This was the last phone utterance to me from a brother and friend, the late George Bendera who died on the 23rd of December 2006 following the fatal plane crash in Mbeya a few weeks ago. He was a Communication and Information officer with the National Disaster Management Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office.
We had not met for 14 years since when I used to live in Morogoro; and we have not met anymore. I was senior to him by one class and since we parted ways we had not heard of one another until I met his twin sister Lilian at UDSM in 2001. He was doing his degree in journalism at Nyegezi then. Reunion begun that way.
George you have not completed the reunion. The first thing I wanted to joke to you upon meeting you is the way you used to stutter. Was that a mere growing up thing? You never lived to prove that to me. What about your thin legs that made you benched regularly when we played football. What about going to church at the Bigwa Sisters’ church. About taking that long journey on foot to school at Mgolole Sisters’ convent and back in the evening. How about gormandising mangoes just to while away our long ping-ponging routes to-and-fro school.
One day in August this year I received an email message from one George Bendera asking me if I was the John Mwaipopo he knew. I had no tiny memory it was him for we just used to call him George Julius. He had just found this blog. Reunion was halfway now. In November I received his call. No stuttering anymore as he was when we were in primary school. He was in Mbeya for a three day meeting. He promised to come to my work place so that we could chat for a while. I was over joyous.
His tight schedule in Mbeya made our meeting unattainable and he called me saying he was sorry for not seeing me but insisted I visit him in Dar es Salaam when I go there. “See you when you come to Dar es Salaam” was his last phone voice to me. What touches me the most is he was already on his deathbed when I went to Dar es Salaam last week. Was that lethal plane crash just outside my work place another form of reunion?
I have no idea how he changed after growing up. People around him could best describe him. But George you have passed away when we need you most. At your tender age the congregation at your burial ceremony demonstrated how you lived. George I hope you lived a respectable life, exactly the flashback of our times as kids. Your spirit of friendship reunion is what gravitated me to write this little piece of obituary. No one can determine his/her death but you have died too young. You had no business to die that young.
Suffice it to say that God doesn’t fault. We loved you but He loves you the most. We shall meet someday. Adieu George!