Kicking up a storm…

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I knew early on in planning this project that there would have to be a song about football. Simon loved the game, both as player and spectator; Charlie played professionally for a while until he decided to follow his father’s legacy as a singer, as did his brother Tonny, and his youngest sister Amanda is goalkeeper for the national women’s team The Mighty Warriors and during my stay participated in a decisive win against Lesotho in the Unity Day Cup. Click on the link for a pre-match photo of Amanda, looking incredibly like her father!

Along with thousands in and around Bulawayo and its diaspora, Simon was passionate about the city’s team Highlanders and rarely missed a match. I was often left to my own devices, or put in the care of family or friends, whilst he went off to Barbourfields Stadium. He was over the moon when I bought him a Newcastle United shirt which sports the same black and white stripes as the Highlanders home strip.

(Click on the YouTube icon to play this clip)

We already had a song of Simon’s that we could work on – Amahlolamyama (one of many nicknames for the team meaning a type of black and white bird)was written for the show Matata and is still very popular. Charlie took the chorus and added new elements to the song including the sound of the vuvuzela, the ubiquitous plastic horn which endeared itself to the world in the 2010 South African World Cup.

Other nicknames for the team – Siyinqaba (we are victorious), Tshilamoya (we turn spirits around), Bosso (the boss)and Bossolona – appear in the song.

So what could my contribution be? The lonely cry of a football widow – “please excuse my jealousy, but did he love you more than me?” – and a rap over some commendable beat boxing from the guys, telling the story of a weekend trip to the wonderful Victoria Falls, quite early on in our relationship. Our idyllic stay in one of the most beautiful and romantic spots in Africa, if not the world, had to be cut short – painfully so, as it necessitated getting up at two in the morning to get the bus – so that Simon could be back in Bulawayo for the match on Sunday afternoon.

Our version of the song is proving immensely popular with children in the workshop I have devised for primary schools based on this project. They enjoy singing parts of the song, trying to get a sound out of the vuvuzelas, and joining in the final chant – Bosso! clap clap clap…

Shifting into panic mode

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Can’t believe how much I’ve got to do before I go – apart from all the trip and project preparations, it’s my youngest granddaughter’s birthday at the weekend and I’ve also got to take Christmas into consideration, never mind about all the other projects I’ve got on the go…

Charlie, Simon’s son, is well on with rehearsing songs with Sunduza after a Skype chat we had about potential song collaborations. One is based on Woza Ngena, a traditional song Simon performed exhorting children to learn and keep alive their traditional songs and games.Simon loved children – he has five – Charlie, Ormmie, Tonny, Cristabel and Amanda – plus a little granddaughter Ashley.

Simon's first meeting with his granddaughter, Johannesburg 2011

Simon’s first meeting with his granddaughter, Johannesburg 2011

I found this video on You Tube of a nice exchange Simon had with children in the audience during a Sunduza tour.