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“People come, people go – they’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in your favourite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with new characters and adventures. Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the ones from the past.”― Nicholas Spark

Yes, people come and people go. We meet people every day; at school, in our communities, at work, in church, at the store, on the streets, at parties – EVERY WHERE! Some of those people that we meet make some sort of impact in our lives and end up becoming our friends. The saddest thing is when someone comes into your life only for a season. Someone that you have loved with all of your heart one day can, quite literally, vanish from your life without warning. Not necessarily from death or anything tragic. Sometimes trivial circumstances can take a best friend, a lover or a partner right out of your hands, never to be seen again. Sometimes people change, and sometimes, people simply just drift away from your life without reason.

I have seen a lot of people come and go in my life because of changes I have had in my life, distance, work and I’ve lost a few people to death (thankfully only a few). Sometimes we have to learn when to let go and continue on our journey. It takes an incredible kind of courage, reflection and acceptance for one to see the need to move forward and know when to move forward. People come and go, but that one thing that they’re always sure to leave behind are memories. I’ve had those kinds of special people in my life. Some I have lost touch with; some I was used to seeing every day but cannot anymore; and some have passed on. Like many people out there I’ve had to adjust to all of these changes. Those [few] who’ve made that significant impact in my life:

Gogo and Mkhulu Mamba (Grandma and Grandpa Mamba) – If you read my first blog series where I introduced myself, particularly Part 3 of 4 of the series, you’ll have an idea that my grandparents meant a lot to me. They died when I was very young. I didn’t understand death very much at that time, but as I started growing up and noticing that they were gone forever, I felt a very deep void and missed them terribly almost every day. My parents used to take us to visit them on various weekends. I remember my grandmother’s smile as well as my grandfather’s smile and voice. I remember their laughs. I remember listening in on my grandmother’s phone conversation from the line by the entrance hall – I was fascinated by the whole thing. She shouted at me over the phone and I got a huge fright because I thought that she must have seen me somehow. I also remember the fireplace in the winters, and how Kenyata and Bush (the 2 sausage dogs) would sleep in front of the fire and fart while sleeping in comfort. My grandfather would get upset and chase the dogs to the kitchen. It was hilarious. I may not remember every single thing conversation or moment that we shared, but that is one relationship that I wish I still had in my life today.

Nolwazi Gumbi – I met Nolwazi in 1998 when we moved to Big Bend and I started attending school at Ubombo Primary School (UPS). She was this tall, smart, quiet girl who made me realise my potential. I remember seeing her collect a book prize in my first year at UPS in Grade 5, and I remember thinking that, “I want to be smart like her.” Our relationship didn’t solidify until we went to high school. We were in the same homeroom, so we found comfort in having each other’s familiar faces. We’d talk about anything and everything. If we couldn’t gossip in class, we always had our letters which we wrote to each other. Imagine, best friends in the same class, and yet, we just couldn’t get enough of each other and always chatting ☺. I don’t think that the young’uns of today do that. We would laugh together, even if our teachers sat us apart. We laughed at each other and other people and funny moments. We even created a code language and code names which we would use when we felt the stuff we wanted to discuss was too sensitive for other ears. I don’t remember us ever having an argument – and no, that doesn’t mean that we can’t have been friends. We spoke about a lot of heartfelt things and spoke the truth with one another. I really valued my friendship with Nolwazi and I still do. A friendship truly made in heaven.

Nomkhosi Dlamini – I also met Nomkhosi at UPS. We became good friends in Grade 6, and Mrs Barbour even called us twins. This wasn’t because we looked alike, but most probably because we spent a lot of time together and got on very well. Nomkhosi and I also exchanged letters constantly, even though we were good buddies. Then she went on a mission – to write the most letters to me and reach a target of a 100 letters. She made it – only because she started including the little notes she’d pass to me during class. I always enjoyed going to Nomkhosi’s place because of the sisterly love at her place – Nomkhosi has 4 sisters. Being at the Dlamini household made me want to have many siblings, more especially many sisters, so that I could also borrow their clothes and shoes every now and then. During most of our sporting Saturday afternoons at school, Nomkhosi’s mom would be there and provide support and I always appreciated her showing me some love too, mainly because my parents rarely ever made it. We’d dance at our school “bashes” (the word bash makes me cringe today) and just go crazy on the dance floor. Even as a non-talented dancer, with her around, it didn’t matter to me. Nomkhosi always made me happy and carefree.

Elisha Singh – Came into my life on my first day of college in February 2006 at the Midrand Graduate Institute. We met by the graphic design department notice board. At the end of the day, we sat together in the canteen, waiting for her sister to pick her up and getting to know one another. Elisha lived with her sister a few kilometres away from campus and I lived on campus at the res. She finally moved to the student apartments next door to the res the following year, so that was great. I enjoyed having her next door. We went through a lot together on campus – the good, the bad and the embarrassing. We were together almost all the time, and me not having a boyfriend throughout my campus life and being tom boyish, made some people think that we were an item or that we got up to some nasty stuff behind closed doors, including some of our lecturers. See, Elisha is gorgeous, so almost everyone wanted to be with her and most times, I was “in the way”. Sigh… When we left varsity and had to start working, it was very odd and not so nice being apart – but we adjusted. We weren’t able to meet as often as we’d hoped, but we still tried. Now, we’re oceans apart – I’m in SA and she’s in the US. That’s obviously meant DRASTIC changes. But one learns to grow and move on.

Zwakele Dlomo Zondo – My childhood friend and sister from another mother. I (somewhat) lived for our holiday visits to their home; running around in the house and getting up to mischief. Also, one of the highlights of visiting Zwakele was that I could finally be with a “girlfriend”, as we always had guys sleeping over at our place – I never got to have friends to sleepover and I never got to sleepover at friends’ houses. And when at Zwakele’s place, her friends would also come to visit during the day and for those moments, I’d finally have female interaction, which I felt really deprived of most of my childhood years. I remember one afternoon, Zwakele, the girls and I were walking Manini (one of Zwakele’s friends) to her house. Along the way, we heard music and kids laughing nearby. We went into the yard with this commotion and found that there was a kid’s party. We gate crashed. We did a little dance routine, I forgot to what song. We hadn’t rehearsed or anything, but we played it by ear and we killed it! Then we proceeded to get food and we ran back home as it was getting dark. Boy did we get into trouble. But we had tons of fun that day and many other days. At least Zwaki is still around as well and we still get to reach out every once in a while.

Phatsimo Mbhamali Tafa – My ride or die MGI comrade, my one and only awesome Swazi friend from college. I’ve never had much luck making Swazi friends, but Phatsi and I met once and hit it off. Whenever I felt like a piece of home while at campus, I knew who to run to. And whenever someone judged me for not having a man in my life (as if that’s ever been a problem), I knew Phatsi got me. My tennis buddy, my baking buddy. Every Wednesday we’d play a game of tennis together and every once in a while we’d bake some goodies and give each other a taste. I miss my campus days with Phatsi. She made living at Mda (our res block) a little more heavenly. Even tho we are two countries apart, working different fields and with other special people in our lives, I still treasure my Phatsimo.

I am very thankful for the people that I’ve met in my lifetime and mostly for those that I still have in my life. I’ve learnt that distance doesn`t matter in friendship – it’s all about great and constant communication, and constant could be as often as once a month ☺. It only makes the relationship stronger. As for the ones that left, I accepted that it was for them time to go and that I did the right thing letting them go because…

People come, people go.