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Friendzone: Thato Moeng

My appreciation for red wine didn't start on a wine farm somewhere in Stellenbosch or when I lived next to a boutique wine farm during my internship years. No. My appreciation of wine started in Soshanguve, on the lawns of a stadium on our campus (Tshwane University of Technology) with this woman pictured above - Thato Moeng.

We met on campus during journalism school - something we both took as a second option (a story for another day) - and became really close friends.

This is mainly because we studied at a campus that we hated (at the beginning) and then grew to love and appreciate with the more friends we made and all the random stuff we got up to there. We wanted to be at the Pretoria West campus.

We also grew up in the same place, have way too many friends in common and had a particular addiction to attending Tucks Spring Fair, at University of Pretoria, even though we never studied there and the event always took place during the week when we had other shit to do like studying.

During our time at TUT we met some other people who hated our campus as much as we did ( namely
Gopolang, Tshepo, Carol, Msholozi and this other friend of our Vernon who used to sing opera when he was high at the stadium) and together we made it work.

Anyway so the wine thing started because of a Spar Tops (bottle store) near campus and the fact that wine was the only thing we could all share as a group compromise because our drinking preferences were to varied to settle on one thing. So we went from liking sweet wine, to white wine till we settled on red.
Then we found a deserted stadium on campus and hung out there most of the time. I think there is a graffiti on one of the walls at the stadium from a day when we all felt particularly creative.

And it was under this creative buzz that Thato and I decided to start a band called "The Black Nails" (because we always wore black nail polish) and we are still working on our album, 7 years later.
She is fantastic because she is fun, inspiring, funny and swears almost as much as I do. The last point is very important for journalists I have come to realise.
And Thato is so focused, she went from working at a regional radio station a few years ago to being the first female sports presenter on national radio station - 5fm.

The other thing that makes our friendship deeper is that she lost her brother around the same time that I lost my mother. And anyone who has ever lost a close family member knows that sometimes the last thing u need is condolences, phone calls and flowers... but might need someone who has been through what you have, and they can sit with you in silence or crying or drinking or whatever helps make it better.

Also a little known fact is that she is the one who got me onto Twitter because she saw it as a way we could keep in touch while living in different cities. The irony is, of course, I use it more than she does.
She is the closed thing I have to that high school cliche: "best" friend.


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