Reece South Africa Diary

Not so long ago Glasswerk featured Liverpool band who were about to depart for South Africa on an AIDS charity tour. They have since returned and it was a resounding success. Below the band take you through the highlights of the tour…

Thursday 20th November Met the orphaned kids on Maputo beach , played football (Reece lost 7-3) and volley ball (Reece won 10-4). Later on that day was a press conference at the French Cultural Centre. All local media had interviews withReece who promoted Aids Awareness and up and coming appearances.

Friday 21st Went to the street kids school and gave out gifts of pencils, rubbers, ruler’s etc to kids. This enabled the kids
to go to school, as they cannot if they do not have the writing tools. Ross & Toby gave radio interview in Portuguese on Radio Mozambique (8 million listeners before performing to a sell out concert of 600 people raising money for “Imagine” Aids Charity. The gig was transmitted live on Radio.

Sun 23rd In the morning Reece went over the water to Catembe to visit an “Imagine” project of where they are continually building houses for the families who lost everything as a result of “the floods” in 2000. They went on to perform a live Aids gig on the Catembe beach in front of thousands of locals who had never seen a live band. The crowd was a bit curious at first but after 10 minutes they all went crazy and had a fantastic time. Reece could hardly move due to the massive crowd and after playing for well over an hour and a quarter played 3 encores.

Mon 24th Visited the Father Andre’s Centre. This is a centre were small kids are progressively getting more ill due to H.I.V Aids and today was a real shock for Reece. It was explained that there are 4 main rooms around the complex, as the kids get more ill they move around the building till the last room where it’s predicted they have a matter of weeks till they will inevitably die. Reece performed an impromptu acoustic session for the kids. Later the kids performed native dances and got Reece to join in. Today really showed Reece how important Aids Awareness is.

In the evening Reece performed at the Swiss Ambassadors residence. This was a private fuind-raising party where ambassadors and diplomats from all different countries were invited to attend. Reece performed a song called “Live + Let Live” which they had composed as the theme song for the tour. It was a fantastic night and was aired live on the radio for 15 mins and Toby Smith (drummer) did an on air interview after the gig. The reaction to reece was amazing and at the end of the night the Swiss Ambassador even accompanied Reece on stage for the final song. The night was a complete success for all involved and the Swiss Ambassador stated that it was the best night he’d ever had as everyone had a great time. He also said that there had never been a party which had seen everyone on their feet dancing.

Tues 25th This day saw Reece visit the Mother Teresa’s kids & AIDS hospice. This is a building where kids suffering from H.I.V and Aids are looked after by the sisters right up till the end of their lives. Upon arriving at the hospice Reece played with all the kids who so desperately crave affection and care. At one moment you can be standing still talking to one of the sisters and suddenly look down and see tiny little kids at your knees with big smiles one their faces. To play with these kids will no doubt make their day. Reece were fighting back the tears knowing that many of these kids only had days left to live. This once again shows how important it is to spread the Aids Awareness message to the entire World. Reece gave out presents to all the kids and sang some songs to them. The kids sang nursery songs for the band and performed dances aswell. This was a great day.

Weds 26th Today Reece perform a free gig for the street kids of Maputo at the French Cultural Centre. Kids from all over came to the gig and were given free Reece T-shirt which had the Aids Message – Vive e ajuda a viver which means Live +Let Live. Reece invited all the kids to join in on the chorus to Live and let Live and 400 street kids all sang Vive e ajuda a viver to a rapturous applause from all the organisers. This showed all involved that through song the message about AIDS Awareness could break through. Unfortunately a live link-up to BBC radio Merseyside but due to technical links this link up was aborted and scheduled to another date.

Thurs 27th Reece now went to Bagamoyo were they performed on a coca-cola roadshow to over 5,000. As earlier on the tour, the people were mainly shocked and amazed to see a live British act perform free for them. And once again everyone had a fantastic time. You could see the excitement in their eyes as Reece powered out song after song. Many people had travelled for hours by foot after seeing the band at various gigs. There were familiar faces in the audience from past gigs. The theme song was once again played and thousands of people all sang along. We felt that our time here was special and would never be forgotten.

Fri 28th Very similar to the 27th Reece performed for the people of Magoanine. This is an area, which was devastated by the floods of 2000. Thousands of people live here in mud huts and tents. Reece visited a few of the many houses that “Imagine” have built for these families. They were also told of the many plans that are underway to re-home many other families. These families are so grateful of the smallest things that we all took for granted. Some families sell local produce and live on the very small profit they make. After this visit to the houses it started to rain. It was expected by the people of Magoanine that Reece would pack up and leave. We knew now that these people would never get the chance again to have a free party again and so we were not going to leave until we’d performed. When we did they had the best time and showed us how happy they were that we’d stayed. Apart from a few technical problems it was great for the band to see the excitement that they had. It was estimated that there were over 5,000 people at this gig.

Sun 30th Today at the Independent Square was the biggest gig that Reece were going to do on this tour. Three other bands performed and at 7pm Reece took to the stage to a rapturous applause. There were film crews and photographers all capturing what was a truly magical experience. All the people of Maputo and Catembe had arrived in there thousands. Even the British High Commissioner shocked organisers by coming out of the V.I.P area and into the crowd. From the stage we could see the sun fading into the night and there was a fantastic feeling from the audience that this was a very special gig when everyone held a candle light vigil during the song Live + Let Live. The gig was televised live and was also live on Radio Mozambique. As the British High Commissioner had earlier promised the BBC World Service Channel had turned up to film the gig as well and this was later televised.

Weds 3rd DecemberThis was our last day in Mozambique before we went home. This was a very emotional day for Reece after meeting so many fantastic people and seeing all the great work that they all do in Mozambique. The airport was full with all the people who’d turned up to see them leave. It was an amazing time for us all, one that we’ll never forget.

Below are some quotes from Noticias Newspaper…

“The British rock band REECE held several performances in Maputo and in Catembe Bay, in the scope of fighting Aids. The band is from Liverpool, England, the concerts that they held were to signify solidarity with the fight against AIDS and some of the revenues from the concerts have been given to institutions that take care of people infected and affected by the virus of Aids.”

When they where recently in Catembe Bay, they created many live exciting moments for the people. They were received and acclaimed brilliantly in the concert – the theme of which was not to discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS.

REECE also performed well in the Franco-Mozambican Cultural Centre, where they demonstrated that they are a band of tremendous energy and a great stage presence.

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