Slice of Life: Brotherhood’s indelible bonds

It’s one of those things that started as a joke, but then we talked about it so much that it became serious.

As far back as high school, he would always tell me that one day he would get my name tattooed on his arm. I would always assure him that I would do the same. After all, we had been friends since my earliest memories in preschool.

So one day, a few years after matriculating, I went to the tattoo parlour to get some designs done and I figured: “Screw it, why not?” I hadn’t even told him what I was doing. The next day I went to show him: I now had “NEIL MALOPE” along my upper arm.

It wasn’t long before he had my name in ink as well. It’s quite funny how people come to you to talk and someone will bring up the tattoo thing: “So, I gather you have a tattoo of Neil?”

“Ja.” Then the first thing they ask is: “What happens if you guys stop being friends?”

You start to realise that people are really scared; it’s a fear that in every relationship something is going to go wrong and it’s going to end. It would seem that, for many, that would stand as their greatest fear. Confronting the idea that you will part ways one day with your loved ones is frightening.

That’s why they can’t really understand what I did because in their minds, they’re like: “Yoh! What if this person does this or that? Or what if you fight?”

But it’s not that type of friendship. Even if we’ve fought before, it’s not like we’ve stopped being friends because of one fight.

We’ve been through so much together that it’s reached a point where he’s more of a brother to me. — Sibu Vilakazi, a 27-year-old inventor, as told to Luke Feltham

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.

Advertisting

The rule of law in times of crisis: Covid-19 and...

Under a state of national disaster, some rights may be suspended. But it is critical to remember that the Constitution itself is not suspended

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

New power providers to be authorised

The energy department last week took out a draft of determinations proposing more than 13000MW of power to be supplied

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories