A pillar of strength is no more

Manyane Diale

Manyane Diale

They say lightning never strikes twice in one place.

But for me it has, and in a very short space of time.

Recently a close cousin of mine passed on. The wounds in my heart had hardly healed.

They were reopened by the devastating news of the death of a former schoolmate and a very close friend, Josiah Nkodu Pharumele.

I called him Shuffle.

He was a brother, an inspiration and a motivator. I will never forget that he once saved my life.

The call came late on Saturday night that Pharumele had died. He had been very sick for a while but still his death hit me hard.

Instead of shedding a tear, I went down memory lane. Memories as far back as three decades ago came back flashing in my mind.

In particular, the thoughts of one Saturday afternoon when I was 18.

This was nearly a fateful day for me. Pharumele appeared like an angel from heaven and rescued me.

The first time I came across this gentle giant was way back in 1976, when I was introduced to him.

He had a strict disciplined character, so I decided to stay away from him in case I got myself into trouble. I only knew him better when we went to college to train as teachers.

He was a peaceful man who liked unity and devoted his time to his friends, family and kin .

Mohlakeng and Bekkersdal townships, where he was a teacher, have lost a pillar of strength and a man who really stood by his word.

Pharumele will be buried tomorrow at Greenhills Cemetery. The funeral service will be held at Ibandla la Mapostoli Church from 8:30am.