Monday, August 30, 2021

Another Goan emptying the bucket on other Goans


GOANS  around the world have a lot in common. There is one trait we would rather not have and that is the ability of putting crap on fellow Goans, the age-old crabs in a bucket (when one tries to climb out of the bucket, 12 others pull it down). It is a metaphor that used apply in the old days in most aspects of Goan life. I have been accused of that often, especially when writing the facts as they are, or bringing to light an unsavory fact. As a journalist, I never abuse my profession using it to personally attack any human being. I would rather the facts speak for themselves, as a commentator, critic, observer, I have that right.


In the  Epilogue of my debut novel Yesterday in Paradise I wrote:

I am a Goan. I am a Kenyan. I am British. I am Australian. I am a man of many parts from many places, but right now the whole of me is Australian. Yet, the punchline was quite simply: The Goan in me will only die with that final (last) sunset.


So, I was quite mortified when I read another one of those opinion pieces (usually reserved the rubbish bin) entitled Identifying a true Goan (The Goan) by someone called Aires Rodrigues, thankfully I have never met the man. Thank God for small mercies.


In a sub-heading he wrote (or the subeditor did) A Goan worth his salt should at least have basic knowledge of the mother tongue (Most of Goan children who went to school in East Africa from around 1953, were forced to speak English only at home by the Colonial Government which mandated that Asian parents (including Goans) should speak to their children in their vernaculars because it was hurting the children's ability to speak proper English. Somehow for the Goans it was no problem. We spoke Konkani at home regardless of the edict. In years to come, my siblings used to speak to my mother in English, broken Swahili and broken Konkani to dying day. With that one sentence, I would suggest that Mr Rodrigues has wiped more than 80 percent (just a guess) of the East African Goans of my generation from being a Goan in his way of thinking. What a load of crap. In most of, generations of Goan DNA runs through out blood. In the case of my own children, two Goan-Kenya-British-Australians and third a Goan-Kenyan-Australian and they the Goan DNA running through from the generations of two sets of parents. To suggest that our children cannot be called Goans, is idiotic to say the least. I would suggest, because of the attitudes of the likes of Mr Rodrigues, many of children would be bothered about the Goan way of thinking.


There are large numbers of people residing outside the State abroad, whose ancestors migrated from Goa but they cannot automatically be classed as Goans unless they are proud of their Goan heritage.” Who appointed him God? How could we be anything else but Goan.


“… On the other hand, a person can be born and resident outside of our State and acquire roots by subscribing to the Goan ethos. Roots can develop in any part of the world, sink deep, traverse the oceans and terminate in the ancestral villages of Goa”. Make up your mind, you are contradicting yourself. What the hell do you think we have been doing for the past 80 years and many more still continue to do. I hope they do not run into the likes of Rodrigues otherwise their holiday will be spoilt.


The rest of the article is a bit of diatribe, he really does not his own mind because he finishes of with “A true Goan will always root for Goa.” We all do that when required.


It won’t be long before the church is asking Catholic Goan women to have more babies because the Catholic Goan population is dwindling. I would suggest that the threat may be real that the traditional Roman Catholic Goan in Goa is a vanishing tribe and when the last of them is away in Heaven, why would anyone want to call it Goa? I mean the Goan we all knew and loved.


He also mentions that “Goan food is unique and any Goan will be proud of it,” on my last two trips I had to ask friends to take me to some authentic Goan restaurants, not those that have fashioned their cuisine to suit tastes from other parts of India or Europe. Incidentally, in some restaurants, Food really is not Goan. I cook better Goan food in my kitchen and so do thousands of Goans in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, USA, Europe and many parts of the world.


Why do I get the impression that the editor could not have  read this diatribe, if he had he would have spiked it.






"Twilight" a review by Shirley Gonsalves


Hidden Gems

Review of Twilight of the Exiles by Cyprian Fernandes

"Twilight" is available from Amazon, paperback and Kindle versions. 

