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The World Cup kicks off in less than an hour! Of course I am deliriously excited.
I’m a little concerned about Denmark’s chances, as the team hasn’t been playing so well recently. But no matter – my heart is ultimately with the American and South African teams.
I do feel a tiny bit of pride for South Africa and its moment in the spotlight. My father is from Johannesburg, so I’ve always been a little partial to the place. Though South Africa continues to struggle with a number of very serious problems, I’m hopeful that the World Cup will provide an opportunity to celebrate the more positive aspects of the country, like its rich culture and natural beauty.
In particular, I’m a huge fan of South African music – especially jazz. My friend Adrian, a fellow music geek from my days as a radio DJ at KZSU Stanford, just posted an excellent collection of South African music. Check it out!
One of the tracks that Adrian features is “Mannenberg Is Where It’s Happening” from my very favorite jazz musician, Abdullah Ibrahim (a.k.a. Dollar Brand). The song, from 1974, has a lot of important history behind it. Back in the day, it was adopted as a popular anthem in the townships. Check out this extensive history of the song.
Rob Allingham puts it best: “From the first bar, you know it could only have come out of South Africa.” So true! Certainly one of my all-time favorite pieces of music, of any genre.
Off to go watch Bafana play! Wish them luck…