Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
Dammit! Without this phrase, or expression if you like, Tommy Makoe would not have completed his sentence.
He would loudly say this with his fist banging on the desk every time he came across a nonsensical phrase or word.
"Hey Kenosi, your people should stop thinking in vernacular. Ke sekgowa se! [This is English]," he would say with his permanent and largely mischievous smile.
I suppose his colleagues in the subs room were already used to his gravelly voice which could at times be irritating and high as he went about his daily routine of "fixing English" as he put it.
For the uninitiated, "fixing English" to a sub-editor means crossing all the t's and dotting the i's in a story - to make sure spelling, context and any grammatical or linguistic error is picked up and rectified.
He is now done with that. All that remains with us is the memory of him.
A good memory indeed, which we should all cherish and celebrate.
It didn't take Makoe long to establish himself in the Sunday Sun newsroom.
In fact, he had become such an integral part of the newsroom it was hard to believe that he had been there for only a few months after leaving Sowetan to join us last year.
Tracing his last moments at work, Makoe incidentally took over the operations in the subs room last Saturday when he bullied all of us, including the acting editor Linda Rulashe, and imposed the headline "A liar and a cheat" on us in last Sunday's edition
We were approaching deadline and were left with the front page and main story's headline when he, out of the blue, came up with the sub-headline "Pam Has Steamy Sex With French Pilot".
I objected to the headline and told him to "get off" but in typical Makoe style he replied: "Dammit! Is this a tabloid or a Sunday church paper!"
That was Makoe saying goodbye to his colleagues - only this time in a manner that can only be explained by his Creator who knew that this contribution was to be his last in the job he loved, cherished and jealously protected.
To many of his peers, this was a lousy job for "tired old toppies" who could no longer do the field work of reporting. But boy, Tommy Makoe loved this job! He lived for the job and did a bloody good job of it.
To die ouens in Ndofaya, Meadowlands, where Makoe was born and grew up, he was a champ.
The Ndofaya influence was evident in everything about him - from the dress sense, the laid-back approach to life and much teasing of each other.
He was good at throwing out jokes and could also take one equally. Like all of us from Ndofaya, he enjoyed his beer in a 750ml bottle.
Now that he is gone, all I can say is Dammit! Death has robbed us of Tommy Makoe.
How cruel of you death to do this to the journalism fraternity, to his friends and family and most importantly, to his young wife and children.
Go well my brother .
Makoe will be buried on Saturday at Avalon Cemetery.
The service, at Bapedi Hall, Zone 3 Meadowlands, starts at 7am.
The memorial service will be held today at 12.30pm at Media24 in Auckland Park.