Cyprian Fernandes, a well-known writer and popular journalist, is a Kenya born, ex Nairobi Goan, who now resides in Sydney, Australia. The author of the much acclaimed, Stars Next Door, which captured the stories of the sports stars within the East African Goan community of his generation. Yesterday in Paradise, was another personal and historical account of life in East Africa of members of the Goan community who lived there. Yesterday at the Nation, provides more accounts from the days the author first worked as a sports journalist at the Kenya based newspaper. His latest book, Twilight of the Exiles, comprises of some forty one stories written by migrants who are all originally from Goa, a small Portuguese enclave on the Westcoast of India on the Arabian Sea, but most of whom were forced to leave Africa and relocate elsewhere.


In this latest contribution by Fernandes, to document the stories of members of the Goan diaspora and in particular of his own generation provides some accounts in first person, others in the form of obituaries of dearly departed friends and family, some in the author’s own articulate words.  Somehow these compelling accounts draw you in and you find yourself lost in time and space through the fascinating stories that are told. Somehow, the connections are there, people, who will inspire, you will admire and more importantly you will enjoy reading about. Whilst it is far too difficult to single stories out, as each one is powerful in its own way, on a personal level, the story of Meldrita (p.9), her love of sport and sheer athletic skills and dedication. Augmented with photographs of the young woman in action, triumphant and then later on in her life, are a testament to this era. Strong, resilient and determined. As well as, The Longest Honeymoon, by the late Elsie Maciel, (p. 197), who I was privileged to have met. This is a beautiful account of her early life in Kenya as a newly wed to the much loved and well- known author, Mervyn Maciel. You don’t have to dig too deep for hidden gems in this volume, figures such as  Edna  Monteiro nèe Fernandes, (p.212), and I did enjoy the contribution by Denis Andrew, A Priest on the Run, (p.275), on his love for running and his account of running the Dili marathon, in Timor Leste, where I had lived for some years.


This group, who in many ways are a relatively small community, evolved in a close- knit way, first in East Africa, and have now become a burgeoning successful migrant community spread across the globe. This attractive, well laid out volume brings together a blend of first and sometimes second person accounts of those people whose lives are a representation of a transformation from a comfortable life in East Africa,  thrust into an often unwelcoming  and uncertain future of fragmentation and not to mention their loss of livelihoods,  businesses and professional status with many having to gain new skills,  retrain and adapt to and survive on relatively little, in the initially largely hostile wider diasporas of Australia, Canada, UK, elsewhere and in some cases Goa.


This style of representing individuals, challenges the stereotypical views of migrants and refugees, towards gender, race and class and is helpful for those studying into the history of the diaspora. The text is augmented by photographs that many will find an affinity to, including the classics such as weddings, family portraits, tournament sports teams and school photos as well as individual private photographs capture a range of events, faces and names that seem distantly familiar to you as well as the unknown community heroes and heroines of their time.  A welcome move away from anachronistic style of history, traditionally about kings and queens, ie. elite members of society, the text boarders into the domain of social history bringing a rich texture to historical narrative. Fernandes attempts to document these accounts through the words and pictures of the individuals themselves. In a community not particularly well known for their business acumen or political enterprise this volume shows otherwise by recording those from all walks of life.  Contributions to the volume expose the political, social and cultural nuances of the time. Their schools, churches, pastimes and social lives woven into the political milieu of the period.  Many migrated to Canada, UK, Australia, some returned to the land of their ancestors, Goa, or to other places in India, the Gulf States or Portugal.


The introductory dedication to the volume by Fernandes, enhances the book in an insightful way, using the indigenous words for terms that invoke nostalgia for his readers/ contributors. In including his own account and experiences Fernandes adds so much to the text and context. He also adds that memories span his generation and that of his own parents too. Interestingly, he muses, Nostalgia binds us all and memory and nostalgia are stepmothers of a kind.


Whilst heavily influenced by those with the sporting prowess a familiar area to the author who was a well -known and respected journalist in the area of sport which was coincidently  

a centrifugal force in community building. A common social activity bringing the youth of the community together body, mind and soul. The stories are biased on sports such as football, hockey, cricket and athletics.  


