There was a shooting at Cape Town International Airport this morning. Siv Ngesi was at Cape Town International Airport this morning. It’s his birthday. Imagine he’d been caught in the crossfire. There’s usually only 2 times that people tell the people they love how much they love them: Their birthdays and their funerals. Or near deaths. So today is a double whammy. Thank god Siv didn’t die today, mostly because the last thing he texted me was at 4.40am this morning, telling me to eat the Spaghetti and Burrito he left in the fridge coz he’s going out of town. Can you imagine, the mere sight of Italian or Mexican food would have me sobbing with nostalgia for the rest of my life. Thank you for not dying today, Siv. I’d like you to keep it up for at least another 80 years.
18th October 1985, Jackie Ngesi gave birth to the prodigy that is Sivuyile Ngesi. As per his first one man show, “Sivuyile means, we are happy. But you people shorten it down to Siv. Siv means “we are h-.” But. Jackie, Mama – you could not have chosen a better name for this Xhosa boy-child that you brought to the world. Sivuyile. We are happy. This is a man who manifests happiness, attracts happiness, creates happiness and wraps it around everyone who encounters him.
I’ve lived with Siv for 6 years. He says 8. I compromise on 7, but I’m better at math. (You’re wrong Siv. I moved in with you in 2011. I know because you made me start stand-up comedy one month after living with you. 2017 minus 2011 equals 6. Don’t fight me.) But I don’t mind that you exaggerate it. I know you do it because it feels like we’ve been family forever. Anyway, Living together for these give or take 27 years has shown me the depths of the happiness this guy embodies.
Giving Siv a birthday present is impossible. Even writing this blog is a pain for him, coz he hates reading. But he’ll do it, because his level of narcissism outweighs his lazy brain. I’ve written a blog for Siv before – after our first year of living together. It’s here. Everything still applies. and SO MUCH MORE. (Well, everything applies except for the fact that I said Copposites was amazing. haha. But it WAS amazing. I’m blind with pride sometimes.)
The Siv I first moved in with was an embodiment of positive attitude and hustle. He was ExploSIV as you said. With his eyes on the stars and he talked the talk, more than walking the walk. The Siv I live with now is the same guy, but one who has actually achieved the level of fame and success that the 2011 Siv knew he deserved. (And he’s just getting started). ExploSIV has become Sivilized. And it’s a thing of beauty to have witnessed it first hand.
I also made him this video for his 29th in 2014.
Like every year – instead of material gifts – He used his birthday to get brands to donate to his charity. The Dignity Drive, for women in need of sanitary products. Someone like Siv putting so much attention on such a societally ‘taboo’ topic is helping in so many more ways than just the physical sanitary products they get. Thank you for changing the stigma, and also always being open to debate with me. Learning about street harassment, the Men are Trash movement, and most recently the Me Too movement. Siv and I have more arguments than people might expect, although – not if you realise we literally are brother and sister – and also, they are debates and they only happen because we are willing to engage and butt heads to learn and expand our opinions. Debating is tiring. But we are all learning, in this young democracy that is South Africa, we are all realising things we thought were ok weren’t actually ok, we are all adjusting – the internet has put a speed warp ramp on that. Siv is actively interested in making sure he’s aware of social adjustments, and that means questioning me till I get so frustrated that I cry. But we always manage to see eye to eye by the end.
2017. What a year, Sivuyile. On THREE prime time shows, across 3 TV stations. South Africa watched with jealousy (and laughter) as you and Janez Were “Wingin It” every Sunday on Mnet, or chilling in your “Man Cave” on SABC3 that got you SAFTA nominated and we watched with outrage as you were robbed the win on SABC2’s ‘Tropika Island of Treasure”.
Then you returned to stand-up comedy, and I’ve personally never been more proud. ‘Sivilized’ is a triumph. Again I worried, like I worried before you launched Race Card in 2012. (I don’t know why I waste energy worrying.) I was so proud. I laughed, out loud. And you know I’m a tough crowd.
The thing with doing blogs like this, is that I know everything I’m saying – Siv already knows about himself, His ego truly is as big as his heart. he really knows how great he is. It’s so annoying. But it’s also so inspiring. There are all these motivational quotes out there “If you don’t love yourself no one will” and we all think that’s profound and true, and we embroider it on cushions or turn it into wall art. But we don’t internalise it. We have that little voice of failure, of what if, of suspicion, of worry about what other people think. Siv, could not give less of a fuck about that voice. I’m sure he has it. (he has to have it, right? he’s not literally super-human). But he just ignores it. And look how he flies.
- Siv’s music taste is: Musicals. All musicals. From the ones you like too, to those weird ones where they talk-sing the whole damn thing. Siv will talk sing along at the top of his lungs. He knows all the words, of course. He also really likes that Wild Thoughts song by Rihanna (if I have to hear that song ONE MORE TIME), and Whitney Houston. He went through an Adele phase – but I haven’t heard her much lately. Rihanna is the most gangster I’ve ever heard Siv’s music dip. And it’s one song. On repeat.
- Siv is so proudly South African. We recently had a fight because I was saying Nigeria is better than us. (We compromised on the wording: We as South Africans can learn from Nigerians.)
- He’s obsessed with Rugby and Cricket. Soccer can miss him.
- He eats a lot of candy. Like. A lot guys. Like bulk-jumbo bags will disappear in one sitting. He keeps marshmallows and jelly-tots in the freezer. They taste better frozen.
- He has never drank alcohol. He doesn’t drink tea or coffee either. His favourite is mango juice. He only drinks water out of necessity. He says water tastes like poverty.
- He falls asleep watching TV every time, as if that’s what the TV is actually for.
- His favourite TV show is Forensic Investigation and Crime Channel. He’s watched it so much he can solve any crime before the show gets there. He knows exactly how and what the criminals did wrong or right. It’s quite scary, he could commit the perfect crime. We always say of each other – if I called you to help me hide a body – I’d do it, and then afterwards ask you WTF happened. I don’t think he’d need my help hiding a body. He’s got notes.
- He’s messy. So am I, so it works. but guys, we’re messy. Clothes EVERYWHERE. That TV show Hoarders would have a field day with us.
- He’s laid back. So generous, so chilled, so not phased. He’s taught me to be less highly strung in general.
- The day I moved in, Siv had put a sign on the front door (our printer still had ink) that said “Welcome Home Dearest Angel, World Domination starts today. Booooooom” He also placed a pair of hotel slippers in my new, furniture devoid bedroom, with a Top Deck chocolate. (Because that’s us Angel, Get it? I’m black and you’re white!) Yes, Siv I get it, give me the chocolate.
Little could I have predicted. not only that you forced me into stand-up comedy (he also told Jason Goliath to be a stand-up, so he changed some pretty significant lives) but that you would become my producer, with 4 successful One woman show tours under my belt, and two New York City club tours, you’ve manifested happiness in my world by giving me comedy. Jason Goliath’s saying is “Love my Life” to remind himself how much better his life is now that he has comedy (thanks to Siv) and I started using “Laugh My Life” when I was performing in New York last year, as an homage to Jason’s saying, and also – by default – Siv.
Sivuyile. We are happy. Love my life. Laugh My Life. Happiness manifested. We could all try live with a little more Sivilization. Trust me. It’s literally changed my life. And look at his.
And it’s just the beginning.
I love being your roommate. Please buy milk.