"Ghanaians were falling like sprayed flies"

My friend Bill, the world traveler, takes in a World Cup soccer match in South Africa.


  1. As long as we're trying to escape these wretched times for a minute, let me throw in my family's South African connection. My younger brother David (who we called Daoud) was going to school in Cairo. We're from the Middle East so it made sense. One side note: Steve Kerr's brother was on his softball team. The Kerrs were a Middle East family too living in Beirut until Steve's Dad was killed.

    Anyway, Daoud gets a job with a small news outfit called Visnews and begins covering the area sending his video off to London. Later Visnews was absorbed by Reuters and they had an arrangement with NBC. Daoud was doing okay but then a cruise ship called the Achille Lauro was hijacked. This happened in Alexandria.

    The international press was all over it racing back to Cairo after the hijackers left. My brother knew the roads better since he lived there and he went to Mubarek's residence and got him on camera answering a few questions. This clip was featured around the world including the NBC Nightly News. My brother was now a legit international video journalist.

    The only other thing I want to mention from Cairo was this picture he sent me where's he's leaning forward slightly talking to a tiny woman who was Mother Theresa. A cool picture.

    He went on to be stationed in London, South Africa, the Philippines and China.
    That's why I have a niece born in Cairo, and nephews born in South Africa, London and the Philippines.

    The South African years happened at the height of Apartheid with Nelson Mandela still in prison. My Mom called me one morning and said, "Make sure you watch NBC Nightly News tonight. David's on." I asked her what he was doing and she said, "He's running from the South African police and they're trying to trip him." It was true. He was running across this square carrying a TV camera and the soldiers chasing him were trying to trip him with their batons. He made it to the crowd of protesters and they rescued him.

    Not only was this clip on NBC, CNN later made a documentary about journalists who get killed called, "Dying to Tell the Story." Although my brother lived it sure looked like serious and they used the clip in the promo for the special. It was on international TV around the world dozens and dozens of times.

    I'll finish by mentioning another great photo he sent me from those years. He was in South Africa the day they released Nelson Mandela. He was making sure everything was covered with his crew so he wasn't at the prison for the incredible moment. However the next day he was sitting in Bishop Tutu's garden with a bunch of reporters interviewing the newly freed Mandela. He sent me a picture holding a TV camera with Mandela and his wife around 8 feet away.

    So that's the gist of my family's South African connection. There was obviously a lot more to it. The videos alone were stunning like hundreds of protesters in Soweto coming down a road doing this protest dance. South Africa was live.

    One funny note: I had begun getting jokes on the Tonight Show so I told my brother, "I thought you said this TV thing was hard. I just send them in and watch from the sofa."


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