Updated: Jul 16, 2020

The other day I was reminded that my blog appears to be dark … I speak a lot about what I have lost and the financial loss to my Country incurred by State Capture. Both are not very happy stories. I realize that I may not be reflecting my complete truth which is that although I may have lost a lot, I have so much to be grateful for.

I turn forty later this month and as much as I am trying to play it down, it is a big deal. I was a person with ideals of where my life should be at the age of forty and as life would have it, I am nowhere close to them! Regardless, I find myself pondering my past and fantasizing about the future. It is in the former that I wish to spend this cold and windy Saturday afternoon…

I have decided to focus my birthday month on me! I want to have a completely self-indulgent month! With that in mind, today I have decided to be grateful for some of the things that I didn’t lose along the way. Hopefully this blog will be received as light and not darkness 😊

I have called this blog “Deep Roots” because I want to indulge in my amazing history with two people, Tush and BB.

When I speak to people, I often refer to “my bestie”. The truth is that I have two – Tush and BB and they are siblings. At almost every stage of my life, they have either been there for me collectively, or separately and between them, I have never ever been alone. Today I want to celebrate and acknowledge the incredibly deep roots that I have with these two amazing siblings!

I’m laughing at myself right now, because I don’t even remember how we met!

Tush and I are the same age. I turn forty this month and she in October. BB is slightly older than us, I think by about three years (Yes, I am writing about my best friends and don’t have a clear memory of facts that should be important! When you read the rest, you will see why).

Growing up, pre-teens – we lived very close to each other -> on the hill in Eastwood. Tush and BB for some reason didn’t go to the local primary school (Eastwood Primary). I think they went to Woodlands (the coloured suburb in the west of the city). So, this I know, we didn’t meet in school because we went to different schools. I suspect that we always knew of each other because the coloured community was tight like that, although we didn’t really have the same circles. Also, they went to a different church. In the summer evenings playing hide and seek with the neighbours, I don’t recall them being part of that either.

Something happened at some point and our paths crossed when we were young, that is all that I know. I also know that I met Tush before I met BB.

My earliest memory of Tush is standard six, or grade eight. Better described as the daunting first year of high school! We were in the same class – Mr Spence! On the first fucking day of high school, Mr Spence declared his expectations of Tush! She would be just like her brother, BB and already she was his favourite. Mr Spence was our home room teacher and also our English teacher. He also managed and led the drama team for the school. I.e. he was very much “out there” with his thoughts and opinions. I remember that first day - He went through the room, person by person, giving his reaction towards them, his expectations and hope sat in Tush and another girl, Chantal Harwood – they were his favourites. The rest of the class not so much. When he came to me, I got acknowledgment for being Blake’s sister and the Physics teacher’s niece. Mr Spence looked me up and down; and left me with the impression that he wondered how could I belong to the same family as them? Mr Spence is not important, what is important to this story is that the lines were drawn – I was not part of the ‘teacher’s pet’ group, whilst Tush and BB were.

Tush and Chantal were the pretty girls. All the boys swooned over them, they did modelling, they were smart and were most likely to become prefects in standard eight. BB was a few standards ahead of us, the dux of the grade, head boy and the best looking in the school. I remember an English lesson where would have to describe our futures, Tush described how she wanted to become an air hostess and travel the world. She had a scarf around her neck just like the tv commercials. She sounded and smiled just like the people on tv. Her confidence resonated hope. For the life of me, I can’t remember what I said or did!

I think Tush and I connected for the first time when Mr Spence gave us a group assignment – in a group of four, we had to perform a skit that marketed a product. Tush, Chantal, someone else and I were in the group and our product was a premixed peanut butter and jam spread called “Yum Jum”! Geez! I am writing this and feel embarrassed 😊 As a group we worked well together; I had the academic ideas, Tush had the presentation and associated drama nailed! We made a good team.

I think we became friends after that, although I can’t remember…

This is I do know…

In standard seven, 1995, Tush’s and my parents had an idea to take us out of our current high school (Haythorne Secondary), and place us in a “model C” aka half private and ‘white’ high school. Our parents arranged a car pool schedule and coincidently, Tush and I were assigned to the same class for standard seven at Alexandra High. The carpool thing worked out well because we lived very close to each other. The same class setup worked really well for me because I didn’t know anyone in the school. On the first day of school, during the first break, I appreciated Tush’s popularity – every single coloured boy in the school knew her and was shouting out for her. I felt so lucky to be her friend! Through her, I was recognised 😊 She never let her popularity change our bond. She stood by me and dragged me along to meet new people and get involved. I loved her!

Tush and I both struggled been at Alex High – too much change, I think. But it wasn’t that bad because we had each other – we weren’t alone.

About three or four months into been an “Alexandrian”, Tush had to leave. Her mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and her family decided that it would be best that Tush lives with family in PE. She walked down the road to my house that day and told me. I asked her when she was leaving and she replied “tomorrow”. All the while, BB had matriculated and was accepted to study at UCT. He was in Cape Town. After Tush delivered the news I ran inside and told my parents that I couldn’t go back to school – not without Tush.

Long story short, Tush stayed in PE until she matriculated and I returned to Haythorne until I matriculated. During the school holidays Tush would return to Pietermaritzburg and sometimes BB would come home too. It was during these times that the roots started growing. For some reason, the three of us would connect and spend the entire holidays together. Our tripartite friendship was built on, at most, two months together every year, for four years! The most amazing thing about the re-connection was that every time we were together, it was as if time stood still. We carried off from the last point of departure as if nothing had changed. I find it bizarre because we didn’t have much in common – I was the only one who lived in Pietermaritzburg. When Tush would come home she wouldn’t have relationships with the locals. BB was in varsity and in Cape Town. We had nothing in common except for growing up a few houses away from each other. And by the way, that also changed because my folks decided to move out of Eastwood and into a ‘white’ neighbourhood. Regardless of all these reasons why we shouldn’t be friends, we remained friends.