Whilst the inclusion of information on Goan clubs, in a chapter by the author on, The Goan Clubs and Goan Culture is most welcome as these institutions were pivotal to social and culture life and cohesion at the time. However, an explanation of some of the reasons and rationales behind these clubs would provide some background to why they are sometimes referred to contentiously. For example the excellent contribution by the author on some of the reasons for the neglect of the ‘mother tongue’ of this particular community, Konkani,  is an invaluable one. 


The text is augmented by photographs that many will find an affinity to, the classics such as weddings, family portraits, tournament sports teams and school photos as well as individual photographs that capture a range of familiar and unknown community heroes and heroines of their time.  Work, social, religious, and cultural activities are included, however, are largely neglected here. Though this is probably not the fault of the author, rather than those who have bravely chosen to share their stories? Based on their memories these contributors should be commended for the inspiration they provide as role models. The glamour as well as the terror, sadness and poverty and hardship can be gleaned from the text which also reflects the courage and adaptability of these people whose lives tell a story of how a community shaped our understanding of community, identity and diaspora. A number of contributors such as that by Armand Rodrigues, (pp. 250-267), gives a vivid and enriching account of his experiences of Goan culture and society and his personal interactions of his memories of Goa which adds to the historic richness of the volume.


These stories are a treasure trove, since many from this community have passed away with their stories untold leaving a gap in our knowledge of community history and for historians attempting to compile any contextual analysis. Hopefully, it will serve to encourage others to share their stories of this disappearing community before it’s too late.


The addition of stories from other communities with connections to Goans, their acquaintances and spouses adds a dimension to the book as well as including some well-known and prominent figures of influence in the community. The intricate web of the lives of this generation helps us to gain a sense of perspective of a remarkably resilient, outward looking and yet close-knit community.


The book is a resource for those compiling family histories, researchers and anyone interested learning from and about the life histories of a migrant community that has moved across at least two and in some cases three continents. Although relying on memories or memoirs is often considered an unreliable source for researchers in themselves, they can be used to reinforce other evidence and add context for a community with a hidden story. More importantly, these accounts can provide a sense of continuity and heritage for future generations to be proud of. I can almost hear the voices of this generation say, “How quickly did our lives become history?” I can only reiterate that history is about the present, just as much as it is about the past. Here, Fernandes has provided an opportunity for the voices of those often unheard.  This collection of hidden legends is a valuable and welcome one and hopefully this is just the start.



Shirley Gonsalves

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Another great piece on Peter Nazareth


How Goan Peter Nazareth tried to literalise Amin and Elvis Presley Saturday, August 28, 2021 


 By Austin Bukenya What you need to know: * Nazareth showed that the lyrics of pop songs and other events of popular culture could be profitably read and interpreted as creative texts. * Nazareth is best-known in East Africa for his critical writings and his novels, especially In a Brown Mantle and The General Is Up. * Peter Nazareth is now an octogenarian. That puts him in the same venerable rika of literary elders as his friend and Makerere contemporary, Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Nazareth, the Goan-Ugandan-American literary maestro, is best-known for dragging the rock-n-roll idol, Elvis Presley, into the lecture rooms of American universities. His trail-blazing experiment introduced the teaching of the pop song into (English) literary studies. Nazareth showed that the lyrics of pop songs and other events of popular culture could be profitably read and interpreted as creative texts. He was probably prophetic of folksinger Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for Literature. 

We in Makerere knew or assumed that he had borrowed a leaf from our orature efforts. Nazareth is best-known in East Africa for his critical writings and his novels, especially In a Brown Mantle and The General Is Up. I remember attending a function, in 1972, at a friend’s house just across the road from the Makerere main campus, where we interacted with Nazareth and listened to readings from 'In a Brown Mantle'. The novel, then just published by the East African Literature Bureau, had attracted a lot of attention for its striking allusions to Pio Gama Pinto. One of Kenya's Independence struggle heroes, he had been mysteriously murdered at his Westlands Nairobi home in 1965. 

