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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

fe'roza, m-air'dim- fr'end, aye, ancy stal' wi'd

...happened to be in London in '88.

Feroza, journeying on ANC/UDF/Woman's League business to Canada, looked me up.

And wasted little time informing me that I had been promoted, my new status -- official tour-guide and valet. Hers

Peremptory though, I arranged to meet with her in the West End, no easy task considering Fi was about as blind as a bat and delayed as one without a pinging device

And  refused to wear glasses, her contact lenses constantly lost usually with no awareness on her part.

How she'd manage to avoid arrest during crack-downs by the Security Branch only God, her optician and the Branch hold the key to -- to this day.

Comrade'd  in the West End en route to the requisite minor pilgrimage to a little left-wing book-store, a literary mecca for politicos in that jamaana, within minutes we're (re) embroiled in a screaming match in the middle of Tottenham Court Road -- centre Court?

Political differences.

Much to the stiff-lipped horror of the natives.

Then she broke down , tears  inevitable, not the first time, as she and I sparred endlessly to the rhythmic demand of an infinitely jingoistic urban tribal  rite of passage

To reparation, I beseech'd her to a cup of coffee, which kindly, laughingly through her tears, she permitted me to.

Feroza was bold, and sassy; loud, and gregarious; and in the eye of her hurricane, there was calm, and tenderness and a huge capacity to love.

She'd always -- years later -- apologise profusely to me for an earlier incident, when she'd chided me about my irresponsibility at the depths of my addiction. I'd coincidentally--and inadvertently-- OD'd the next day, resulting in a coma that nearly killed me.

Later,over the years, she would persistently recollect this, and in her crazy, loving way keep saying, 'I'm so sorry, I didn't know it was that bad; are you sure it wasn't me that tipped you over the edge?'.

It wasn't, Feroza, you were the crazy, zany woman with the proverbial heart of gold who couldn't harm a fly, even though you claimed you would, you could, you should.

I still sometimes think your much too early departure was part of that self-same mischief-making, a unique presence in my neck-of-the-woe's....