I am Gecko, a white Zulu who runs away from the South African army to be a refugee in London, an illegal alien in the land of his forefathers. I am Jerusalem, a half-Jew, half-Moslem who reads Garcia Marquez and dreams of being a poet … but ends up running a market stall in the Cape with a Tanzanian refugee boy as his sidekick. I am Jabulani, a Zimbabwean teacher of Hemingway who loses his post after cracking a jibe at Mugabe and flees south over the Limpopo to seek a life beyond fear. I am Yankee Zulu, a freedom fighter who feels shortchanged by the freedom Mandela yearned so long for … by the way it has been hijacked by ANC hotshots zooming along in their flashy motorcars, cocking a finger at the poor.

I write for Sugar, a vinyl guru in Cape Town who loves Jesus Rodriquez. I write for Joshua Sternlicht, a New York filmmaker in Manila who loves indie folk. I write for a wayfarer and stringer called La France who brews beer and dreams in Palmer, Alaska. I write for my son Finn born in Frankfurt who plucks his reggae guitar in Hanoi. I write for my daughter Mia born in Vienna who plays I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee on her clarinet. And for my other daughter Asia born in Singapore who learnt to count by counting monkeys in Bali.