Skip to main content

Friendzone: Melanie Kweyama

It must have been a Friday night when my sister and aunt came back to my house with this chirpy little girl called Melanie in tow.

This was a few months after "democracy” in South Africa and I had never met my aunt’s daughter before because she was in boarding school.

But on that night, while we chatted for the first time in my parent’s house, a friendship was struck.
Melanie and I became friends and what we did not realise in the early 90s was that our bond would last most of the friendships we would acquire along the way.

We kept in touch. Lost contact. But we bonded heavily when we both lived about five minutes from each other in that famed Pretoria ‘neighbourhood’ called Sunnyside.

So while most people only arrived in this part of town during their first jobs or varsity, we were there while in still in high school and really just up to no good.

I will spare you the details of our escapades but they were both good and bad and our friendship made our parents really nervous although they knew that we were good for each other.
Like a kind of “yin and yang”.

So we literally grew up together, became really close friends and still are and it didn't matter that we were related because my cousins are my besties.

We always joke that we became friends because we had no choice but the truth is we did have a choice and we chose each other.

What I love about Melanie is that she can fit into whatever situation we find ourselves in. Whether we are chatting in Portuguese to our Angolan friends in Sunnyside, or chilling at family gathering in dusty Hammanskraal or sipping drinks at the fancy 15 on Orange hotel in Cape Town – Melanie is still herself and not going out of her way to stick out or trying to hard to fit in.

So you will either love, hate her or she will eventually grow on you (or not) but that is who she is and she doesn’t apologise for it, people just have to deal and they did.

I have learnt so much from her. She is actually the more streetwise one, while I possess wisdom that normally involves making shit up on the spot that only sound wise because we are too drunk to care.

And like sisters, we get on each others nerves but somehow can’t stay mad at each other for long.

In our adulthood we recreated our own "more mature" Sunnyside in Cape Town along with Mampala and had some of the best time of our lives till both of them ditched me to go back home to get married and find better work. Sigh. But I eventually followed them home in 2014 and we were reunited and all was well with the world again.


Popular posts from this blog

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 stud…

Friendzone: Sibongile Dalasile

When I started this blog, or more specifically, this "friend zone" section in my blog a few years ago, the idea was that I would use it as a space to big up some of my female friends who have been really awesome to me but also those who, I feel, deserve to have someone tell them that they are awesome because, as you know, the world is full of people who love taking but fall short when it comes to being generous. I should know, I am one of them.
So the "friend zone" was meant to be my token of appreciation to my friends because as the writer in the group, I often have very little to give in return except for words, some cheap laughs and maybe long catch up sessions when we are in the same city.
Sbo, is one of those people and since we don't live in the same city anymore, I thought she would be the perfect friend for me to revive this comatose ploy of mine to spread some extra cheer in the world.

I don't even know where to start because the story of how we m…

Five Questions with Neo Maditla

First published on

Neo Maditla is Editor in Chief of Design Indaba online, South Africa's leading design and creativity platform. features some of the best talent on the African continent and from around the globe. Not only is Neo passionate about African art, but she's also a seasoned writer with experience in print, TV and online. We just had to have her on the Rise Art Prize panel for Africa and the Middle East.

1. What’s your favourite art gallery?
I love the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town. It has a massive collection and I always go there, alone or with friends, and I just spend hours on end looking through the work. It's located in massive public park where one can go for a picnic, visit the restaurant or even take a stroll down Government Avenue so see the monument commissioned by Design Indaba in honour of Archbishop Tutu called Arch for Arch.
Cape Town's Iziko South African National Gallery.
2. What’s your favourite …