By Bheki Hlabane and Lauren Hills
Preparing for a funeral is the ultimate acceptance of death, and not something you want to think about while fighting to live.
Yfm DJ Khabzela, 34, real name Fana Khaba has HIV and Aids. At his house in Soweto on Thursday, he was given the Nation Builder's Award. The award was sponsored by B3 Funeral Services - and part of the prize is a free burial when he dies.
The company gave Khabzela the award in recognition of his contribution to the fight against HIV and Aids and his will to live. Khabzela is an HIV and Aids ambassador for the youth: using his popularity and the medium of radio, he conveys the message of awareness.
Khabzela said he felt he had been chosen "as a child of God".
His home garage was transformed into a dining room with white cloths covering the long table and chairs. The choir, dressed in black, sang hymns before the opening prayer was spoken.
The champagne cork was popped but as the sparkling liquid dripped to the ground, tears fell and the room was filled with sadness. What was meant to be a celebration, felt more like a memorial service.
Khabzela's voice was barely audible, but he seemed adamant that it was not the end. He said he missed his show and he would "be back on radio talking crap again".
While B3 was talking of funerals, Khabzela was talking of life.
Greg Maloka, 30, Yfm station manager and MC for the day, said "as much as people are feeling sad, this is a proud moment."
Lydia Khaba, 75, mother of seven, including Khabzela, said she felt "comforted".
Tshidi Khaba, Khabzela's eldest sister, said: "At first it was difficult to accept that Khabzela has a life-threatening disease, but I have finally accepted this reality and he has my full support."
He responded: "My mother and sister are my pillars of strength."
Thin, weak and wheelchair-bound, Khabzela still exuded inner strength through his sense of humour and charisma. However it was difficult for the 50 people, mainly family and friends, to see him as Maloka puts it, "the same old crazy guy from the airwaves".
Isaiah Sibambo, 26, from Nelspruit, has been hired to be Khabzela's 24-hour caregiver. He said Khabzela was very weak physically and in a lot of pain, but had remarkable inner strength.
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