Kissa was his nickname because he was born in Kisangani Congo. He was, at first, my brother's friend before I got to know him. My brother always told me about this bright, table tennis champion guy who can finish reading an entire novel in a matter of hours. I was curious to meet him.
I finally did, and in the following years we became great friends.
I remember him joining our basketball team at the university. It was a tradition that new team members had to wait for a year before they got any playing time (at least that was in my case and many others). This was not the case for Kissa. In a matter of months, he became the starting point guard of the team. I was impressed. My initial reaction was to ask him how he did it. He laughed and simply said: "All I have to do is find my passion and do whatever I can to be the best". To this day, I still remember the sentence.
Our friendship grew to a whole new level over the years. In 1994, we created a Sports Newspaper that we called "Le Joueur" (The Player). It was the four of us: Kissa, the one we called Demesure (just because he was handsome), our other friend Montana and me. We mainly wrote about our games as well as the FIFA world cup which was being played in the US at that time. Did the newspaper go very far? Well, after four releases, we were done. Despite this, we were proud of our accomplishments. Kissa was the self proclaimed Editor in Chief.
We had a great time. Kissa was so funny and always had a way to make us laugh like crazy. I remember in 1993, when we spent many months in basketball camp. One day, while we were listening to great Julio Iglesias songs Kissa suddenly shouted "I have an idea! "These songs just inspired me to write Pretty Woman, Part 2 " he said out loud. Did I mention that "Pretty Woman" was the hot movie at that time.
Kissa started to write, and didn't stop for weeks. Once he was done, he shared with me what he wrote, and boy was I blown away! If it was not his handwriting, and the fact that I was there when he wrote it, I wouldn't have believed it was him. I looked at him and simply said: " Man, you are in the wrong country! You should be in a country where your talent and potential should be recognized." Kissa was simply a genius. We had this dream of ours to meet in France in 1998 for the FIFA World Cup but it never happened.
Kissa ended up moving to Canada after many years and became a Superstar. He proved me right. He needed to be in a country that can take full advantage of his potential.
He became my idol, my mentor, my best friend, and later on my Best Man at my wedding. He was there whenever I needed him. He taught me to dream and dream big. We did a project together in 2002 that literally changed my life. I will be forever grateful to him.
His nickname is Kissa. His real name is François Bugingo. He has my full support during these hard moments he is facing. As any human being, he is far from being perfect, like all of us. As he himself has admitted, he made a few mistakes. Who are we to judge?
In my eyes, he is my brother, he is a genius and he is a great man. The world has yet to see what's next for him. He is not done yet.
Always a pleasure