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Life is a record of all one's choices

By unknown | Apr 01, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Over the years in this racket named journalism, I have learnt that you can never be everything to everyone.

Over the years in this racket named journalism, I have learnt that you can never be everything to everyone.

Simply put, you can never put together a publication that will excite Julius Malema, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and their followers each time, every time. It is a choice editors have to make all the time: do I really give a damn if the Arch hates my guts and Julie-boys is rah-rah over me - or vice versa.

In case you are wondering where I am headed, you have to choose whether you publish for those who cherish good sense, humility, dignity, fairness, respect blah bloody blah, or the skiet, donner, dans en vloek lot. And I am casting no aspersions on the good Arch and ambitious little Julie-boys.

It is all about choice. It is a lesson someone should have taught my childhood friend - let's call him Moses so as not to embarrass his wife and lovely children.

Sadly, Moses passed on last year, I was told this week. He drove drunk and crashed his car.

Now, that is one bugger who sampled all the goodies and baddies life has to offer.

Back in the 70s, when it was hip to be African and Muslim, he wore Muslim robes and a skotaitjie on his head that enhanced his image as an intelligent, fearless rebel and deep thinker. He also started calling God Allah.

That was cool back then. Muhammad Ali was ruling the world and he also spoke of Allah, and loved and hated everything Moss did. So Moss made his kudos aplenty.

He hated alcohol with a passion, and renounced the Christian faith for "dirtying" its adherents with holy communion wine.

Moss's vocabulary was dangerous . revolution, oppressor, liberation, imperialists, black power, Marxism, uhuru. He even called me "son of the soil", which I feared was going to get me into trouble.

Some of our teachers were telling us to stay away from politics. The government, one said, was doing its best to help black people and we should be extremely grateful. I confess, some of us felt "grateful" and ashamed that some of our people were showing no appreciation.

I "appreciated" from an early age. My granny Minah brought me some hand-me-down goodies from her white employers, the Liferows, who held a God-like spell over me. My old man ordered me to write a letter thanking them, and I duly wrote: "Thank you madam for the gift I received from thee ."

Pa tore the letter up as he looked at me like he doubted if I was really his son. I cried a bit on the side, and thought he was ungrateful .

Back to Moss. Fate took us in different directions and our paths never crossed again. Years later I learned that Moss was an ordained pastor of a happy-clappy Christian denomination. Well, God is God whether you call Him Allah or Modimo or Thixo - or even The Man upstairs. So what?

But then something happened that should not have happened, and Moss left the priesthood to become a security policeman.

The pendulum of fate had once more swung him from one extreme to another.

But it was not done with him. He got himself immersed in crime - a violent robbery - was caught, and did time in the slammer. When he was released, he drove drunk and killed himself.

Muslim, Christian priest, freedom fighter, security branch cop, criminal, teetotaller, drunk - all in one life .

He would not have made a good editor.


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