5 minutes with Xolani Gwala
This year, Xolani Gwala performed what many people would call a miracle: beating stage-four colon cancer and returning to work within a year. The man with the voice who popularised the phrase “asikhulume” as part of his SABC1 talk show of the same name has been a part of our lives for years now. Gwala,now back on Radio 702, is reserved, but he suprisingly giggles and laughs a lot.
What has been your highlight of 2018?
Going back to work after almost a year of battling in hospital. It was extremely emotional: it was a tough day, but in the end it was all just so beautiful.
What has been your biggest lesson?
That nothing is guaranteed in life:anything can happen. You can be very healthy the one day and the next day you are very ill. Nobody says that because you are ill you can’t recover, but recovery is not guaranteed.The lesson is to live every moment — to enjoy every moment.
Describe your perfect celebration.
I suppose time spent with my entire family, chatting, talking nonsense among ourselves — somewhere away from the city. I grew up in Impendle: that is where proper celebrations happen. It may be a feast, but it’s more than that. It’s more than what you eat:it is just about what you share — the positive energy you share among yourselves and just the happiness of being together.
If you could know the absolute truth to one question,what would it be?
I could ask a question about health: like what is the best way to avoid, uhh… You know, it’s not even about not wanting to die or anything like that. It is just about knowing how to live your best life.
What is the one saying you say the most?
So.I say “so” a lot.
What is your hidden talent?
If I tell you then someone may say I must demonstrate, but, ja, I can sing.
What are you grateful for in 2018 and what is your wish for the new year?
I am grateful for life, I’m grateful for my family, I’m grateful for friends. In the new year I just hope to live. Sometimes, all you need is the basics: being able to wake up and face another day.
What’s next for XG?
With my condition, you really have to take things one day at a time. So longer life: that’s what I hope for.
This article first appeared in print in the Sowetan S Mag December 2018 edition.