Nazareth's narrative, however, was a broad and subtle exploration of the palpable rise of anti-Asian racism in the early years of East African independence. The topic was handled variously by several other writers of the time, like Bahadur Tejani in 'Day After Tomorrow', Jagjit Singh in his angry and outspoken poem, "Portrait of the Asian as an East African", and Laban Erapu in one of his radio plays. I, too, wrote in one of my narratives of the time that if the rabid racism continued unabated, the affected citizens "would be demonstrating down the streets of Nimela" (a disguised name for one of

the East African capitals). Idi Amin terror Well, the racism continued, and in Uganda, it did not even allow for any protests or demonstrations. A few days after our 1972 Makerere function, Idi Amin decreed the expulsion of all Asians from Uganda within a period of three months. Indeed, Idi Amin, and his disenfranchisement and deportation of nearly all of his "brown" (Asian) compatriots, is the subject matter of The General Is Up, Nazareth's gut-wrenching second novel. Nazareth based his novel on his first-hand encounters and experiences of the frantic activities leading up to the perilous departure of the expelled Ugandans, most of whom had never been out of the country. 

His narrative captures with unforgettable power the traumatic ordeal of life under the Idi Amin terror. I analysed 'The General Is Up' in detail in my Makerere dissertation on terror and violence in the Ugandan novel. I believe I mentioned to you my intention to publish my study under the title 'An Idiom of Blood'. 

As part of my study, I did an interview with Peter Nazareth. My questions were put to him live and recorded in Iowa, US, by my friend and literary colleague, Okiya Omtatah-Okoiti. Yes, the fiery and famous mtetezi wa umma (people's advocate) was in the US in 1993, pursuing his literary interests in residence at the world-renowned International Writing Program of the University of Iowa. 

Peter Nazareth, a long-time professor at the University, was closely associated with the Program, and he was instrumental in getting promising East African writers, like Omtatah-Okoiti, to participate in and benefit from it. Nazareth is, however, a man of many parts. A chance encounter, online, with a recent interview in which he recalls his experiences in Uganda and elsewhere brought back to me several of my own memories that, somehow, interweave with his. 

I will share with you only one here, about my Goan Ugandan friends and the identity dilemmas they faced. Moments of crisis The Goans' European heritage facilitated their connection to the British colonisers, while their Catholic Christianity linked them easily to the African converts. I had several Goan close friends among my schoolmates at the elite church-sponsored high school I attended. 

Among these were the brothers Carasco, Ben and Joseph, who eventually joined me as colleagues at Makerere in the early 1970s. They had to leave Uganda amid the Idi Amin fiasco, but Joseph came back almost immediately after the first "liberation" in 1979. Already of professorial rank, Joseph Carasco led the first industrial action at Makerere, demanding "liveable" conditions in those difficult times. Unfortunately, Joseph died in a plane crash as he was returning to Uganda from a scholarly conference in West Africa.

That was a Ugandan of the mettle of Pio Gama Pinto, and others, who did not hesitate to wade into the fight for fairness and justice, when the demand arose. You probably know that Kenya's second Vice-President, Joseph Zuzarte Murumbi, was of Goan descent, though with a Maasai mother. 

Nazareth, too, tried to get a job at Makerere, when he returned from graduate studies in Leeds in the early 1970s. But, as he says in his recent interview, he was hired instead at Uganda's Ministry of Finance, for reasons he did not understand. Anyone familiar with Ugandan stereotypes would have told him, with a chuckle, that Finance was the place for him "because Goans do not steal". 

It was perhaps such stereotyping that hindered effective integration of Goans into the community to which they were evidently passionately committed. Nazareth suggests as much in 'The General Is Up', in a memorable scene of confrontation between D'Costa, the leading character, and his best African friend. Under political and other pressures, most East Africans were not able to stand by their compatriots in moments of crisis. 

That, indeed, is the gist of the recent book, 'Twilight of the Exiles', by Cyprian Fernandes. Reviewed in the Nation by one of our colleagues, it is an analytical and well-researched exploration of Goans and their role in the building of modern East Africa. It would be a very good introduction to the creative work of Peter Nazareth. Prof Bukenya is a leading East African scholar of English and literature.


Friday, August 27, 2021

Westerns of my life


Westerns of my life

I don’t think there are too many fans of the old westerns left. For one thing, they are largely politically incorrect. However, they are part of my DNA and greatest actors among them were Roy Rogers, Buck Jones, Gary Cooper, Gary Cooper, Alan Ladd, Burt Lancaster, Henry Fonda, John Wayne and a million others. Perhaps the greatest director, certainly the Pappy of Westerns was the brilliant John Ford. If you can get a link to this channel, you can watch the old movies for free. Below is a pretty historic piece of TV.


