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I Ran For My Life
I RAN FOR MY LIFE, MY STORY
KABELO MABALANE with NECHAMA BRODIE
ISBN 9 781770 104174
Biographies are essentially tools meant to reinforce the belief in us that it all can be done. They are life’s lessons, seen through the prism of someone else’s eyes.
There can therefore be no bad biographies, if indeed it is true that there’s much to learn from those who have walked a certain path before us.
Kwaito musician Kabelo Mabalane has one such story to tell about the roads he’s traversed. It is a worthy read that young – and old, in the age of nyaope can do well to take to heart.
He was brought up well by hardworking folk who wanted the best for him and his two other siblings, a brother and a sister.
He went to the best schools his parents’ money could afford him, setting him up for a better life.
This could have been the story of any other township kid.
But school wasn’t just for him, even when the Catholic and Methodist schools he attended laid out the best foundation a child could wish for. A three-month exchange programme to the USA notwithstanding, his strength was just not between the covers of books.
But he would realise in good time that his talents lay elsewhere and so would begin the genesis to the founding of TKZee, a boy group he founded with his two buddies, Tokollo Tshabalala and Zwai Bala.
TKZee would be a cult movement, churning out hit after anthem-like township hit.
But because he was young – naïve, even; the wheels would come off this poster boy existence very early in his life. Able to buy a brand new BMW Coupe at age 23, it soon dawned on him that life was a cinch.
If the rock ‘n roll heroes of world bands could fall prey so easily to drugs, who was he to resist the temptation?
He fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Upon reflection he says the Jub Jub Maarohanye story could have been him. How the gods of fate have stood in his corner is something not lost to his young mind.
Girls were a dime a dozen. They came and went through the revolving door of his young life.
If you’re looking for names you will be disappointed because he does not mention any. Noni Gasa is a character in words only; not in name.
It takes a four-day drug and alcohol binge to rouse him from this drunken stupor.
What follows is an atonement of a kind: rescue by Pastor Ray McCauley, rehab, bible school, paying off a huge SARS bill and the torturous road to recovery.
If the gods had so decreed and I personally had a child in the throes of drug addiction, I’d buy them this book.
The language is almost at street level, with ‘like’ and other street-cred terminology generously sprayed in the text. A story that’s like worth reading …
Road running, in the form of the Comrades Marathon, would become his saving grace.
His life story actually ends on page 157 and the next 60 pages are somewhat an afterthought dedicated to running, co-authored by the likes of Ross Tucker, Sarah Chantler and Lindsey Parry.
Nechama Brodie, who did a splendid job in helping to tell the Kabelo Mabalane story should have resisted the urge to penning a chapter on ‘running safety and etiquette’.
She should have left this attempt to the niche magazines that always do it well.
But this is a highly commendable ‘first’ for Bouga Luv, the go-getter.
There’s no doubt his next effort will rival such gems as the autobiography of Rod Stewart, which is a marvel.
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