sipho tried his best to be honest

WHEN I was a child I was in a rush to grow up, now that I am older I realise that I am actually getting closer to my final resting place.

WHEN I was a child I was in a rush to grow up, now that I am older I realise that I am actually getting closer to my final resting place.

To be quite honest, I do not wish to turn back the hands of time, I am actually looking forward to the day when I am laid to rest.

I have led a highly fulfilling life, I have done and accomplished most of the things I wanted. I have been to most of the destinations my heart has longed for, and now I long to tour the other side.

I have met all the people I wished to have meaningful conversation with, I have dated the most beautiful women I could ever dream about.

I have been with beautiful children and I was born and inherited the most admirable genes from my parents.

Most importantly, I have had the privilege and the honour to hear my people, both within and outside the country, say "thank you" for all the difference I have had on their lives.

I am telling you all these things because I learnt that my colleague and friend Sipho Mthembu has died.

This is my silent prayer for him: I hope that he did not leave this life reluctantly, because that is what delays our reunion with all our loved one's and also with God.

In other words, it is advisable for all of us to prepare for our own ultimate passing in advance.

The process of dying and the eventual occurrence itself is much like arranging a memorable trip to an unknown destination overseas.

That process can be long and quite daunting, especially if you have to make all the plans at short notice.

But when you take your time, it then becomes a smooth transition.

I do not feel persuaded to inform you that Sipho was a wonderful, soft-spoken, humorous, fun-loving individual because I will leave that scratched record to all those who have the courage to sound eloquently monotonous.

The reason is simply that in my own interaction with Sipho, may his battered soul rest in peace, he tried his best to be honest.

When I arrived at Sowetan, Sipho was one of the first people who approached me to express his disbelief and shock that I am HIV-positive, when everyone else was trying to be superficially and extra-ordinarily nice.

Many years later, our bond grew stronger because, at some stage, he fell ill and he experienced his own personal challenges.

We made an effort to be there for each other.

When I was discharged from hospital, Sipho called to tell me: "You are so hopeless that even God won't risk welcoming you in His Kingdom."

I am especially grateful to have met a person of his calibre, and I am appreciate the years we spent together, in this life as we know it.

I will shed no pretentious tears because I keep joyful memories that were always filled with laughter and goodwill.