Westerns. Arguably the greatest of the actors in Westerns must be John Wayne, his movie True Grit is considered the greatest. There are other names ... Sam Elliot him with the longest tache and drawl to boot, Kirk Douglas, Glen Ford ice cool, William Holden the educated man's westerner, Audie Murphy in another life he went To Hell and Back, Gregory Peck just one stare, one look, dead if they could kill, Robert Taylor, Robert Ryan ... more ridges on his face than there in some mountain ranges, Paul Newman super cool, Lee Marvin, Charlton Heston who let him out of Rome, Robert Duval brilliant not so long ago, Chuck Connors, Keenan Wyn, James Coburn always lovable, Tom Mix, Ward Bond, Brian Keith, Gene Autry kill everyone with the guitar, Sam Shepard still waters are deadly, Warren Oats and biggest man of them all in size at least Clint Walker with a twinkle in his eye.


Westerns: There were millions of bit players whose names have vanished but may survive in memorabilia held in the dark corners of the eternal basements. I am sure my friends will write and tell me other names and I look forward to that:

Remember big Robert Mitchum, Alan Ladd in Shane alongside the biggest baddie ever invented Jack Palance, Chill Wills the funny old man, Randolph Scott, Maureen O'Hara and Maureen O'Sullivan, Henry Silva another baddie, the delightful Richard Widmark who played the baddie with aplomb and the goodie with grace, Anthony Quinn, James Stewart (one of my all-time favs), Gabby Hayes (very funny man), Jeff Chandler unforgettable in the role of Cochise, Jeff Chandler who brought a special kind of charm to the Westerns, Will Gear, John Ireland, Charles Bronson the almost silent assassin or hero, Rod Cameron, Jan Sterling, Yul Brynner unforgettable in the original Magnificent Seven, Candice Bergen, Robert Preston, Tim Holt, the delightful Slim Pickens (you could almost smell that baccky he chewed), Walter Brennan with that unforgettable slow drawl that brought the meanest to tears, Joel McRea, Jody McRea, Sterling Hayden, Lee Van Cleef the baddest bad guy ever born with that cigar, Ernest Borgnine, Broderick Crawford, John Derek the handsome rooky, Cameron Mitchell always loved, Ronald Regan usually in the cavalry, Rhonda Fleming, Dale Roberts, Warren Oats, Hopalong Cassidy, and the son of spaghetti movies but king of the modern westers Clint Eastwood. Elvis Presley was in a couple, Kirk of the Enterprise started in the Westerns ... there were more millions who played the Indians, the Mexicans and other 'baddies' who in this day and age are the goodies.




Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Lost Padrao of Mombasa

Make Covid vaccinations mandatory for everyone



HERE in Australia, most states and capital territories will embark on the heartache and terror of our fourth or fifth month of the Covid lockdown. Around the world in these, the darkest hours of our lives, we share the same stories. I have many friends around the world who were not able to visit a dying spouse, child or friend in hospital. They could not share those dying moments, hold their hands and giving them the last moments of comfort. They will never know what it was like because it did not happen. A friend is getting a kidney transplant in London, but his relatives have been advised not to visit him. Can anything be more harrowing than not being able to say goodbye to a loved one? I think not. Only those friends who have been through this know the true sorrow they will remember for the rest of their lives. My prayers and thoughts with them always.

Here is a note I got from friends across the ditch (NZ): As we started with a few cases in Auckland earlier this week, our PM decided we (the whole country) should be in total lockdown.  Sarah went to the supermarket for us after she finished work - there was no Toast Bread or toilet paper which I had on my list.  She did manage to get Milk and some veges plus fruit.  As she is an essential worker, she goes to work in the hospital.  She came masked and kept her distance at our door; leaving the groceries and taking some empty bags and puzzles which I cut out for her.

