I’ve been on the road a lot; I’ve spent the last year and a half living out of a suitcase practically. I hardly think of it when I’m out there on the open road. They say home is where you hang your hat, or in the words of Tom Waits, anywhere I lay my head.
I’ve never been a fan of sports that promote nationalism. I always shunned the Olympics, and even avoided busking in Vancouver during the Olympics this year even though I had a gig lined up out there and the opportunity to do street shows. Instead, I was in England, sitting in an expat bar in Covent Garden when the Canadian men’s team won the gold medal for hockey. It was such a strange and amazing experience to be surrounded by proud Canadians (oddly enough, one Canadian I met that night grew up in my ‘hood and knew a friend of mine from grade school!) I never understood the “it” of sports before, but I tell you; marching down James st. in Covent Garden in a sea of red and white clad folks, my homesickness was both amplified by a thousand and abated through the sheer number of fellow Canuks whose presence reminded me that I was indeed not alone.
Tonight, I felt a different kind of homesickness as I watched the opening ceremonies to the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa, while at a nightclub in Singapore. Not two months earlier I was in Sierra Leone, learning so much about the country and it’s people and here I am, sitting in a funky nightclub in Singapore. The night before, I went to the zoo and experienced an “African safari” not two months after drinking poyo with a chief in the jungles of Kono, Sierra Leone. All I could think of while watching that amazing spectacle about how awesome it would be if I was back there, watching it all go down with my friends there. Even though I’m here in Singapore, working with some wonderfully talented people and performing some really awesome arty shows (which I rarely get to do these days), I’d give almost anything to be in Sierra Leone, cheering along.
Africa is both a wonderful and tragic continent; the way the rest of the world views it is so saddening; all we think of are NGOs, child soldiers, the UN and development. But it is SO much more than that. South Africa hosting the World Cup allows the world to see a *different* side to such an amazing place. We can watch a country celebrate its rich culture and we are damn lucky to be included in this celebration.
I’m not gonna lie; I totally got teary-eyed tonight. I can’t even really find the words to write about how I feel tonight. Two months ago, I was experiencing the best and the worst of humanity; at one point I didn’t know if I was going to make it out of Sierra Leone alive. And despite that, I am looking forward to the day I go back.And the opening ceremonies reminded me of the best of Africa and why I want to go back.
So, I say, F**K YAH. GO SOUTH AFRICA! Show the world that it is not all about child soldiers and corrupt governments and yes, it is a continent that can play in the sandbox with the big kids. And I’ll bet it will dust the big kids’ butts in football.