The Heart Of Of It All (Looking Back)

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 “In my country we go to prison first and then become President.”
Nelson Mandela

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 the tournament trials they are over
as we try to get back to our lives
but we pray there’s a legacy out there somehow
and the feeling can grow and survive
while the images flutter before us
and the vuvuzelas cease to call
whatever our thoughts on who lost or the cost
there was more at the heart of it all

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 on the 12th day of June in Pretoria
in South Africa in ’64
a man who had challenged apartheid
was locked away for ever more
but somehow the strength never left him
and change blew the dark clouds away
and in 1990 we were glued to TVs
for his long walk to freedom that day

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 and we think of the struggles still burning
so far once from you and from me
as we take down our wall charts we think of the warmth
from a people who fight to be free
where giant white mansions and little tin shacks
continue to outline divides
but we witnessed much more than the fight for a cup
we found passion and longing and pride

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 and we look back and think on the colour and vibe
that bathed all the stadiums in sound
will it open a door was it money or more
will the feeling there still stick around?
and whether you question your country
FIFA – the refs or the ball
we can all criticise but for me the surprise
was the joy at the heart of it all

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 and on June the eleventh in Joburg
when Bafana took on Mexico
from the moment we heard that incredible sound
I was lost in its power I know
and it blared like a call that could down any wall
in the home of where Man once began
and it cradled us up in the strangest World Cup
in spite of the low key football

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 the threats of the violence and street crime
the structure that would not compete
the endless reminders of how many live
and the faces that glowed in defeat
the great expectations and anticipations
that we wanted and longed to unfold
were erased as that buggy drove onto the pitch
with a figure wrapped up in the cold
and all of those years in that tiny cramped cell
where they stopped him from watching football
were captured forever in time and in space
there at the heart of it all

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 will it long be remembered or swiftly forgot
will the sound of that horn rise up tall
was it lacking in quality – not as inspired
as an octopus they christened Paul
from Cape Town to Cairo to Parma
from Lagos to Sydney to Stroud
from Bulawayo to a bar in Rio
the horns of the world trumpet loud
and we watched on confused but amazed and enthused
though not at the ref or football
but at Africa’s journey lit and inspired
by the the man at the heart of it all.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 “A good head and a good heart
are always a formidable combination.” Nelson Mandela



Was it really just about football, your country under-achieving, money, goal-line technology, and superstars who failed to deliver? We can but hope for a legacy. Send us your thoughts on ‘looking back’ at it all….or if you like just have a break….you all deserve one!!

Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to the struggle for racial equality in South Africa. Jalied in 1964 for sabotage, he spent 27 years in prison for opposing the South African system of segregation called apartheid (a-par-tide). He negotiated an end to apartheid in 1990, and in 1994 he became the first-ever democratically elected president. He stepped down in 1999.Today, he is one of the most famous and deeply loved leaders in the world

Long Walk To Freedom on BBC News/You Tube.11 Feb 1990Nelson Mandela

Traditionally made and inspired from a kudu horn, the vuvuzela was used to summon distant villagers to attend community gatherings. The vuvuzela is most used at soccer matches in South Africa and it has become a symbol of South African soccer as the stadiums are filled with its loud and raucous sound that reflects the exhilaration of supporters.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/the-heart-of-of-it-all-looking-back/