We have a Covid update at 1 pm every day when the Prime Minister and Director General of Health give us the latest and then journalists ask questions to which they reply.  They will advise if the country will change levels of lockdown by Tuesday. 

Yesterday we were told that there were cases in the Coromandel, Hamilton and Wellington besides many extra in Auckland.  Since there were no tourists coming in, the locals were encouraged to 'see the country' and support the ski fields as well as the other attractions around NZ!  So, chances of the virus spreading are great!!

All activities in the Village have been suspended and there are a couple of workers manning the gate,  They collect bags of groceries delivered by the supermarkets (which have been ordered online) and only visitors are allowed in.  Since we are the first house as you enter, we  also see masked people going for or returning from their w

In Australia, the battle against the Corona virus has been a bit hit and miss: some policies have been very good, others have had their pitfalls, more a matter of learning from mistakes and some not so much.

The official position on vaccination is: *It is voluntary – as are all vaccinations in Australia – and people maintain the option to choose.

This will apply to any COVID-19 vaccination that may become available.

There may be circumstances in the future in which proof of vaccination will be required, such as border or re-entry requirements, or continued employment in particular areas. One example of this is the mandatory vaccination requirements for all residential aged care workers which will come into effect on 17 September 2021 in line with relevant state and territory directions.

With new COVID-19 vaccine developments every day, it’s normal to have questions or concerns, and possibly feel hesitant about getting a vaccine. That's why we're providing accurate, evidence-based answers to questions about COVID-19 vaccines.”


I think that policy is a load of poppycock. We are in an emergency and all tools of dealing with an emergency must be used to combat the spread of the virus. To me, the simplest way forward is mandatory vaccination for everyone. There are good, honest, frightened people who are putting their faith in their Maker and are quite convinced that their Maker will ensure they do not become victims of the virus. I respect their faith but they only have to look around and see how many similarly faithful have died from the virus around the world. Sometimes, the Maker needs a little help from us humans to help ourselves.

I am clear in my own mind: Vaccination must be mandatory for everyone. Why should anyone like me and others be put at risk because others choose not to vaccinate and pose a threat to everyone else. All those idiots in the US and elsewhere require a good kick in the pants.

In my own suburb in NSW, I see a lot of idiots to walk around without their masks, visit their friends, congregate in groups at the shopping centres and other abuses of the lockdown directives. It is not their fault because their ignorance comes from the shameful fault no one has communicated with them in their own non-English language. There was a death in a home not so long ago, 50 or more families made a condolence visit, 28 or more people ended up victims of the Corona virus. It is the same story all around NSW where people do not know English, have little English and do listen to English radio or television. The government should have a communications mechanism that speak to them in their own languages. It is a tough thing because there are several ethnic languages involved. But it has to be done. Door to door.

We had our Census in the middle of the Covid lockdown. I am sure it is going to be shambles. Normally in a census, the government has teams census supporters going door-to-door collecting completed census forms and, if needed, helping folks to fill the forms or providing them limited advice. People who have never been in a census are naturally frightened in a new country, others are idiotic enough to flaunt their reluctance, yet others make a mockery of an important document by providing wrong information and yet others fear that they will be persecuted for the information they provide. Ignorance is such, if you don’t tell, they won’t know.

I have written often about this lack of communication and I am sorry if I sound like a broken record.

IF  vaccination had been mandatory right for the very start, I am sure the death toll would have been much less. There are other faults in the system and I guess like everyone else our governments are living and learning. That, however, has come too late for the people who have died from the Corona Virus.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Memories of Tokyo yesterday

 Some of these may or may not work very well, apologies/.\

Working on the rest.

Highlight the link and click on it!

Neeraj Chopra

Mens 100 metres final

Womens 100m

Mens 200 metres

Womens 200

Mens 400 metres

Womens 400

Womens 400 hurdles

Mens 800 metres

Womens 800

Mens 1500 metres final

Mens 3000m steeplechase

Womens 3000s/chase

Mens 5000 metres

Womens 5000

Mens 10,000 metres

Womens 10000m

Mens High Jump

Womens Marathon

Womens 800


  This invaluable collection of photos was sent to me by David Mungai. He says it is “for the acknowledgement of Kenyan History, the celebra...