Khayelitsha community developer murdered

Mluleki Sam

The community of Site B in Khayelitsha is reeling from shock following the killing of community worker Mluleki Sam on Saturday February 11 as he was on his way to the Nonkqubela Mall.

He had been stabbed by two suspects who are apparently known to the community and who were arrested in the area within minutes of the incident.

Mr Sam, 38, ran an outreach programme called Masibambisane Youth Project and had served as chairperson of the ward forum committee for two terms in Site B.

The project trains drama and dance groups in the community to develop performance skills and play productions in a range of theatrical styles. The project is also aimed at taking children off the streets to develop leadership and management skills.

Mr Sam’s wife, Bukeka, described her husband’s unfortunate death as a huge loss not only to the community of Khayelitsha, but to all of Cape Town. She said the family was still shocked by his death. “At his age he should be working for people. He was a great visionary who always wanted to see Khayelitsha on the map. Khayelitsha will definitely miss his leadership. He will be missed by Cape Town because he developed artists from all over. I am an artist today through him. There are many of them out there who came from his hands. His steadfastness and his service to the community cannot be described. That is why the community of Khayelitsha has supported us this way,” she said.

Ms Sam said her husband was still fighting for an amphitheatre to be built in Khayelitsha. “He was against the norm of going out to town to watch what one could have watched here. Bringing theatre to people was his dream. He maintained that you do not have to go to town to watch theatre. He believed Khayelitsha had so many talented people who could bring tourists here,” she said.

Ward 89 councillor Monde Nqulwana said Mr Sam’s death was unfortunate.

He said through his project, Mr Sam was able to give children the opportunity to express their thoughts and emotions through theatre, drama and dance.

On Monday February 13, angry residents protested outside the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court, where the accused appeared.

Residents handed a petition to the court opposing their bail.

“We are giving the alleged criminals a place of safety. If they are given bail it will be like throwing them in a lion’s den. We do want that. People are still angry,” he said. Mr Nqulwana appealed to the authorities to keep an eye on the accused. “Sam was liked by many. He was a very good man. People expected a normal death not this brutal death. This is unacceptable to many. Remember he was a community builder of note. It is sad that he died this way. We lost a good man,” he said.

Ward forum member Zandile Mahlati described Mr Sam as “down to earth”. She said he was an entertainer but a hard worker. “He loved his community and hated crime. What a humble soul. To lose his life at the hands of criminals is unacceptable because he was a crime fighter. I do not know how they got to the decision to kill him because he was known by all here,” she said.

A memorial service for Mr Sam will be held at Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School, on Saturday February 18, from 10am.