Hands were thrown up in a final gang salute for Rashied Staggie who received a bizarre hero’s welcome as his funeral procession moved to Manenberg, a Cape Flats community from which he and his twin brother ran the notorious Hard Livings gang.
Locals pushed and shoved for a chance to carry – or even simply touch – the white bedazzled casket of one of its most infamous gangsters who ran his operations from its headquarters called Die Hok.
But only weeks before his death, Staggie had fed children from Die Hok, his friend Pastor Ivan Waldeck told the hundreds of people who gathered at The Greens sports field.
“Cape Town has been robbed of a peacemaker,” Waldeck said.
“Al sê die mense wat, hy is onse eie broer.” (“No matter what people say, he is our brother.”)
Police and other local authorities were out in their numbers as Staggie’s body arrived after his funeral service at the Jubilee Community Church in Observatory, less than a kilometre from where he was killed outside his London Road home in Salt River last Friday.
About a dozen gunshots ended his life on his daughter Nabeelah’s birthday.
He died metres from where his twin brother Rashaad was shot and set alight in 1996 during a demonstration by People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad), who told News24 his death “should be celebrated”.
News24 previously reported Staggie and three other suspects faced charges in 2016 of the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition as well as suspected stolen property.
Staggie, serving prison time for another crime, was subsequently released on full parole.
In 2003, he was jailed for 15 years for his role in the kidnapping and rape of a teenage girl, and in 2004, he was sentenced to 13 years for stealing firearms from a police armoury.
The sentences ran concurrently and Staggie served 11 years in prison.
Another of Staggie’s daughters, Saadiqa, said it had been difficult for his children growing up with the stigma of their surname.
“But I am a proud Staggie. I am Rashied Staggie’s child.”
Her father always spoke of peace in Manenberg, Saadiqa said, and “wanted to uplift” the area.
Among the numerous religious leaders who preached and prayed was Pastor Eric Hofmeyer, who told mourners that he was nine years old when he got an “HL” tattoo, “not knowing God has a purpose” for him.
“Mense daar buite het ons afgeskryf,” he said. (“People in the community wrote us off.”)
Staggie and his family, he said, had returned to Manenberg to give back to the community.
Staggie, who had converted to Christianity and had ministered about gangsterism and changing his life, was to be buried in Durbanville.