Of all the brothers I ever had, and those who called me brother and those I travelled this journey of life with. None of them come close to School Boy David Tlhomelang.I call him Scholar.
I first came face to face with him in the 80’s in Taung in the North West in the diamond buying office that I shared with my late partner Mr.Morokweng Mothusi, who dragged me kicking and screaming into the diamond business. Scholar found me hard at work in that dark bank like office in that dusty town. I was going through some tough stones that I had bought that morning .Double checking their worth and what I was turn them into.
A tall gentleman, he gave me a big smile as if we had known each other for years. Fact is his Legend and Legendary deeds had precede him and as a young man who was a student of business and all that went on in Soweto and the a joining areas knew of him.
Now if you know anything about the diamond business at all ‘caution’ is the operative word. So I immediately got couscous as we exchanged pleasantries and now I know that there was no need. This is because this is the man I came to trust with my life.
So Scholar left the building and little did I know that he was going to be in my life forever.
Towards the end of my ‘Ten Years In Babylon’ Scholar was one of those people who would pick me up emotionally and even give me money for petrol unsolicited.
It was an open secret that the African National Congress’s (ANC) Underground activities was financed by Scholar. Cadre movement, food and arms movement were paid for and facilitated by him. From Cape to Gaborone to Mbabane to Lusaka to Soweto he was the oil. It is just a pity that after every Revolution. The Politicians take over and begin to kill the romantizm of the goals of the Revolution as they now run the beurocrates and move into the state houses. And the corruption begin as a way of life.
For the record, he is recognised as a Veteran Cadre of note but the honour he gets is in my view not enough. But what is new? most tree shakers of any Revolution never get the fruits. Ask Ernesto ‘Che’ Guavara.The man the Umkhonto We Sizwe (Military Wing of the ANC) Veterans called ‘Mathatho’ meaning Three from the three letter of his nickname. It is quiet ironic that I write this piece, a week after the Cuban 5 just left town.
Anyway in the late 70’s and Early 80’s I got to know that Scholar was the unofficial Mayor of Eldorado Park as well as Gaborone and Hillbrow.When I saw the Iron Duke(Ivan Khoza)for the first time he was driving Scholar around Hillbrow and the are too many great men today who came out of Scholar’s Institution. Many are afraid to admit it because they are now important members of society. Those in Parliament are too numerous to mention.
Here is a man who provided now important people with Socks, t- shirts and underware.Let me call a spade a spade while we are all still alive. You can check all I am saying from those who wish to be honest and tell the truth, who are not too many.
You Know, since the death of Nelson Mandela I have to travel far for Truth, Trust, Honesty and Humility. It seems to me that Even in the ANC this is in short supply. What attracted me to the movement were these principles and I am afraid we may have lost them.
The other day I read a few words from the late Chief Albert Luthuli and it soon occurred to me that Scholar is living proof of some of those principles. One of which is to truly be your bothers keeper and if you meet anybody who has crossed paths with Scholar. They would testify that he was always doing good for someone and not himself.
This is the Brother I know.