In my 30 years of existence, I think I have changed friends more than I have probably done new sets of underwear. I have made friends of different backgrounds; from atheists to religious zealots, grade 7 dropouts to Ph.D. candidates, the rich and the poor, you name it, I’ve had it. I’m naturally a “chomies” person and probably spend an average of 16 hours of my day with friends. To me, their contribution to who I am is unmatched as compared to that of relatives.
I remember I was once told by an ex I’d rather forget, how my friends were going to be my downfall in life because I was way too loyal towards them. She was right, my greatest strength once became my biggest weakness whose impact still echoes up until today. I’m one loyal person to my people, but also I’ve come to realise that if it’s not working for you then SCRATCH IT OFF. Don’t be afraid to do it; if they don’t work towards your end game CANCEL THEM OUT. It’s a good thing for both you and them. One thing I have learnt at a very later stage in life is that it’s okay to be selfish sometimes. To put YOU on top of everything else is allowed, so when you do it, do not panic or feel bad about it. At least that encounter did not go down without any lessons learnt.
As a way of safeguarding myself and those I let around my inner circle, I have come to master how to friendship in this life. For me, the greatest secret is to accept that every friend serves a different purpose in your life. I believe never put your friends in one basket otherwise at the end of it all you will find yourself with a mixed masala dish or worse one huge rotten basket (I’ve done that and suffered the consequences so trust me, I talk from experience). Their personalities might clash or worse still one might influence a change in the purpose you want your other friends to serve. I have a long list of friends but I decided to use these guys as an example of how I am friends with them because I can handle the heat in case I say some messed up things.
The Brother. From as long as I can remember my cousin has been my closest friend. He is the first buddy that I knew and our love for each other was not forged by the common blood that runs within us but rather a bond not even our parents could understand. Jones has always been that one guy who was a step ahead of me and I have learnt a lot from him. Both our tribulations have always been shared equally as a success for either of us; the same goes for our trials. He is the guy that taught me how to be smooth with the ladies at 15 and man were we smooth. I always shudder when I think of the day we crashed a car on the neighbours wall after a night out. I have never been that frightened of my dad the way I was that day. Despite being a wild one, Jones takes care of his own, (something I think we both cherish) and always has a 6th sense about my relationships (the guy can predict my failing ones from a mile away) He’s married now has two kids and still climbing up the ladder at his workplace. I genuinely love this guy from the core of my heart and probably have a lot to thank him for because he has been the brother, friend and cousin that I other people forever dream of.
Beast. The first time I met this guy was in high school. I mean we were all about girls booze and being macho back then. Mthabear was one of the rowdiest guys you could come across and that made him stand out. He believed in the violent way of sorting things out and within a space of a week after he arrived as a new comer, he had already cemented his dominance. Its funny how some felt him as a threat, yet he was the coolest guy to be around. Being behind his back gave me that back up I needed to be a loud mouth. Wherever we went even on holiday I was that Chihuahua that does all the barking, and him all the biting. The first pair of Levi sneakers I ever owned were from this guy after he visited South Africa. I am forever grateful to him and I try to pull through whenever he is in need of my help. It’s funny how our friendship, despite the lack of constant communication still stands. I remember one bad joke he once pulled on me. I almost drank a bottle full of pee after he had convinced me its pineapple juice. That was the sickest prank I have ever been involved in. Luckily his conscience kicked in before it was too late. Beast is now a reformed Christian who tries all his best to live by the bible. Everytime my phone rings I know I am about to get one long lecture, a sermon and a prayer over the phone.
Chief Jecha. I became friends with this guy when I started working for Urban Culxure as a writer in 2016. We share the same name (My aunt named me Kudakwashe and for some reason I always fail to ask her why) and that has usually caused a lot of confusion whenever we are in my circles. I prefer to call him Stiff, a nickname one of our friends and I gave him when he started getting big. One thing we have in common is that we both have a short temper, (although I believe I am more accommodating) and that has affected the decisions we make as both business partners and friends. He tells things as they are, with a bit of sarcasm and hence the title Chief of Jecha. We argue a lot and fight but in the end we always find a working way forward. Stiff is a hardcore eKasi boy and its difficult for him to adapt to a more formal environment, which actually makes it a bit irritating but yet unique. I always tease him for being a Director who acts like a company slave.
The Queen B. If you view my life as a big mess, just know she’s the one to blame because she knows my deepest darkest secrets and is the only licenced “rebuke” I have. She is the one that has taught me all about responsibility. I play the role uncle to her kids whether I like it or not. Most of the times she is absent due to work and I have to run around doing school runs and attending prize giving days (yes my nieces are intelligent). Man, my own life is going in a thousand directions, but she trusts me to guide her teenage varsity going boy into manhood. I enjoy playing uncle (because most of the things that require finance are excluded from it). She is my spiritual guardian and always seems to see things before I do (just like Jones).
The Human Teddy Bear. If there is one person that I know is always listening, it’s this guy. Whenever I feel like venting “Uncle Dons” is always there to be a verbal punching. All he says is “Yah Neh” and that’s it. Sometimes he offers a solution to your problem, but he is always politically correct and unbiased as you would expect of someone you are venting out to. I sometimes think in another lifetime he should have been a counsellor or something. One thing that surprises me is that I’ve never seen Dons angry. I mean this guy just NEVER gets angry despite any situation he is in. You will be there blowing a fuse and he will be next to your smiling and laughing at the situation. Another thing I like about Dons is that he recounts every good deed anyone has ever done for him. For me that’s the greatest form of loyalty; TAKING CARE OF YOUR OWN. Whenever he takes me to his gigs (particularly to Weddings) he always makes sure that we get served just after the VIP table. It’s actually a part of his contract best believe it. That is why I go to gigs with him. He has weird jokes that are only meant for intellectuals so he makes me feel intelligent wherever I converse with him.
You need to know your friends, study them and have a working strategy around them. Analyse their strengths and weaknesses (darn, read Sun Tzu’s Art of War if you have to) and find out how they best complement you. Remember, If they don’t work towards your agenda just scratch them off!!!
When you sign a pact of friendship you tend to feel it’s authenticity because it is voluntary; no one can force you to be their friend, it never works that way. On the other side, you do not choose family or the people whose blood runs in your veins hence this means that with family you take what is bestowed upon you; your freedom of choice is quite limited in choosing relatives. That’s why friendships stand out for me. Amakhanka (the wolf pack) as I would loosely refer to them, are my hype-men, my advisors, my diaries and even chief financial officers during hard times. I usually feed off their energy to reflect my own positivity around other people. Whenever I’m with them my personality just springs to life because they bring out the best in me. One important lesson for me is that friendship is an invaluable entity, it can never be bought at the market place; so make sure you get the best out of it.