Great Heart

We were fortunate to be given tickets to see Johnny Clegg at the Lyric theatre tonight. I love his music and the sense of belonging and connection it gives me with the land of my birth. Tonight was the first time I have seen him perform live.

As he started singing “Spirit of the Great Heart”, tears started streaming down my face. You know how it is when you’re crying in a movie and you don’t really want people to see? The first tear falls and you surreptitiously wipe it away and hope that no one noticed, and also that it’s the last tear. But then another falls, and another and trying to hide the tears becomes futile…

It’s a moving song, but there is a little personal story attached to that song for me. It was 1986 and I was about 8 or 9 years old. My parents had taken my sister and I to Top Star drive-in to watch “Jock of the Bushveld”. Spirit was a song on the soundtrack to this movie about a brave loyal Staffie.

We all came home a little sad about Jock. My mom put the kettle on for a last cup of tea for the evening and my dad went out to take Jessie, our aging Boxer for a quick walk. He came in just a moment later, in shock, telling us our lovely white dog had passed away. I remember us all sitting at our round kitchen table, drinking tea and crying. It was the first time I ever saw my dad cry. My big,strong, strict, sometimes scary dad. Crying. There are defining moments as you grow up where you realize that your parents are just human. That was one of those moments.

“Spirit of the Great Heart” will forever be tied up with Jock, Jessie and my dad’s tears and I will probably never be able to hear or even think about it without feeling a little weepy.

I found my spirits of the great heart.

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