The pain of losing your wife is also ours, Rhoo

First and foremost, let me extend my heartfelt condolences to Lucas "Rhoo" Radebe and his family on the death of his wife Fezi after a long battle with cancer.

First and foremost, let me extend my heartfelt condolences to Lucas "Rhoo" Radebe and his family on the death of his wife Fezi after a long battle with cancer.

More often than not ordinary citizens like you and me are deceived into thinking that our sicknesses, our pain, our challenges and our weaknesses differ from those of people who are more privileged than us or those who have a higher public profile than us.

This assertion might be true in so far as it concerns access to resources and to the best medical guidance that may not necessarily be available to every Tom, Dick and Harry.

In my isolated journey through not only living with HIV but also being one of the most public pioneer of positive living in our country, I have learnt that the pain and the transparent tears that slowly drip down our infected cheeks are the same.

Some of us might be able to hide the blows through thick make-up and others might be able to alleviate the trauma through psychological interventions - but the truth is that we are all human and our collective strife is what defines our humanness.

One of the greatest attributes I have always admired in Lucas and his late wife has been their humility.

I also truly appreciated their openness when they discovered that Fezi was suffering from cancer.

And the noble fact that "Rhoo" mastered sufficient courage to be by his late wife's side through thick and thin until death indeed parted them , is something that I will always cherish and draw strength from.

But such an act of courage, wisdom and loyalty is not astonishing if one has followed Lucas' career, from his early days at Kaizer Chiefs, through the period when was captain at Leeds United in England and when he skippered our national team, Bafana Bafana.

There were instances when Lucas would be injured during a game but would continue playing because his team had exhausted the allowed number of substitutions.

The fact that Lucas remained at Fezi's side throughout her illness, leading to her ultimate departure from Earth as we know it, should be a great lesson to each and every man (literally) in this country.

As always, Lucas has led by example, particularly to young men who lack commitment, and those who often see women as sex objects or reproductive tools.

I want to tell Lucas, and every other man who has remained loyal to their ailing partners, that they should find solace and strength in the heroic roles they have played in inspiring irresponsible lunatics among those with whom we share the air that we breathe.

I do not wish, nor do I have the power, to minimise the overwhelming sense of his loss, but I do want to impress on the family to focus more on the memorable times they have shared with Fezi, and the silent difference she has made in other people's lives, especially other women all over the world who are also living with varying forms of cancer.

As distant as it might be, Lucas, since you have asked to mourn in private, be reminded that your pain is ours and the joys of life is also ours.

May God bless you and your family in this darkest hour of loss.