Showing posts from June, 2010

Thoughts, Plans, Reality

My desire was beyond reason:  to read seven books packed in my suitcase, for this too-short 2010 World Cup holiday in South Africa. 1)  My brand new purchases: African Roar , a fiction anthology drawn from the very best stories published from 2007-2009 in the StoryTime  weekly literary ezine dedicated to publishing African writers. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy Away  by Amy Bloom. 2)  My 'started but not finished': Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Love Invents Us by Amy Bloom 3)  And two of my favorite re-reads: Drown  by Junot Diaz Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. What was I thinking?  Our days and nights here in South Africa have been filled with remarkable experiences, some startling in their immediate lessons, others to be processed and reprocessed, and then embraced for a lifetime.  Maybe I'll do some reading on the flights back... Mama Shujaa.


Before my arrival, I had heard about South Africa's world-class infrastructure. Now, here in Johannesburg I have seen for myself, the modern, highly efficient systems in place.  Everything Public works!  The malls are mind-boggling in magnitude (Monte Casino and Sandton City, to name just two of the hundreds) boasting four or five concourses, resplendent with shops dealing in everything under the sun, from high-end to designer to modern basics, you name it!  And the people that traverse the malls halls emerge from every corner of the world;  milling about in the enclosed spaces, amusing, indulging, scrutinizing, profiling. Ah, Johannesburg is rich in diversity. Cream colored or ros é , cement walls stretch across homes, opulent and modest alike.  Ten foot walls topped with barbed wire looping in endless menacing revolutions; alternatively, slender, pointed pieces of metal driven into the walls, thorny ends up, jutting with purpose towards the sky, establishing the unmistakable

Nigeria vs. Argentina

Ellis Park, Johannesburg - June 12, 2010. "Excuse me.  Can you please tie your hair up?  Put it in a pony tail or something?"  My husband, cloaked in our Nigerian flag, said to the young lady in the front row, tapping her shoulder one time too many. "Every time you flick it, it flies into my face," he completed his request, addressing her horrified glance, expecting full compliance. The damsel in distress turned anguished eyes to the fat guy to her left before swinging back with a retort: "It's my hair!" Not sure what to expect, I stole a quick look at hubby and "WTF?" was written all over his face. We were now more than thirty minutes into the match and the couple's euphoria was temporarily disrupted.  The fat guy's Argentina was leading Nigeria 1-0.  With fantastic Category 1 lower level seats, just five rows up from the pitch, right behind the press folk, there was nothing to complain about, except an inconsiderate fan

The Price of a Smile

There is a lack of smiley faces here in Johannesburg. And I need them, thrive on them. Just a little something to bid me Welcome!  The slightest hint, I'll take that.  A change in expression, enough to fool me into thinking that you embrace my presence.  Because I want to identify with you.  Whether symbolic, or fake, like the nanosecond ones dishe d in pulsing metropolises like New York . Transform your face, let your smile hold sway over your mind.  Summon the god of laughter, of joy, even if temporarily for the World Cup, because the world has converged on this great country for a month. I've recovered from my initial hurt on day two, when I discovered that you did that to everyone: talk to them in your own language - Zulu, mostly.  I believed you thought I was one of you, felt momentary compatibility, somehow. All these tourists here, staying in apartments, hotels  needing to shop for groceries in supermarkets, for AC/DC converters in hardware stores, asking for directi

Eating, Drinking, Sleeping Football

We are in the vast and beautiful city of Johannesburg where everybody is eating, drinking, sleeping and dreaming soccer. Yesterday, we watched a fantastic World Cup 2010 Opening Ceremony and opening match at a Fan Park in Sandton City. Some questionable officiating notwithstanding, RSA should have won that match over Mexico. Even so, we are pleased with the 1-1 draw, especially after France and Uruguay tied at 0-0. This morning, I am at an internet cafe, my keyboard has a few sticky letters, I'm getting tired of backspacing to fill in a missing e, o, t and f here and there. So, I'll be back as soon as I can with details; the ambiance... This afternoon, Nigeria plays Argentina at Ellis stadium, we will be there.  The vuvuzelas are deafening! Mama Shujaa.