Iko’s true friends were there for her, in her time of need
MY DEAREST friend Iko, I take comfort from the fact that you took your last breath in the loving arms of your mother.
Indeed, as you battled with the terminal illness it became clear who were true friends. Even those that you and some of us regarded as your caring friends showed their true colours.
A couple of questions begged answers during my visit to your hospital bed.
Since your death, there has been a flood of tributes and even those who had abandoned you in the hour of need have suddenly emerged.
I asked on your behalf: “You were too busy to take my calls in my dying bed yet you have all the time in the world to tell everyone I’m dead…
“You told your friends how much of a burden I was when I needed you the most yet you want to give me a dignified send off…
“Make me understand.”
My dear friend, I have known you for about 17 years. Remember how we met?
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was going to a function and a friend recommended you to do my make-up.
It was like love at first sight. We just hit it off.
And we have been friends ever since, although over the years, we would not see each other as much as we desired.
At the time Iko, you had a lot of friends and did make-up for a lot of renowned artists and celebrities.
I have always been consumed by your very calm personality. You liked hosting people and showed them your genuine love.
Pity the same people did not reciprocate that love in your hour of need.
Like the typical celebrity life, you had a lot of friends in your prime and only a handful of friends were there for you in your last days.
Most turned their backs when you were diagnosed with cancer.
But true genuine friends like Manaka Ranaka were there for you in your darkest hour.
She took you in and took good care of you. She was there through all the misery and pain and did a lot to ensure that you enjoyed the little that was left of your life after you were diagnosed.
I remember spending countless days with you in hospital when you were undergoing chemotherapy.
At times I wished I could go through that pain on your behalf. I could see in your eyes the pain of being abandoned by those you held dear to you and spent the better part of your life with.
It has now dawned on me my dear friend that our celebrities are never there for each other. The industry is a dog-eat-dog kind of scenario. You only matter when you are up there.
When things fall apart there is no one to hold your hand. Actually, you are ridiculed and mocked. More often than not by the same people who will befall the same fate.
I remember a few years ago I went to visit a celebrity who was terminally ill and I was in the car with other celebrities. Granted, they were going to show support but boy the way they were diagnosing him and laughing at his misfortune.
The same people who were supposed to be there giving love and support are going to be the same ones spreading rumours about something they knew nothing about.
They are the same ones who will insist that they must be on the programme to tell the world how they loved you.
Some you would swear are trying to revive their troubled careers.
Loving someone is not looking good at their funeral and bringing a bucket of cakes and a donation.
Loving someone is being there for them in their time of need. It’s giving them support while they are alive.
It’s holding their hand while they get injected with a solution that will determine whether they live or die.
It’s going to the pharmacy to collect their medication for them. It’s wiping their tears when they cry out of pain.
As you told me Iko, on the day you got diagnosed, you went to a woman you regarded as your closest and best friend (a government official, who as you said, used you to her own benefit and disregarded you in your time of need) to share your misfortune.
She left you outside her apartment building the whole night – you had to sleep in your car.
You never shared the news with her, she found out several months later. She promised to help but the help never came.
I know you let go of the bitterness…
I know you are at peace and I know you don’t want anyone to come and pretend they were there and look good to the public at the expense of your misery.
My heart bleeds for you Iko but I have learnt the biggest lesson ever and I hope many will learn from your life and experiences.
I was not always available for you my friend Iko, but I did what I knew best. I held your hand. I cried with you. I felt your pain.
I felt your disappointment at the people you regarded as friends. But I’m happy knowing that it was not a lonely journey for you. Your family was there with you. Your friend Manaka was there with you. You are blessed to have died in your mother’s arms, much as no parent deserves to bury their child. I know that you are at peace with the love and support that you got.
I have the utmost respect for Manaka as she took you in at your most vulnerable period in your life.You made peace with life and I know you are at peace with yourself.
Rest my Friend… Until we meet again… I love you and forever will. Yours truly… Lebo Keswa