Mau section on Friday May 7.

Mr Jack had been killed in Mau Mau on Sunday April 18 while out celebrating his 22nd birthday (“Call for a national plan to combat hate crimes”, Vukani, April 29).

Mr Nikani’s friend has since handed himself over to the police and has appeared in court.

Nyanga police spokesperson Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi confirmed that a 22-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the case. She said the man appeared in court briefly, but the case has been postponed to tomorrow, Friday May 21.

According to the family, the friends had had an altercation after which the alleged killer had gone home to fetch a knife. When he arrived back at the party, he is said to have stabbed Zolani.

At a memorial service held last week, speakers expressed concern at the rate young people were dying.

Easy access to alcohol and drugs were said to be a major problem.

Activist and community leader Thulani Pike said the killings were “too much“, and even suggested witchcraft may be to blame.

“This is unheard of. The killings are too much. One would even think somebody is behind this,” he said.

But another activist and artist Nosisana Nam felt that young people are too naive and complacent when it came to their future.

“Zolani was teaching art at Ilinge Primary through the Artist in School Programme. His death has left us asking questions. To our young people this should be a lesson. Nice times will always be there but youngsters will perish. At some point they should suspend some activities and focus on books,” she told the packed Nyanga Art Development Centre.

Another artist, Thembani Luzipho, advised youngsters to assess their friendships.

“You cannot be the only one who advises your friends. You must be advised too. You should leave that friendship and find another one where you will be advised too.

“I fail to understand a Grade11 or 12 girl going with a boy, with short trousers who only wants bed. Why would you date such a boy? Rather focus on your schooling than these thugs-like boys,” he urged.

Everyone who spoke encouraged young and energetic people to put more focus on their education.

Mr Nikani’s colleagues and music group, the Royalties, said losing him had been a painful experience.

Thimna Baartman said Mr Nikani had formed the group after realising that young people of Nyanga were at risk.

“Young people were vulnerable to all sorts of substances like alcohol and drugs. He then taught us marimba, dance and acting. Now without him, we have to be strong for him and his child,” he told the crowd.

Mr Nikani was buried last Saturday.

Family spokesman Mzamo Diba said the family had lost an entertainer and leader who loved to see people at peace.

“He was the only child to his mother who we taught him to build his mother’s home and develop Nyanga. We’ve lost a warrior and brave son but we will have to take his spear and forge forward,” he said.

Zolani was loved by many because of his work in the Community of Nyanga.
Two great artists of Nyanga Nosisana Nama and Thembani Luzipho are concerned that young people are perishing through their own deeds.
People came in number to commemorate and celebrate the life of Zolani Nikani at the Nyanga Arts Development Centre