John Ekongo SO long son, you have lived your life with poise and courage, your smile and noble propensity is all that you left us. Indeed you have served not only with servitude but also with the humility of the man that you were. So long son, without you, the "potjie" won't be the same again The past week has been a heavy burden on mine own soul, and the loss of great and very close friend is always not an easy pill to swallow. It only reminds us again more often than not about our humanity, emotions, tranquillity and devotion. Strangely enough, Chris Hawala being the ever-funny yet immaculately intelligent person that he was, after reading my many articles jokingly referred to me as the funeral correspondent for this paper, given the obituaries I did of our departed leaders earlier this year. "Chief, it looks like the only time you make front-page news is when someone dies," are the words he said to me once at our usual bi-weekly potjie gathering at my dwelling. Ironically, two months later I find myself writing about him - about his death, "the son" as he insisted I call him, because of my seniority. Notwithstanding that there is only a four-year gap between us. Dear readers I trust and do hope sincerely that today you will forgive me wholeheartedly for using this platform to be melodramatic and melancholic, compared to the usual satirical route, in paying tribute to a good friend. A fine gentleman, with a contagious liking to foe and friend, enemies he knew none. There is no doubt about that - Chris was an epitome of peace. I quickly glanced through the pages of my dictionary to find the right wording and definition for the word friend. And it defines friend as follows: "one attached to another by affection or esteem, trust and mutual understanding". By any standards, the criteria used by the dictionary are quite difficult and astute, nevertheless most definitely not attainable if we are to go with the direction of the most proficient book. However, by my own standards, I think I have quite a few substantial friends I can knock on any time for a piece of advice. The question is how does one determine the value of each friend towards the relationship and the bond you have with someone very close. Someone would say friendship goes beyond flaws, and it transverses beyond an ordinary value, but words themselves are nowhere near the experience of a real friendship. What it is, it's an in-depth correlation combining trust, support, communication, loyalty, and understanding. And that was the Chris Hawala we knew, Remember when you are down and out and mid-month you are broke, you ask for help, someone gives you money and jokingly says, 'anytime John come by my bank when the times are tough". Or when he says "there is no way in hell that I will drink alone a bottle of Bells whiskey" or even cynically calling you with two more hours to go before the end of the working day to let you know that his bosses stressed him out and we should meet in 10 minutes to drown our worries with the finest lager. Truly the good die young. Incidents and examples are aplenty of the goodness of this young man. I am sure just as many have been touched by the goodwill, warmth and solitude of Chris, One thing that I am more than certain is that he will surely be missed by many of us who have gotten infected by his friendly disposition. Undeniably, Chris your absence in our midst will surely be felt, even if the Almighty himself had the hindsight to provide us with another Chris, there won't be any measurement, you have done your part. In this sad time of darkness, my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of the late. May his soul rest in eternal peace. Without you "the potjie won't be the same again", nonetheless so long dear friend, so long son. Chris Hatutale Hawala you will be fondly remembered. Sorry Ngo!
2008-07-04 00:00:00 10 years ago