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IOLO

South Africa

I spent a lot of my college days protesting apartheid outside the South African embassy in Trafalgar Square, often taken into custody. At the time apartheid seemed the most egregious sin on earth. Having sat in Brixton and Toxteth as they both burned, perhaps I was over-reaching, and I had my own gripes as part of a heavily oppressed minority in the UK (MI5 were actively framing Welsh speakers at the time).

Naturally, I believe that the forgiveness and compassion showed by Nelson Mandela in a world full of Reagans and Thatchers was my moral code.

When I moved to London in the 80s I worked with an African partner to bring music from the continent to the UK and got involved with Amandala, the cultural wing of the ANC. I had never visited the country at this time and would not do so for a long time. Still, I played my part based on morals, not geography.

Madiba has sadly passed and South Africa has now matured and hosted the soccer world cup for the first time on the continent of Africa.

In the meantime, Invictus has matured into a rugby world cup win under Kolisi and a more representative team.

The country is still a long way from where it needs to be and divisions and tensions remain palpable, although perhaps less so than in the US, a country that seems to have reverted badly into dark times.

My ambition now is to take my latest venture, an educational platform, into South Africa and make a real difference, not scoring some political points.

But I still wonder how my life and destiny got sucked into a country so far away, where I have no natural affinity.

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