It was with the greatest amount of disappointment and sorrow that the footballing fraternity learned of Orlando Pirates and South Africa goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa’s death. The Bafana Bafana captain was killed in a suspected robbery.
But amid the sadness and shock at the tragedy, the social networkers found solace and laughter in perhaps the most unlikely of sources.
Scientists have always maintained the fastest way to find peace amid sorrow is to laugh. That laughter is therapeutic. It has been said to decrease three harmful stress hormones: cortisol, epinephrine, and dopac.
Laughter has also been said to release the hormone, beta-endorphins, which helps to elevate mood.
When South African photographer, Alon Skuy, shot the now famous picture that would appear on the cover page of the Sunday Times he had no idea the impact it would make on the social networks. Senzo’s grieving father, Sam Meyiwa, appears on the picture stretching out of the window of the hearse to wave at thousands of mourners who thronged the stadium to pay their last respects.
He also had no idea he was about to have his fifteen minutes of fame. The picture sparked a frenzy of creativity as South Africans took to social networks and uploaded photos of themselves mimicking the old man in even the most unimaginable and hilarious of circumstances.
Some people went as far as posing on tree tops, trollies, wheelbarrows, apartment windows, under tables, and even infants hanging on their prams. Batswana were not to be left out as they also joined in on the frenzy.
The pictures, shared under the hashtag #notsenzosdad, have been trending on both facebook and twitter. Instead of the usual, Selfie, the photos have been named ‘Samies’ after Senzo’s father, Sam.
The old man was quoted on Sunday Times website as having expressed shock at how the photograph went viral and inspired the #notsenzosdad.
He also defended his decision to stretch out of the hearse and wave at the fans after some people reportedly called his actions attention-seeking and not befitting a father in mourning. “People can say and do whatever they want or like. What I was doing was showing my appreciation for the support shown by people to Senzo,” Meyiwa told Times Live.
Sunday Standard Lifestyle put together a couple of ‘Samies’ shot by Batswana who joined in on the excitement. After all, they say laughter eases grief, mends broken hearts, and binds up wounded souls. May Senzo’s Meyiwa’s soul rest in peace.