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All things good and Goan: 'Stars Next Door' by Cyprian Fernandes | Coastweek

Top [from left]: Seraphino Antao with his Gold Medals at Nairobi Airport. Mombasa's 'Emperor of Music' Edmund Silveira. Goan pop singer Warren Macmahon receives an award from Cliff Richards.
Center [from left] Multi-talented musician Philip Lawrence De Souza. Entertainer Rufina Alfonso Fernandes. Singer Theresa Alfonso Tucker. 'Have guitar, will Rock' George DeSouza.
Lower [from left]: Winning Nairobi Railway Goan Institute Girls hockey team circa 1956. Goan Insitute winning Hockey XI playing in Mombasa circa 1956. 'Trojan of Kenya Hockey' Avtar Singh Sohal.   
ALL PHOTOS - COURTESY CYPRIAN FERNANDES

All things good and Goan: 'Stars Next Door' by Cyprian Fernandes

All things good and Goan: 'Stars Next Door' by Cyprian Fernandes

Early on in his continuing history of the once large Goan community in East Africa - whose descendants are now scattered across the global diaspora - writer, journalist and historian Cyprian Fernandes*  asks in his latest book 'Stars Next Door':
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"What was it about the Kenyan coastal capital that produced the largest number of male and female track athletes, among them the greatest Goan athlete of all time: the 1962 Commonwealth Games double sprint gold medalist Seraphino Antao?

"There has never been a Goan or East African sprinter of his ilk again.

"Was it the sea air, the fresh fish curry and rice (Goan national staple diet), an abundant array of fruit, fresh young delicious coconuts that continue to live in the memory of those who tasted them,

"Was it the club: the Mombasa Goan Institute,

"Was it the girls and boys Goan schools, was it the soft beach sands of Mombasa, or

"Was it the genius of coach Ray Batchelor that was responsible for as many as five or six stunning male sprinters (Albert Castanha, Joe Faria, Jack Fernandes,

"Antao, Pascal) which molded into the finest sprint relay teams had ever seen and remained so for a long time, three female sprinters, a couple of middle distance specialists, a large number of soccer and hockey players (four or five who played for Kenya), one of whom, Albert Castanha, played international football and hockey for Kenya and was on the verge of Olympic selection as a sprinter but sadly fell short at the last moment?

"Was it the fact that they all banded together and formed the wonderful Achilles Athletics Club under Ray Batchelor and dragged each other beyond the individual limits of achievement."

And later he posits:

  All things good and Goan: 'Stars Next Door' by Cyprian Fernandes | Coastweek

Stars Next Door' is the latest book on Goan history in East Africa from well-known Sydney based writer, journalist and historian Cyprian Fernandes.
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"Similarly, what was it about the mild temperate climate in Nairobi at around 6000 feet above ground?

"Was it the dust, from the murram fields the young players practised on, the Dr Ribeiro Goan School which produced all of the Goan Olympians born in Kenya and some from outside Kenya or was school coach and teacher Anthony De Souza the factor.

"Many will swear that it was really De Souza’s coaching skills, honed on his own experiences of playing for the Lusitanians in Bombay and other parts of India that made the difference.

"Others will say it was he is caring and kind but firm attitude couple with his experience as a hockey player at the top layer of the game that made the difference.

"Whatever it was, it meant that at least a dozen or more players were selected for and played in the Olympics Games.

"Yet others represented Kenyan in internationals both at home and away.

"Only three players from the coast were Olympians and a few others were capped for Kenya."

Cyprian has been generously assisted in his most impressive sporting memoirs with numerous and excellent contributions which include:

The Ugandan Cricket Legacy - By John Noronha

Tribute to teacher and sports coach Anthony D'Souza - by Hilary Fernandes

Goan Sporting Heroes from East Africa - by Norman Da Costa

Innate Goan sporting talent - memories of Astrid Diana Fernandes

However, despite the no doubt great sporting prowess of the former Goan community ...

'Stars Next Door' also concentrates a rich focus on so many, much-loved, Goan musicians, singers, artists, entertainers and radio stars, who were hugely popular across East Africa before the arrival of television and digital 'down-streaming'.

Here you will re-discover the lost and forgotten histories of once household names such as:

Max De Souza, Julian Costa Silva, Edmund Silveira, The Bandits, George DeSouza, Jack Fernandes, Jimmy van Rosi, Leo Rodrigues, Warren Mcmahon, Richard Rattos, Philip Lawrence De Souza, Henry Braganza, Theresa Alfonso Tucker, The Alfonso Sisters, Delfine Da Costa, and the 'Piano Man' Terence Pinto.

In conclusion Cyprian humbly notes:

 'Stars Next Door' is not my book. It belongs to everyone and anyone who has made any contribution towards making it a reality.
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I would like to think that it would become most East African families’ museum piece, albeit with heaps and heaps of information missing. Fodder for a second edition … who knows.
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The book is available in Canada, UK, Goa, Australia for details:

skipfer@live.com.au
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FURTHER READING:

'Catching up with East African superstars' from Cyprian Fernandes

Author of popular 'Matata' serie Braz Menezes on 'Stars Next Door'

Francis Noronha - Cyprian Fernandes: Memories of a bygone era

How to order your copy of 'Stars Next Door' by Cyprian Fernandes

 

Cyprian Fernandes | Coastweek

 

* Cyprian Fernandes is a former Nation Chief Reporter and veteran investigative journalist who currently lives in Sydney Australia.

             

 

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