The passing on of one Diana Mutsa Shiripinda reminded me of two things. Like most, two things of unwanted yet jarring reality…
- It is heartbreaking to say the last goodbye to a friend. I cannot say that sharing the loss makes the heartache anymore bearable, but it is heartwarming to say your goodbyes alongside so many of your peers.
- That we’re never ready for it, even if you’ve lost friends before, you don’t get used to it. Perhaps it’s because you’re losing a different friend every time. In this case, a truly unique spirit filled with energy, poetry and beauty.
Rae Lyric’s departure reminded me that none of us is safe from death. We do not have the luxury of assuming we’re safe for now.
And so, we best get on with this life.
If you can inspire people in life as well as in death; if you can live a life of passion and purpose and truth, if you make real connections and leave a real mark on people…get with it.
Let me actually tell you about Rae Lyric: I met her at the Rooftop almost two years ago, she had just gotten off stage after reciting some hard-hitting, provocative poetry that I’d soon learn was so typical of her. I realized it when I met her again and again as the host of the Wednesday Open Mic sessions at The Sanctuary Cafe. Hers was the poetry of a troubled, yet mentally liberated being with a witty tongue and a heart full of fire.
The day before she was buried was a Wednesday. That evening saw the convergence of Open Mic regulars and not so regulars. Together we held the event she had become synonymous with, in her honour and memory alongside other creatives who knew her in other spaces. That session was special for everyone present.
Her spirit was heavy in the air with all the dedications, memories shared and liquor involved. For all that, we all knew that the Open Mic sessions would never be the same without Rae Lyric dropping those fire bars of hers or snapping a bunch of pictures with her camera or singing her well-known call to buy drinks at the bar because “that’s how we pay the rent” as she used to say.