“Each day is a loan, spend it wisely”- Unknown
Greetings, hugs and kisses! Today I am at my worst, and I choose to let it all out, here! Today’s initial post was ready to be published, but I decided to put it on hold and write about what I am going through at this present moment. As I mentioned last Monday, that I lost a very good friend of mine, so we laid her to rest on Saturday. I then promised myself I would find a way to live without her. I made a vow to myself that I will learn to live with the pain, without expecting it to hurt any less. It was a pretty fair deal that I cut with myself there, and I am proud of myself for it. On Sunday, as I was going through my Facebook newsfeed, I came across a “Rest in peace my brother” post on Gopolang’s timeline. Yes, my Gopolang. I went through a roller coaster ride of emotions. I had so many questions about what that post was all about, so I decided to click on Gopolang’s timeline and browse through. So many people were already wishing him a peaceful rest, and more questions came flooding into my mind.
It was in 2007, when Gopolang invited me on MXIt. Right after accepting him, I asked where he got my contacts, and he refused to tell me. I deleted him on the spot, but because he was the kind of man who didn’t back down from a challenge, he invited me again and I accepted. I gave him another chance to tell me where he got my contacts from, but he told me he couldn’t tell me because he made a promise to that person not to tell me- he was a man of his word and always kept his end of the deal. Again, I deleted him. When he invited me for the third time, I accepted him with a smile on my face, but I still demanded to know where he got my contacts from. All he could say was “Please don’t delete me, but I can’t tell you who gave me your contacts”, and I told him that I was not going to chat with a stranger. He practically begged me not to confront the guy who gave him my contacts, and I did- and that’s when a great friendship was born, after he told me who gave him my contacts. I always told this story on Facebook, and people would laugh at it, and he would comment and insult me, telling me how much of a hard nut to crack I am. He always tried to make me feel guilty about what I did to him that day.
I got to know Gopolang, and realized that he was the type of friend that any girl needs. He was very caring and overprotective. I remember the very first time I told him that I had a boyfriend, he almost freaked out. He was like “no, you don’t need a boyfriend in your life Cinga. That guy will only destruct you”, and yet he didn’t even know the guy. When I asked how he knew that the guy was going to destruct me, he said “I’m a man and I know what I’m talking about. Stop trying to make sense of everything and just listen to what I’m telling you”. That’s when I knew that I’ve found myself a big brother. He was so honest with me, and was not afraid of telling me things I didn’t want to hear. I’d be lying if I say there is at least one guy that I’ve dated, that Gopolang approved of. As much as he built this strong big brother wall around himself, but he was still very sensitive. In fact, he was a softie. Nothing hurt him more than me not giving him the attention that he knew he deserved. He would be so mad at me, and ignore me even when I try to reach out. Having him mad at me always made me panic. I would call, text, wall post- just to get his attention and he would pretend like I don’t exist. Only when I’m feeling defeated, begging him hopelessly to forgive me for not picking his calls or replying to his texts, would he be like “arg maan dude, stop begging maan”.
When I met him, he was frustrated because things didn’t go well for him academically, and he needed a job. What I remember the most about that time in Gopolang’s life was his positive energy and faith in God. He refused to let his situation destroy him, so he kept pushing until something happened. The excitement in his voice when he told me that he got a job, to lecture at a local college, I will never forget. He was all giggly and loud, so much that I struggled to hear what he was saying. He was so happy, so proud of himself for not giving up on God. He shared all his dreams of making his father proud, with me. He told me how he wanted to be the best son he could ever be, to his father who worked so hard in building him a happy home and gave him a stable family. I knew he had it in him to work towards making his dreams a reality. I knew his strength and dedication. Gopolang didn’t get to that college only lecture his students, but he also fathered them. His students were so close to his heart. I remember how we used to laugh at their stunts and crazy moments. They became the source of his joy, you know, his reason for breathing.
He was so focused and career driven. He knew what he wanted and was not afraid of going after it. He loved challenges, and only got romantically attracted to strong women because of that. He was a very loyal man, and he loved wholeheartedly. I remember when he told me about a woman whom he was falling in love with. He told me about her, almost as if he was reciting a poem, going as far as describing her looks. He automatically connected with the lady’s son, and took him as his own. He would call me, excited about his son’s milestones. Yes, that boy was his son. He never, not for a single day, refer to him as a step son. He would send me pictures of himself with his son, and would tell me beautiful stories about him. The day he broke up with his son’s mother, his main pain revolved around his son being taken away from him. He could not imagine his life without that boy. That’s how much he had a soft spot for kids. He was also so happy for me when I announced Onwaba’s birth to him. As the years went by and Onwaba learnt to speak, he would ask to talk to her on the phone, and they would laugh about nothing. His love for kids also became clearer the day his niece was born. He was so excited you would swear the baby was biologically his. His niece was the centre of his world. He would say “I’m not feeling well at all, but I need to get up and go to work, because Obotlhokwa deserves a bright future”. He always embraced people in his life. He had so much love to spread around.
