“The last thing I said to him was that I loved him. Face to face. I said it like four times. That’s the best thing I could say to him. And he said, ‘I love you too man’,” said Tafara Samupunga.
Tafara Samupunga, also knowns as Taf, and Tazkudzwa Samupunga, also known as T.K., came
to Oral Roberts University from the small city of Kwekew, Zimbabwe. T.K. came to ORU in 2010 with his twin brother Taf trailing after him a year later.
“T.K. came to college a year before me. So it was the first time I realized I was close to my brother.
I was all tough about it too. I was like ‘Ohh… T.K. you’ll be fine.’ Then I realized I lost a part of me. It was crazy just to see him go away,” said Taf.
The brothers were inseparable. Where one went, the other followed. From painting their faces and shouting at ORU basketball games to causing harmless trouble on the Kingsman floor of EMR, their friendship was inspirational and undeniable. They were twin brothers and the best of friends.
As years went by their joy and enthusiasm molded friendships with the ORU and Tulsa communities. They began volunteering at Victory Bible Church, greeting at the young adult service called IIID [3-D]. It would be hard to get through the door without a huge smile and a big hug from them. T.K. would put on a show for people just to get them to laugh or dance. He went above and beyond to make people feel welcome.
“People literally came through T.K.’s door just to see him smile and dance,” said Taf.
In December 2015, Taf and other close friends started to notice a difference in T.K.
“I thought maybe he was just stressed out,” said Taf.
T.K.’s energy started to decrease as he began losing weight and finding himself fatigued.
“He was coughing a lot too, but it was like once or twice a day and we overlooked it,” said Taf.
On Dec. 11, 2015 T.K. started to run a high fever and the coughing became more frequent.
“We thought it was a minor issue. So we thought, ‘let’s take him to a clinic to get him checked, it’ll be fine.’ We go there and the doctor said, ‘I think we have to move him. This is a serious case’. I thought… ‘it can’t be. T.K. is going to be fine,’” said Taf.
T.K. was transported by ambulance that night to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa. The news of T.K. going to the hospital was kept quiet because he did not want the attention. He was selfless.
After days of testing, doctors confirmed it. T.K. had Tuberculosis.
“We were shocked and confused,” said Taf.
T.K. would be fighting for his life from this point on. The news was released, and the prayers began. Hundreds of people were in and out of his hospital room. Facebook posts from all over the world displayed prayers for him. God’s presence filled the room and swept through the halls of the ICU floor.
“The nurses and the doctors were drawn to his room. They just wanted to be in there,” said Taf.
After almost four weeks of being in ICU, T.K.’s condition was like a roller coaster, but the hope in God remained steady.
T.K.’s tremendous fight ended far too soon on Jan. 15, leaving a permanent mark on the hearts of many. Hundreds of people gathered to remember T.K.’s life at a memorial service.
“He was so influential,” said Taf.
T.K.’s death has dramatically impacted his friends’ lives, but Taf ’s sorrow is incomparable.
“Life is hard. I wake up sometimes just, you know, I used to wake up and look where T.K. would be watching TV and think wow this really did happen?” said Taf.
Although there is pain, Taf is inspired by his brother’s life and is committed to continue the legacy he left. Losing his brother has molded him and pushed him to grow in his relationship with God. His heart is forever changed, and T.K.’s legacy and inspiration will continue to live through him.
“It’s been a roller coaster, but it’s been great. It’s a thrill, it’s scary, it’s got all the crazy turns in it, but it’s exciting that I still have something to do here to glorify God and T.K.,” said Taf.
Story by Daisha Fowler, courtesy photo