Some of the happiest memories of my life were these times … Tush and BB would both be home for the holidays and we would want to go to a night club. Blake, my brother, had a car and his licence. I would have to convince Blake to take me to the club to meet Tush and BB or to pick them up and we went to the club together. The local club was called “Sticky Fingers”. My parents would allow me to go because I was with Blake and BB and on condition that we return home before curfew. It was so embarrassing – our curfew was hours before Tush and BB’s! I remember those days like yesterday – Tush, BB and I would go onto the dance floor, close our eyes and get lost in the song that was playing. I remember the feeling of freedom!

When Tush and I matriculated, she decided not to go to varsity whilst I applied and got accepted into UCT. There was no way that I would be at UCT at the same time as BB and not stay with him, so I moved in with him in January 1999 I began my tenure of being a Capetonian. BB taught me the ropes with the Jammie shuttle and Golden Arrow buses and also was my interpreter for the first semester. It was bizarre... Tush had moved back to Pietermaritzburg and was working, whilst BB and I were in Cape Town studying. Again, regardless of the differences, we remained close. Since 1999, BB and I established a different deep root. That root was based on the change that we experienced and shared by leaving a small town like Pietermaritzburg and trying against all odds, to make something of ourselves.

The first semester of UCT smacked me across the face and I started the second semester of my first year in Pietermaritzburg. Tush worked and I studied. We spent all our free time together, almost like making up for lost time during high school. When BB would come home, we would share stories of the different campuses and studying. Some things stayed the same – like clubbing at Sticky Fingers etc. I loved those days! Whilst I was at UNP (University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg), I started my first significant relationship with Alex. Alex, Tush and I did almost everything together. One of my fondest memories was a braai on a Sunday at my house. The three of us were on the chair swing that my dad had made and Tush told us that she had fallen pregnant and was stressed about it. I remember that afternoon – post eating, the three of us fell asleep on my bed – me sandwiched in the middle. It was one of the best naps of my life!

Later that week, Tush had a miscarriage. I remember going to buy white flowers and taking them to her. My heart broke because I couldn’t make her feel better…

For a couple of years, life carried on in this way. I was with Alex, Tush and I spent all our time together and we looked forward to when BB came home. Eventually I finished studying and got a job in Cape Town (not by design). By this time BB had completed his studies and had moved to Joburg. Around about this time, 2004, we got introduced to email and our lives changed. We could stay connected with ease! 😊

I moved to Cape Town, BB was in Joburg and Tush was in Maritzburg. BB and I related on the level of newbies starting a career with high hopes. Tush had met the man who would later become her husband whilst BB and I worked long hours and sold our souls, Tush was living her best life! We still met every holiday in Maritzburg and spent all of our time together. BB became my sanity! Whenever I would lose my mind from working too hard and loneliness, I would call him, he would understand and offer advice. He always answered my call, always! Tush was always my girl! I could have naughty chats with her about discovering ourselves as women and bemoan the complacency that is Maritzburg.

At this point, our roots were insanely intertwined although we all lived such different lives… and those roots were deep!

September 2005, I was in my little Golf one with my Dad, driving to my new job at Accenture in Joburg whilst Tush reverted to Islam ahead of her marriage. I wasn’t there for something so important. I also wasn’t there at her wedding ☹ our lives changed a bit then. The roots started separating a little but stayed deep. She was a wife and would soon become a mother. For the longest time, I had the most in common with her until now when I had more in common with BB. This difference didn’t change that we were inseparable and that our roots run deep. The dynamics just changed. I remember feeding Tush purity at her baby shower – Bahahaha

Now, turning forty, BB lives less than 3km away from me and is my ‘in case of emergency’ contact for both myself and my Daughter. BB and I bought our homes a month apart and started the road of self-discovery in earnest a few years ago with at least weekly touch base sessions. BB and Tush are my life. All three of us are from the same branch somehow.

I often laugh at how my Dad, in his younger years, wanted to date Tush and BB’s mom – we could have all being siblings! 😊

I remember BB being my ‘bridesmaid’ at my first wedding;

I rember falling in love with BB and hime telling me that he was gay;

I remember Tush being pregnant with Zayden whilst her first born, Zara, danced her little legs off at my first wedding;

I remember Tush forgiving me after I kissed her boyfriend;

I remember BB teaching me how to satisfy a man;

I remember BB giving me career advice;

I remember Tush telling me the importance of not loosing myself after becoming a Mother;

I remember BB leaving for Ireland;

I remember the call to Tush whilst driving from Cape Town to Joburg;

I remember getting divorced and not telling them … I don’t know why… I also remember how they both rallied around me when I did eventually tell them;

I remember taking on a new job and calling BB telling him that I didn’t think I could do it and how he built my confidence;

I remember a call with Tush about what it means to truly be a wife;

I remember the day that BB became a parent;

I know how that both give me sanity and love when I need it the most.

I also know that I would not be here today, if not for them;

I have their smiles burnt in my memory – every time I see them after a while – a smile that says I love you and missed you; followed by a hug that confirms;

I have had so many calls to both about the struggles of being a parent and adulting ...

I can not live without these two-amazing people.

Although life has taken away a lot from me, I am truly blessed to have a bestie in the two of them and no one can take that away!

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