London band Soul II Soul at home in Africa
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
British singer Caron Wheeler, who sang backing vocals on hit single Free Nelson Mandela, was astounded that Cape Town “has so many mountains”.
“I thought it would be flat, like other African countries I’ve been too,” she said this weekend.
She was in town as part of the London band Soul II Soul, performing at yesterday’s Delicious Festival.
The group’s founder, Trevor Beresford Romeo also known as Jazzie B, chatted also about his experiences of Africa.
The two have travelled to various countries on the continent, but this was their first time to Cape Town.
Wheeler added about South Africa: “I’m loving that the country has opened up and we can do our show and see the smiles on people’s faces. I’m grateful for it.”
“I thought there would be less mountainous regions. I have been to African countries. I’ve not seen so many mountain ranges,” she added.
“I’ve been to Nigeria, Ghana and Togo. I want to go to Ethiopia badly. I love Ethiopian food and I love to cook. I want to go there for two months and learn to cook. My daughter wants to learn too.”
Romeo said: “I love the landscape in South Africa. It’s not what I thought it would be.”
“Coming to South Africa is a special thing because of what happened and the changes. It’s interesting just watching the changes.
“I like to see places like this because for me it’s an inspiration of the possibilities. It’s been really interesting being able to travel and smell the air and share conversations.”
He said he “had a great conversation with the customs office, coming in to Cape Town”.
“His question was, ‘What do you think of South Africa? What do your people think of us?’ That caught me off guard,” he said.
“Without him realising, Africa is where we aspire to. Knowing the hardship of Africa, for me as a western person coming into Africa and seeing all the beauty and the people, is a significant jump in our evolution.”
He added: “Africa is the centre of the world. We come to be blessed here. When I see a black person, it makes something in my world full circle.
“I feel a little bit more settled. To be part of this society, is a dream come true.”
Wheeler shared an affectionate moment with Romeo during this interview, which she jokingly called “an exclusive”.
She told him: “You got my back. When I realised what I had after the break for a minute, 17-year minute, my manager told me I should go back.
“You built a family. We had beef a long time ago. That don’t happen anymore. Thank you for asking me to be in your band.
“I swear you’re my twin. We were born the same year and month and days apart. I thought there was something funny about this one.”