Take Me Back (The Whole World is Watching)

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 when I am watching the World Cup
take me back to Cape Town – before TV
when all we had was a crackly radio
and matches on the BBC World Service
faded in and out on Saturdays by the ocean

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 when i am safe here in my cottage
lead me home to black orphanages
where you and I cried
as huge brown ladies in prints and beads
pounded mielie meel in huge pots on open fires*
as children laughed at your and my pathetic drumming
whilst Laurel & Hardy films
beamed in silence from ancient noisy projectors
on creased and off white sheets

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 when I am shouting at some screen …”Ref!”
take me back to jaw-dropping table cloths of cloud
on Table Mountain
and St Mirren playing some strange friendly
with apartheid still ringing in our ears

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 when I am sad because my country are losing
take me back to children begging in the dirt
to Ipi Tombi Athol Fugard
Miriam Makeba and Dollar Brand
plying their plays and songs and music and dance
against all odds and in the face of it all…
while Nelson’s body aged and aged and aged
on Robben Island

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 when I am leaping screaming….”Yes!”
take me back to teeming days in District 6
seering heat and mighty waves
to my old VW Beetle breaking down
in Guguletu in rubble and stone
to fragile corrugated rooves
in shanty towns and townships
when we drove on black buses without a care
and played our crazy football both black and white
like silly helpless rebels on dusty un-tarred streets

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 when I am lost in it all – the colour and the horns
remind me where you have come from – Oh South Africa
always always always remind me
of when we hoped but never dreamt
that one day our now frail Nelson would walk free
and that from every corner of the globe
the best of the beautiful game
would come and descend there
like the spaceships stadiums
now in place…

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 and when we watch…like then
remember too – “the whole world is watching”
and let us hope as we strain and thrill to it all
that there is a legacy in this amazing land
where equality still struggles to exists and find a way

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 and – when it’s over and we go back to our little lives
may this tainted and troubled land rise
and may every soul black white and in between
when all the bubbles pops and the furore dies down
may the future brings them
homes food jobs and peace and love…

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 please?


Memories and thoughts before the World Cup of Cape Town and living there during apartheid between April 72 and March 79.

‘The whole world is watching’ : a classic line from a chant that i think
arose spontaneously from the stage to the crowd during the Free Nelson Mandela Wembley Concert in 1990.

mielie meel : *Being one of the cheapest sources of food available especially for those separated back then, from husbands working away in the city or mines. Strong memories of African women in beautuful African print dresses stirring huge pots of maize into mieilie pap or mielie meel in back yards in the burning sun…..
Here is a recipe I came across for ‘Mielie pap’ (or mielie meel):

•* 500 ml water
•* 3 ml salt
•* 700 ml maize meal (mielie)
Bring the water to the boil and add the salt. Add the maize meal until it forms a little mount in the middle. Cover and allow to simmer until a skin has formed around the maize meal. Then, stir with a fork until you get a crumbly consistency. Put the lid back on and very gently simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir from time to time to break the lumps.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/take-me-back-the-whole-world-is-watching/