Dubani lived for his art, better still; I should say Dubani’s life was his art.
I had known Dubani for over 25 years.
Although I did not know him personally at Francistown Secondary School because he was my senior, I knew who he was. How could I not know Dubani Dubani when the whole school knew who DD was?
He was after all the insanely intelligent and eccentric ‘A’ student who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind in an era where teachers were not only respected but were also revered and feared for their reckless use of the cane.
He was the boy that walked around the school with a book in his hand and quoted from Ngungi’ WA Thiongo with the same ease and enthusiasm he would tell you about “ A farmer that hanged himself in the anticipation of plenty” from Shakespeare’s Macbeth as if he knew the poor fellow personally.
He was one of the brave ones who were not afraid to venture into the forest beyond the classrooms dubbed, “Evil Forest” after a place of a similar name from Chinua’ Achebe’s classic literary piece, Things fall apart.
When I finally got to meet Dubani in The Voice Newsroom, we got to discuss the “ Evil Forest”, which I learnt from him wasn’t as evil as the teachers would have loved us to believe. We had a great laugh reminiscing about the good old days at FSS and started a long and lasting friendship underpinned by love and mutual respect for each other. We were family!
He was the big brother who was always ready to deliver knockout comebacks to sneering semi-elites who tried to take cheap shots at us, young and poor journalists working for an unknown tabloid rag in Francistown.
He was also the more talented one to whom writing seems to come easeir. I was however the more hardworking and more desciplined younger sister who was not afraid to offer perspective and advice and chastisement when need be.
But I was also the literary buddy to be mesmerized by conversations about Dambuzo Marechera, the exceptionally talented Zimbabwean writer who once told people to let him write and drink his beer at the same time, or so Dubani told me.
I enjoyed listening to Dubs go on excitedly about his ambitions of creative writing and hopefully publishing a book or two.
“We should collaborate on a TV script my sister based on The Voice Newsroom. We have had enough crazy characters pass through this newsroom to pull off a very interesting sitcom,” he said with a naughty laugh on our last outing as he shopped for a phone in Game city mall in Gaborone before we sat down for lunch about a month ago.
Sadly that was my last meeting with Dubani, we did talk about his much beloved daughter Nametso a couple of times on the phone after that but unfortunately we did not meet again.
Fare thee well comrade, Fare thee well Rra Nametso. You lived life freely and on your own terms and for that I respected you.
I can imagine you right now having a drink with your favourite writer, your hero, your Idol, Dambuzo Marechera and talking all things literature over a beer or two!