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Remembering reggae legend Lucky Dube (Photos)

To mark 10 years since Lucky Dube's death, his former recording company, Gallo Records, will release.

Good try, but I'm no fool, fool

By unknown | 2008-08-13 00:00:00.0

One of the most embarrassing experiences for me is to bump into an "old friend" whose name I hardly know.

One of the most embarrassing experiences for me is to bump into an "old friend" whose name I hardly know.

I had the (mis)fortune to run into one such fellow at a funeral recently.

Initially he irritated the crap out of me, but as we warmed up to each other, I decided to relax and enjoy the comic relief he brought to the sombre mood of the funeral.

I had decided to dislike him when he tried to kiss me when we hugged and shook hands. I am no homophobe, but sorry, I do not kiss men, even if they are long-lost friends.

I gathered from his talk that we grew up in the same township and went to the same primary school. It was clear, though, that he was traversing a rough patch in his life and was trying his damnedest to keep the chin up.

His multi-coloured suit looked like it had been chewed and spat out by a cow, his tie dangled down until it almost reached his knees and his yellow rugby socks all but burst out of his badly worn, green John Travolta boots. He wore a Moroka Swallows cap which he doffed to expose a greasy perm that desperately needed a redo.

He insisted on speaking English with me, and my attempts to respond in Setswana did not help. I speak too much English at work, and when I am off I appreciate some normalcy, but he would give me none. At the graveyard I tried to shake him off, but he stayed on my tail. And he talked - almost out-talked the priest.

And then it came: "Skuif ..."

I do not smoke, so I bummed a ciggie to give him. Moments later: "Make two."

Perhaps this would get him off my back, so I gave him enough to buy two beers.

It worked for a while. He disappeared, probably to a shebeen in the neighbourhood.

Just when I had forgotten about him, he reappeared, obviously sozzled. Traipsing next to him was a skinny woman in an oversized dress 'n coat outfit that reminded me of the queen mother. She sported a wig that was famous for its outrageous price when we grew up, dubbed the R-Fifty. Her thick lips were smudged with red-lips and her make up was as thick as peanut butter. She too was not too sober.

He introduced me: "This is my brother. He is a World reporter."

Damn it, did I look that old?

There was no point in correcting him. I nodded and shook hands,

"Give me a boost ..." He was going for an interview on Monday and needed taxi fare.

Well tried boet. Skuif, make two and boost all in quick succession ...

I told him that the World was banned, so I was not working. He pretended to laugh.

Before he could argue, I "answered" my un-ringing cellphone, and bolted from the scene.