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Friendzone: Lerato Motshwarakgole

One of my favorite pieces of journalism was written by Tom Junod in 2016. It's called The Falling Man. It's a feature piece about a picture, taken on 9/11 of a man jumping out of the Twin Towers in New York and the subsequent search to find out who he was. I love it because it is a beautiful piece of journalism, the kind I  still aspire towards, where you write a really good story about a really small detail that people might have missed while focussing on the bigger picture.
Anyway, there is a part in there about photographs that always stays with me. It goes: "Photographs lie.Even great photographs. Especially great photographs". And it basically alludes to how we can all read so much into photographs, meanings that often have nothing to do with the moment.
I was thinking about this recently when Facebook brought back a "memory" from 2012, I think. In the picture, above, taken by our mutual friend Lebogang Nkoane, in Cape Town ( I think we were at Neighborh…
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Friendzone: Zanele Mji

Some friendships are not meant to last.

With some people you meet, especially when you're young and having the time of your life, you have fun, you go out, get drunk a few times, move cities and over time, your friendship fizzles out. It happens all the time. No hard feelings and so forth and stuff like that.

I really did think Zanele would be one of those people.

We met in Cape Town or was it Joburg? Party girls, always moving in different directions. She had the best smile, like someone who smiles with their entire body. She had a way of always making you feel like they're genuinely happy to be in your presence.

After hanging in Cape Town a few times, she left for New York. Eventually so did I, but to Joburg, much less glam than the Big Apple, I still stare out my window onto a mine dump.

Life carried on. We kept in touch over social media. Then one day she hit me up.

At that time I was probably at my lowest. I was supposed to be living my best life, as a freelancer in the …

Friendzone: Sibusiso Nkomo

Picture a warm  New Year's eve in Cape Town where you'd spent the entire day chilling and drinking wine with friends and gatecrashing people's parties only to remember that someone in the (step) Mother City had actually invited you to a "red cup" party.

Yep, that was me, last year.

But I eventually made it to the "red cup" party where my friends had taken the matra "party like a journalist" and multiplied it by 100. Because in that red cup, is the most lethal punch I have ever had a party. Like ever. But it was so delicious. Damn. Think, drunk people everywhere. It was hilarious like a scene from American Pie or something.

So, of course, I had more than one cup.

Which explains why I think I am hugging Sbu, in the picture below, but I may have been strangling my poor friend. I don't like taking pictures that much, not especially drunken ones, but this one always makes me smile.

Sbu and I (like many of my Cape Town friends) met in 2010 whil…

Friendzone: Bronwynne Jooste

December in Cape Town is a crazy time. Crazy in a good way. If you're anything like my friends and I, this kind of crazy would mean spending lots of time drinking, drooling over all the hot people in the streets and generally regretting not having taken enough to be able to vegetate with the rest of the holiday crowd. So, going to work in a holiday town, is terrible all year round but it is at its worst in December.
One of the people who had to endure the pain of sitting in an office writing our asses off (and having phones put down in our ears by 'helpful' spokespeople) is my friend Bronwynne Jooste. Or as I like to call her "Bronny Bron". Just like Wendyl Martin (at the Cadet School) and Nontando Mposo (who occupied Bron's desk next to me after she left the newspaper) she had to sit through all my stories about the randomness that was my life in Cape Town. Then every once in a while she would have to sit through more of these stories at the bar downstairs …

Friendzone: Carol Mocumenyane

Picture a scene - your first week at varsity. So although you are scared as shit of finally making it to "big school" it turns out that varsity is still a bit like high school. Not sure what I had expected, this was 2006 by the way, but I remember being disappointed by the drab gray buildings, the food and the general atmosphere. It didn't feel like "varsity" - the one in the movies - of cool kids, crazy lecturers, parties and hot people. I remember thinking that I was just gonna go to my classes, then home, without trying to make friends with any of the other students, because, I thought, I had enough friends as it is, why add more from this boring bunch?

Little did I know that this would be where I picked up my friends for life. Amid all that grayness, and protests that seemed to happen every week and bad wine (Hi Tassenberg), a clique started to form, a clique of people who thought they were too good for journalism school in Soshanguve's TUT campus. We …

Friendzone: Wendyl Martin

Wendyl and I met on the first day of the cadet school. February 2010. 
This was a few weeks after I had temporarily abandoned my dream of being an environmentalist where I had been working as an intern, sometimes living in the middle of nowhere (Bredasdorp, Gansbaai, Stellenbosch) while plotting ways to save animals, fynbos and make it easier for people living in those areas to make a sustained living from their natural heritage. 
It all sounds a bit idealist when I write it now, five years later, from an apartment in Johannesburg. But that’s exactly what the organisations I was working for at the time (Flower Valley Conservation Trust and Peace Parks Foundation) were up to and it was quite inspiring being surrounded by scientists working in fields that I did not even know existed. 
So I spent most of my internship years (mid 2008 /09) in a bit of a daze, amazed that there was a world called conservation that I knew so little about while growing up in Mabopane and always surprised th…

Friendzone: Nontando Mposo

It is very easy to confuse an officemate with someone you are meant to be friends with forever and ever. I think it’s because we spend so much time in the office that we end up spending more time with our colleagues than with our actual friends, relatives and family.
For the most part, I tried to avoid making friends in the office. Looking back, this naïve plan did not work out that well because the majority of my friends in Cape Town are journalists who I worked with at some point or met through mutual friends.
So Nontando was in the Cadet School a year or so after me.
When she was done with her training she was assigned a desk next to me.
She and I hit it off because she was into most of the things that appealed to my journalism sides.
She loved partying, dressing up, had lived in chic places overseas, fine dining was our thing (she, Wendyl and I started a dinner club where we dined at a top-rated Cape Town restaurants each month), fashion (she started a fashion label, NoyoCloset…