23 May 2009

In memory of a friend

I received sad news yesterday. My friend Shadrack Kgosane had passed away. Today I went to his memorial in Landsdowne in Cape Town. Based on the speeches given, both by their quantity and quality, it is easy to say that he was well liked. I certainly think he was cool.

I didn't really know him that well. A lot less, I assume, than most other attendees at the memorial. I lived as his house mate for some time in 2005 in Wynberg. I remember those times with fondness as it was also when I met my wife and in many ways was starting a new chapter in my life. I didn't talk at his memorial, but there is one anecdote that I wanted to share.

It was 11th of November 2005 and Sithengi Film Festival in Cape Town. A radio station I worked for had some tickets to a world premier of brand new South African film called Tsotsi. That film, of course, later on went and won an Oscar for the Best Foreign Film. I asked Shadrack to join me. He was from Naledi and Sowetan through and trough. He enjoyed Kwaito music which this film was promised to have and I thought that it'd be cool to ask him to join me that evening.

Tsotsi starts with, in my opinion, a very strong scene where the main characters walk defiantly through the streets and on the background is Zola's Mdlewembe. As soon as the beat kicked in he started singing along... “Hey wena!”. I realised immediately that for me this was just a cool experience and for him maybe something much more. That night we danced the night away to all the top Kwaito artists of the time and even got to talk to Zola himself. Whenever I hear that song, Mdlewembe, I think of him. He was a cool guy and left a strong legacy to his colleagues who unanimously admitted that at the memorial. The time I knew him, I was very impressed. I might just put Zola on my headphones and just appreciate what I've got in my life.

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