A QUIET, WITTY MAN
In isiZulu, ukuphumula means resting. It follows then that Ntuthuko Maphumulo is resting.
As he rests, his four-year-old daughter is deprived of a dad and her mother declared a widow. All this after death claimed the life of the 30-year-old father and husband.
His siblings, Menzi and Thandisizwe, are now also without a brother.
The telephone rings as I struggle for words to write about someone so close, a friend who became family, my brother from another mother. It is Thebe Mabanga calling, he who worked with and befriended Maphumulo during their days at the Mail&Guardiannewspaper.
Say something in his obituary, I order him. He obliges by offering: "Ntuthuko was a gentle soul who shouldered disproportionate family responsibility with selflessness and courage for someone so young. This was the case when his mother died a few years ago, and he assumed a mentoring role for his youngest brother Thandisizwe.
He was a quiet yet witty character, who rarely got animated, except on the football field, when he barked instructions as manager of theSunday World football team. Off the field, he had unstinting devotion to his wife and daughter, which he expressed with a casual pose, but more intensely in private conversation."
The bond Maphumulo shared with his daughter knew no boundaries. When Lele asks her mother about her father's whereabouts, spare a thought for Dipuo as she struggles to explain. How does anyone explain to a four-year-old that her father is gone for good?
Those who saw him strut his stuff on the dance floor would testify that his was not a stiff body. They will also tell you that he hated food, which explained his skin and bones appearance.
Let us take solace in the fact that he may be gone, but will never be forgotten.
Small is gone to write for the Heavenly Times where he will rub shoulders with the Doc Bikitshas, Mxolisi Ntshucas, Victor Tsuais of the other world.
He is gone to a better world, one not inhabited by two-faced, back-stabbers pretending to be brothers and sisters. Phumula Maphumulo.
Maphumulo, who died on Wednesday, will be buried on Sunday at West Park Cemetery. The service, at 8340 Skopje Street, Cosmo City, Randburg, starts at 8am.