How do you handle the death of a guy who was always around, a guy who had unknowingly become a rock in so many people’s lives? I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. I said I would not answer when someone asked me where this hommie went. I thought that maybe, there was a crazy chance, like those crazy things we keep on hearing about, dead guys turning up at parties, that this hommie would just pick up the phone and holla as only he could holla.
This hommie decided to give up. Like another hommie I knew, he also just slid off the edge. Didn’t even give any sign. The glint in his eye was as bright as ever and the jokes were getting even rowdier. That was a sign that he was back. The chemo was just a momentary thing. Joy would come in the morning and so on and so forth.
But the joke was on me. The joke was on us and it was a cruel one, brotha. How could you go and do that?
There were cancerous rumours. We all nodded and said some unintelligible nothings under our breaths. Because deep down, we didn’t really believe. In fact, when that good lady doc said it was a form of cancer that would cure, we all said that maybe, this judgment was closer to the mark. But still, we believed that the diagnosis was flowed. There couldn’t be cancer in that young bod, surely?
Because this guy was still strong. This guy was still too young to even be thinking of the things people think about when they get the beginning warnings that there is such a thing as the Grim One. Well, as the chaplain stressed at the funeral, he didn’t leave a seed. And he said is so often, probably the Honorable would have struggled him gladly, only that he did not have the strength.
He was the sort of guy who would push his way into your heart. There are two kinds of people; those who have the personality of a steel beam and those who you just cannot ignore. This guy was the latter kind. He was everywhere at once and in your thoughts. His loud voice and the warmth in his laugh were things we would not admit to missing when he took a sojourn somewhere. And he was off often; globe trotting and doing things for the site…
Since back in the day, everyone knew him. From the days when he was in Kitante to the first days of secondary school, to the days after uni, when people had grown and forgotten what it was to be alive. He never forgot how to savor every moment. He was the guy to see if you needed inspiration.
While his pals from primary school were causing havoc in Mwiri, he was into more mature stuff. He was looking ahead, already having seen his dream. He wanted to be in music and even at that age, he was to be heard beat boxing and singing away. I shall never forget those days when one would not be sure if it was Paul singing or Keith Sweat. One could never be too careful guessing.
Then there were all the crazy jokes from Hannington House and you have to give it to him, he was the soul of the party. Because you could throw any kind of jibe at him and you never saw a guy who could take a joke better. Even when the tide seemed to be against him, this guy would simply go over to his locker, grab a mug and prepare a heavy one of Kyugi. Then he would be back, throwing jokes and tearing the roof off.
His A Levels were the most memorable. It was whispered that he could or could have not been part of the clique that finally brought BF to his knees. Of course, those who knew him will laugh off such allegations. This was Mr. Smooth and his talents took his attention away from petty issues like that.
And his talents were born of his dreams. When he started to talk about his dreams, there was always a glow about him that was as infectious as it was subtle. The way he joked about, one could easily dismiss what he said as the prattle of an overly excited kid. But he was mature beyond his years. Even as we called him all those names in reference to his idols, he was always P-Tech. The music community came to know him as such.
But maybe they never really got to realise how strongly he had impacted the industry. Up to now, condolence messages are pouring in from all over the world. Even when he is misrepresented in the media, Paul will always remain a shining example to many other entrepreneurs out there. And for the record, Paul didn’t suffer with cancer for 5 years. He suffered for 5 months. It was a rare form of cancer that was supposed to be non fatal. But then we cannot have everything we wish for, can we?
When the time comes for us to meet up in that place that the bards have sang about for eons, maybe we shall sit down and reminisce about so many things. We shall then ask him how he could have foreseen that he had a short time on earth. Because many of us are still waiting for the right time do the things we dream of. Many of us think we still have the time to plan and to make our mistakes and to rise up and dust ourselves up…
Paul probably didn’t think about death when he was setting up musicuganda.com. He was not thinking of dying at 25 when he was setting up his disco for hire. We can however stick our tongues in the face of death and say we beat him square on that one. In 25 short years, Paul had achieved what many Ugandans out there are only dreaming of.
“…pour out a little liquor…” Tupac