I’m back in Tripoli after my slightly complicated journey back from South Africa. It had been seven months since my last visit to South Africa (before the start of my prolonged moved to Libya). I have been away for much longer than that (a year and 7 months in fact) but the awesome year spent in Abu Dhabi had somewhat numbed down my homesickness for South Africa and it was only since moving to Libya that the pangs of homesickness have returned in full force.
Being back home definitely killed the homesickness for now, despite the brevity (three full days) of the trip. So why did I go to South Africa now considering I’d been to London the weekend before? Well my dad is partly to blame. He felt so bad that I wasn’t in South Africa to experience the amazing World Cup vibe, so he decided to get me a flight and ticket to the WC final. Yes, my dad is awesome; I’ve always said this, though I don’t think I tell him this enough. So after clearing the days off with my boss, tickets were bought and I was off to South Africa.
Home. There are two reasons why South Africa means so much to me. The first being the obvious, my family and friends. Having my mom’s homemade delicious food again; Listening to my dad’s amusing stories in his bad English (i.e. “Forget it about” as oppose to “Forget about it”); My little brother’s attempts at informing me about the latest bands in SA music; My middle brothers genius comic timing; My little cousins’ bewildering looks at the bearded stranger claiming to be there cousin; My friends and the latest drama’s in our social circle. All of this is why I miss home and why I love going back there. The second reason is simply a love for the country which I will write about some other time.
My first night back in Thabazimbi, was celebrated, as it always is, with a braai (Barbeque). Our house once again was filled by the loud boisterous voices of my family and friends. My big fat loud Portuguese family. Wouldn’t have it any other way. So after a night of good food, good company, good laughs and the mandatory shisha (Yes I do have a shisha in South Africa who eagerly waits for my return when I’m away).
The next day was all about catching up with my dear friend sleep, just chilling at home and enjoying dinner with my parents and watching the World Cup third place play-off.
Then came Sunday. The World Cup Final. We left Thabazimbi early to pick up the tickets in Pretoria. To my slight disappointment my dad said he didn’t want to go and only got tickets for me and brothers but considering that my dad went to all this effort I would have liked to him to be there too. So me, my brothers and two visiting Venezuelans made our way to Johannesburg. The air of excitement was palpable. Cars on the highway were adorned with South African, Dutch and Spanish flags.
One thing I noticed was the abundance of South African flags everywhere. The WC seemed to have brought a massive sense of pride to South Africans (which had been lacking up until the start of the tournament, so it was just awesome to see South Africans united behind this cause, the cause to show the world we as country were not only ready but also capable of hosting a fantastic tournament.
We parked in middle of Joburg in order to take one of the free buses towards Soccer City in Soweto. There was a great carnival atmosphere in the bus on the way and arriving at the stadium. It was clear that the majority of the people going to the match were South African who had picked a side to support (like myself and my brothers who were shouting for Holland). So the walk to stadium was interesting seeing South Africans, Spaniards and Dutch interspersed with other nationalities like the Peruvians and Ecuadorians I spotted (note these teams weren’t even present at the WC). The Rainbow nation during this world cup truly became THE Rainbow nation as all the foreigners joined in with our kaleidoscope nation in enjoying this tournament.
The stadium itself was fantastic and great homage to Africa as it was inspired by the calabash, an African pot. It’s because of this that it is my favourite stadium of the WC. It’s also reassuring that it was designed and constructed by South African companies, at least some of this was kept local. I really loved everything about the stadium, the exterior cladding, the interior, the roof, everything really. As we arrived at the stadium early we took our time with walking around and appreciating the organic beauty of the design.
As the stadium was filling up, the vuvuzelas became louder and the party atmosphere grew. The crowd erupted into delirium when the stadium lights went down and the announcer announced that the opening ceremony would be starting in fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes later the ceremony started with the highlight obviously being Shakira’s Waka Waka (the song, not something else).
Then what were all there for. The soccer. The game itself was nothing spectacular and went into injury time until the Spanish scored the goal that made them world champions. The two Venezuelans we were with went completely nuts with the goal. The final whistle was blown and the stadium erupted. With the handing of the trophy over and done with we left the stadium and took the free bus service back to the parking lot where we drove back to where we would be spending the night.
It was a great weekend home and which left me wanting more and reminding why I love HOME. Thabazimbi. South Africa
**There’s a song which perfectly describes how I feel about home, it’s called Klein Tambotieboom by an Afrikaans band called Die Heuwels Fantasties. I’ve embedded the video in the post and have included the original and translated lyrics.**
As die donker my kom haal (If the darkness comes to get me)
en die Here my nie soek nie (And the Lord doesn’t want me)
as die osoonlaag vergaan (If the ozone layer disappears)
en in ‘n kandelaar van sterre val (And falls in a chandelier of stars)
begrawe my hart op Klein Tambotieboom (Bury my heart on Klein Tambotieboom)
en strooi my as oor die Bosveld-horison (And spread my ashes across the Bushveld horizon)
jy het nie ‘n graad nie (You don’t need a degree)
en jy het nie ‘n kredietkaart nodig nie (And you don’t need a credit card)
om in die agterplaas soos ‘n kind te baljaar (To play in the backyard like a kid)
en die verte in van ‘n krans af te staar (Or to stare into the distance from a cliff)
die gelukkigste wat ek ooit was (The happiest that I ever was)
op die naat van my rug in die natuurreservaat (Was laying on my back in the nature reserve)
die wind sing my naam (The wind singing my name)
en deur die bottels wat knak hoor ek ‘n skaterlag (And while the bottles are being opened, I hear a fit of laughter)
geïsoleer in donderweer (Isolated in the thunder)
ver van die wolkekrabbers (Far from the skyscrapers)
net die atmosfeer wat aan ons kleef (Only the atmosphere clinging to us)
en ‘n wolkbreuk wat my boekdeel spreek (And a cloudburst telling my story)
jy weet ek het nie (You know I do not)
ek het nie ‘n agenda nie (I don’t have an agenda)