Bunny Majaja: My Friend, and South Africa’s Idol

Bunny Majaja has been my friend for almost fourteen years. This is why.

I was not the most elegant, or capable, or even tolerable of teens. I was gawky and shy and used to being the butt of the joke. Primary school hadn’t been kind to me, and I had hoped that changing schools would change my fortunes. So there I was, with braces and bi-focals and a school dress that went way past my knees and made me look shorter than I already was.

And then my fortunes slowly began to change, and a great deal of it has to do with Bunny.

I was pretty good at history, and like Hermione Granger, my hand went up nearly all the time and it helped me stand out amongst the blue-dressed crowds. At some point in mid-standard six, Bunny moved her chair to next to mine, and we started to share notes and sweets from the veritable tuck shop inside my blazer. (I had an unholy love of sherbet – ask her to tell you the stories someday.) It was not long before I counted Bunny as one of my dearest friends – it was she who introduced me to punk rock and the wondrous world of stand-up comedy. In turn, I shared my history notes with her, as illegible as they were, and I began to blossom. I had spent my Pre-teenage years trying my hardest to shrink behind the pages of a book, hoping no one would notice me. It was Bunny, with her inner light and easy laugh, who gave me a friendship I so badly needed. And when she began to believe in me, it became easier to believe in myself.

She has time for everyone, regardless of their differences and their awkwardness. She has a beatific smile, a soaring spirit and a heart as big as her voice. And long before Idols started, she was inspiring her friends and her family, not just with her voice but her determination to use it to make others happy, to resonate the essence of a song’s meaning right through the hearts of her listeners. I remember when she sang at our old school friend’s wedding, and how very special that moment was for everyone in the room. She has that beautiful talent, and it suits her right down to the ground.

Bunny has been my friend a long time, and it is an honour to be hers.

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