Life

I saw Dave smile

While browsing through Instagram stories last night, I scrolled past a photo of an old friend, sitting in the Empire Café down in Muizenberg, with a massive smile on his face. What a smile, it made me smile to see such joy, and then something took over me and I was consumed with emotion and couldn’t help but sob. 

It’s the first time I’ve really had a cry about Dave’s passing. I could just see Dave’s spirit living on through what he has created there in the heart of Muizenberg and it made me very emotional.

I wasn’t super close with Dave for the last few years, we were housemates for a few months, about 10 years ago, when I needed a place to stay and he helped me out. I knew nothing about Dave before I moved in with him except that he seemed like a nice guy who offered me a place to stay. We would often stroll down to the Empire Café together and I’d get heavy stares from the local surfers in the parking lot who knew Dave, they’d smile awkwardly and nod their heads at Dave. I was like “what is that about?” Dave would say “they assume we’re sleeping together, coz they’ve seen us leave the Empire together and walk back together.” Although he wouldn’t put it as eloquently as that 😉 

So one morning these 2 old dudes were giving us such a stare and I said, you know what, let’s give these okes something to talk about, and I grabbed his hand and we walked over the train tracks hand in hand. I looked at Dave and he was actually blushing (I had made Dave blush, not the other way around for a change!), it was a pretty funny moment and there were literally rumours circling about us for months after, I’d get asked outright by total strangers if I was Dave’s girlfriend just on my little walk back home alone from the Empire, twice I answered yes just for fun – and I used to think, jeepers does this man know everyone?!

I was part of the very special WhatsApp group that Jef created for his family and friends during those last few weeks and I had the most amazing time being a part of that group, all the photos that came through, but mostly the stories of Dave the underdog and all the selfless things he had done to help others over the years. 

So back to the photo of my old friend and that smile. I felt a little ache in my heart for all that had happened to Dave and how he was taken from this world too soon. It wasn’t a nice thing for Dave or his family to experience, but I felt a sense of peace afterwards for the legacy that he has left behind. A sense of community, a sense of “we can get through this” and just a little something very special in the heart of Muizenberg. 

Dave may have been taken too soon, but his love for Muizenberg and everything he created will live on forever in the hearts of everyone whose lives he touched, and as we all have discovered, there were many.

Dave was truly one of a kind, and I’m sure those who knew him will agree. 

Whenever I was having an issue trying to make a decision about how to deal with a difficult client or whatever, Dave would say to me, you know I’m basically Jesus – just think “What Would Dave Do? WWDD and you’ll find your answer!”

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