The six months that Gift Mpho Leremi was on trial for assault drew a lot of ink from my pen.
He became my pet subject, with court dates on my diary.
I met Leremi at the Randburg magistrates' court in March. The meeting was not a pleasant one.
Wearing a blue shirt, jeans and a black cap, he was drinking coke and reading Sowetan. When I inquired about his assault case, he told me to leave him alone and that his private life was just that.
But after many hostile meetings, Leremi softened up. He realised that I was there to stay.
Over time, I was able to talk to him like a sister would and began to ask him some questions.
"Why did you play truant wena when you were supposed to be in court?" I asked him the other day. Leremi had failed to appear in court on the previous occasion.
Sometimes Leremi would respond but on other occasions he would just stare at me. But I liked Leremi more when he gave me trouble.
"You like me, ne? You came to court just to see me," he once said.
Even with those responses, I relentlessly followed him. After missing his court appearance, I heard that he was seen buying liquor at a certain liquor store. After much probing, he denied ever being near the place and that his lawyer was his alibi.
Leremi knew when he wanted to speak to the media and when he did not.
And when I heard about his death, I had this rush of confusion. "What? But he has just joined Sundowns and his case has just ended."
That was the Gift I knew. One who would be a no-show when everyone expected him to be there.
I still wanted to write about Gift because his drama was attractive.
But besides his mishaps, Gift was a soccer ace and a legend in the making. May his diski-playing soul rest in peace.