Name: Dipolelo Makhubedu
Hometown: Cape Town by way of Bushbuck Ridge
Occupation: Investment Banker
Age: It’s her Birthday
Hobbies: Selfies, Running, Verbal Diarrhea
Today – today! – happens to be the birthday of one of the most exceptional ordinary people I know. She is a social media whore, so it could be enough for me to post a shout out on Facebook, but that just does not do justice to a Queen now does it. So here’s a blog.
I met Dips/Lelo/Rural Hottie of Bushbuck Ridge in 2010 at Book Club. The club turned out to be one of the coolest groups of women I have ever been a member of. Dipolelo was not part of it. She did, however, crash the first meeting ever (because crashing a book club is appropriate, really). There, she got in a conversation with a couple of the girls about a really intense and awesome boot camp they had been attending. I mentioned I was keen but didn’t have a car to get there at 5:30am. Dips figured out we were neighbours and offered to pick me up. Except that she was leaving town for a few days and wouldn’t be there for the next workout, so why didn’t I just take her car while she was away? I declined. I had only known her for 15 minutes and didn’t quite feel comfortable taking over her car. Only once she returned and we started to carpool did I learn that ‘Tiger’ was a brand new prized possession luxury Audi.
Everything about this woman is remarkable. Born and raised in Bushbuck Ridge, a tiny little dorp in Mpumalanga, one of 7 kids. Her parents were small town entrepreneurs and her Dad a pastor. They went to school under a tree. Literally, under a tree. That she went on to get a Masters Degree in Finance from Africa’s top University and become a managing partner in an asset management firm before age 30 would be completely unbelievable if her siblings had not all done the same. Her sister is currently in Amsterdam as the Director of Finance for Shell International. Her other sister a town manager in a major South African city. Her brother a contender for the national team soccer coach. Her other brother a successful entrepreneur. I don’t know what kind of mushrooms they ate under that fricking tree, but whatever it was I want some.
They have also endured well beyond their fair share of hardship. Of 7 siblings, 3 have passed on too soon. Her brother in a motorcycle accident. Her other brother murdered in a case that the police ‘cannot’ solve despite them knowing almost for certain who did it – a community member that owed him money because he had done him a huge favour and given him a business loan. Just last year, she called home to get news about her brand new niece. While on the phone, her Mom let out a blood curdling scream – her sister suffered a deadly stroke while she was on the other end of the line. Six days later, the newborn baby died. These stories have a way of piling up in South Africa. Every one of them makes me consider hiding from life under a rock. Watching people like Dipolelo suffer the biggest losses and choose life all the same has altered my perspective and helped my own healing. It is not that life has less value, it is an enlightened understanding that you do not get to choose what happens in life, but you do get to choose what you do with it.
Dipolelo lives with refreshing abandon. She is an open book, says exactly how she feels and could not stop herself from becoming everyone’s best friend even if she wanted to. It is actually quite disarming and I suspect makes some people uncomfortable. Most of us have learned to worry at least a little bit; about what people think or what could go wrong. We are careful about choosing our friends and behaviours and we limit what we say to manage our image or protect ourselves against harm. She is the freest – and thereby least toxic – person I know. She has a million friends from all walks of life, judges none and I cannot even imagine her bearing a grudge. She expresses gratitude all the time, has enviable self esteem, refuses to worry about things she cannot control and seems to have avoided being damaged or jaded by past hurts.
There is a fundamental rule in Improv acting – ‘say yes’. There is no script. In order for it to work, you have to squash expectations and go with whatever you are given on stage. Dipolelo is an example of what happens when you ‘say yes’ to life. All of it.
So Queen Bravoska, the hottest rural hottie, who is currently celebrating life in Zanzibar – don’t ever change. You are one in seven billion and make everyone that knows you better just by being your unbridled, contagious self. Keep infecting the rest of us with your absurd zest for life. And please, shoot us at least 20 more selfies before the sun goes down.