Some things don’t make sense in life, and never will. What I am feeling right now is hard to put into words.
I can’t believe I am now referring to City Press’ executive editor, Dumisane Lubisi, in the past tense – less than 48 hours after what ended up being our last conversation.
With great sadness, I think about this unimaginable loss of a true friend to a sudden heart attack on Friday night.
On Friday, he was jokingly adamant that he would not attend a planned work gathering next week.
If that wasn’t a hint, then I don’t know.
Clearly, he knew what he was talking about and he indeed won’t be part of the event.
To me, Dumisane – he was always correcting people that he was not Dumisani – was not just a colleague but a real friend.
We shared so many secrets because he was someone you could trust and confide in.
Sadly, he took all those secrets with him and life will be forever altered without his sense of humour, wisdom, vision and telling it as it is.
I always admired how he never judged or forced his opinions on anyone, but offered valuable and truthful advice that I will sorely miss.
When I took to running, he followed suit and soon overtook me. I still remember his first race in Pretoria a few years ago.
Although it was hard for him, he vowed not to stop, and he didn’t.
I did just one full marathon, but he had many under his belt. He took to running like a fish to water and he loved it.
Even on his last day on this planet, he went for a jog. I’m told that he initially wanted to run just 5km, but he ended up doing 21km in under two hours.
I called him Ras after Rass Dumisani (the famous musician who butchered our national anthem a few years ago in France) and he liked it.
My thoughts go out to his family, parents and siblings, and particularly to his three boys, Thando, Siyamthanda and Wandile.
He lived for them and they were the apples of his eye.
Like any other father, he only wanted the best for them and this drive was sometimes misconstrued as being too harsh. But he would go to any length to protect them and guide them so they could become good men in the future.
My friend was loving and real. He was a wonderful father to the three and laid a strong foundation for them.
The many people who love his children will watch over them, as he is, and make sure that they have a great life, full of his values and wishes.
Our newsroom will never be the same again.
He was firm and uncompromising because he wanted the best for the paper.
He was our go-to person when it came to legal issues and he would put up a fight if reporters broke basic journalism rules.
He was our internal press ombudsman and gatekeeper, not because he wanted to avoid corrections and apologies at all costs, but because he practised good journalism.
He hated it when reporters got it wrong and had to retract the story. He was the epitome of perfection.
Added to this, his dress sense was out of this world. He was our newsroom’s fashionista with his different suits and sharp shoes.
He hated it when he had to spend money on clothes, but couldn’t help it when he saw something he liked that was on special.
He would say: “I couldn’t help it, with so much discount!” And he would sometimes regret the decision later.
Those who didn’t know and understand him thought he had a short fuse and picked fights. But this was not the case. He stood up for what he believed in – no matter how the other party felt.
Just last week, he was telling me about an incident at his house.
While he was out shopping, someone went on to his property and removed bricks that he was going to use for renovations.
His neighbour alerted him to the situation and, on his return, he confronted the guy. The perpetrator told him he was sent by his boss to take the bricks.
“When I got to the house, the boss was on the phone and they would not let me speak to him until he was done on the call, but he took too long even though he was aware I was there,” he told me.
“I then forced my way into his room and asked him why they took my bricks. He said they were removing rubble in front of my yard. Imagine, my old new bricks!”
Suffice to say, all his bricks were swiftly returned.
His passing evokes a keen sense of sadness in that he was in charge of this paper’s Voices section, and he had his own voice – which happened to be his last – in this week’s edition of Dashiki diary.
I will miss our daily interactions – be it over magwinya or during our short trips to our Food Lover’s Market.
May your soul rest in peace. I will see you again, friend.