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Friendzone: Lesego Kgosimolao

The years following the 1994 elections were a bit strange in Pretoria, the place where I grew up. I was somewhere between Primary and High school and people were doing either one of the following things: sending their kids to schools that are not in the township or moving to suburbs to be close to the schools that wouldn't allow kids "who lived too far."

So when the "let's send out kids to suburban schools wave" hit, my parents did not see the need and I went to a middle school that was a ten minute walk from my house and that was where I met and became really good friends with Lesego Kgosimolao. My first GBF.

As you can see from the photographs, Lesego is as fine as he is stylish - in fact he is a stylist. I remember in school, when I'd be walking around with dusty buccaneer shoes and a tunic that wasn't that familiar with an iron and there Lesego would be, always in a pair of shiny shoes, neat tie and a crisp ironed (I might add) white shirt. His arrival at our school may be one of the reasons why my classmates and I were suddenly inspired to dress more neatly. 

Then we started becoming friends and it had more to do with his sense of humour than anything else. My sense of humour was very dark and so was his. We clicked immediately. He, for example, did find it funny when I said his neighbour reminded me of a mealie or when we gave people names (which they were not aware of) so we can talk about them even when they were in the room with us.

And what tended to happen with friendships that start in school is that we outgrow each other as our interests change and our lives move in different directions. But even when he left Pretoria for JHB and I made the great trek to Cape Town, we somehow still kept in contact, and even when we hadn't seen each other in years, it was always like we never left - each time we were reunited.

We partied up a storm, back when it was still cool to go crazy on Long Street like we were high school kids. We chilled. We ate good. Took lots of pics and yes, continued to have a laugh at everyone else's expense. He even taught me how to negotiate with barbers when, one morning, we walked to a place for him to get his hair cut and he kept asking the barber for too many things - cut, fade etc only for the barber to realise that all he wanted was a fade or trim or whatever they call it and  Lesego would be paying only the small amount for one specific thing rather that hundreds of rands for the complicated hairstyle he had asked for initially.

So I always miss his sense of humour and the fact that he is not clingy - whether I see him once a year or twice a month - it really does not matter coz he is my friend and we both know that and that is really all that matters.


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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.

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