Gopolang was so honest, and was not afraid of saying things that nobody ever talks about. He would tell me when I’m out of line, and would get really angry when I try and justify my actions. He would call me, just to shout at me for something I wrote on Facebook or WhatsApp. Those calls always started with “Dude, you know I love you nhe, but..” and sh*t would hit the fan after those words. I remember the day I shared a post of a naked woman on Facebook, my goodness. Gopolang called, and I picked up with so much energy “hey my nigga!”, his response when he said “don’t hey my nigga me wena” made me realize that I was in trouble. He went on to give me a lecturer on how, I, as a Christian woman, should not promote nudity on social networks. No matter how hard I tried explaining to him that the whole point was not to just share a naked woman, but rather to pass the message that was carried by the photo’s caption. He never cared to understand that, he demanded that I remove the post. That’s Gopolang, at his best. His honesty sometimes hurt though, especially when he said something negative about something I love. I will never forget the day I bought a new pair of glasses and took a photo with them on, just to brag and he said “dude, those glasses are really ugly”. I was so hurt, and he continued to say “so you want me to shut up and let you wear those in public and make a fool of yourself?”. I never wore those glasses, ever, I even started hating them until someone decided to steal them.
My nigga was a very loving man. He would bounce his romantic ideas past me, when he was planning something for his woman. Disagreeing with him on his ideas would score me a cold “I didn’t expect you to know anything about romance anyway, dude”. Everytime he knew he sad something really nasty, he would then send “kikikiki” and running emojis, just to indicate that it was one of his bad jokes. I learnt to accept that he had the worst jokes ever. When he was planning a surprise birthday celebration for his fiancé. My nigga was planning to go all out, with marriage proposals and all. He was ready to settle down and build a life with his woman. He was even talking about having kids. Just this morning, I was listening to the voice note I sent him when he sent me their photos, with his woman flashing the beautiful ring. I was listening to the happiness that my voice carried, and laughing at his response to that cute voice note- he said “dude, has anyone ever told you that you sound like GC from Uzalo?”. Wow. I said nice things to Gopolang, wishing him a happy life with RethaBae, only for him to tell me that I sound like GC from Uzalo.
I felt like I knew him personally, even though we’ve only met once, when I went to Bloemfontein in 2015. The excitement we shared when I told him I had arrived in Bloem, gosh. He gave me directions to his workplace, and my other friend dropped me off there. I called and told him I was outside, and he came to get me. He was all smiles, with happiness written all over his face. He led the way to his office. All the way to his office, he was saying the most stupid things ever, and I was laughing all the way up the stairs to his office. When we got there, there were two of his students, and he introduced me to them, briefly telling them how we met. During the time I was in that office, students walked in and out, some were there to ask questions, while some were only there to pay him a visit. By the time the students all went to class, he also had to go to class. He begged me to stay there and wait for him. He played a movie for me, and left his phone so I could log in on Facebook and kill time since my phone had problems. When he got back, we went out and had a bit of fun. He promised me a good time if I would come back, but hey. We talked, and it didn’t feel like we were meeting for the first time. The highlight of that day is me walking through a glass door. That one still made us laugh, till this day. He would make me feel so stupid, and would bring it up even when we are arguing about something else and he knows I will win the argument. He would say “yeah, vele wena you walk through glass doors, so you would know better”. I came back to East London with a neck piece from him and his name tag, when I asked why he gave me the name tag, he said “just so you can never forget me”
What pains me the most about this, is the fact that I will never find closure from this. I have so many questions about his death. When did he die? How? I need closure. Now I find myself creeping into his sister’s inbox, looking for answers to the questions that I know would haunt me forever. Everyone who knows me, knows how much Gopolang meant to me. On his birthday, three days ago, I tried calling him and couldn’t get through, so I decided to send a voice note and tell him everything I wanted to tell him. Little did I know that he had already left us. He didn’t even hear what I said to him. I was practically pouring my heart out to him, telling him how much I loved him and how he would always have a special place in my heart, not knowing that God has called him already.
Gopolang has lived his life to the fullest. He loved unapologetically and chased his dreams to the best of his ability. He was a praying man, and only saw the positive side of every situation he went through. I know he would probably say “Umubi too much to be crying like that maan dude, stop it!”. I will carry his spirit in my heart, and I will live my life celebrating the life of an honest yet very crazy man. Rest, my brother, till we meet again. I chose to write this today, while the wound is still open. I will use words to find peace. I will write you poems and random notes, until it sinks in that you are no longer there to tell me “dude, you know I am your number one supporter”. I will cry, until I learn to live with the pain. Goodnight Gopolang, Goppie (I know how much you hated that nickname), GP, Christopher, Mr McCoal, my nigga, dude! Rest in peace Gopolang Makole, I will always love you.