Just like everybody else on the planet, I love Pharell’s Happy. I can’t help but smile when that comes on. And I’m not only one. People all over the world have been making their own videos for the song showing them being happy wherever they are. The good people over at the blog Africa is a Country were kind enough to compile a list of videos made in various African cities (my favourite is the Dakar remix 😉 ). And now my hometown has its own Happy video.
I felt so happy when I started to watch this video. It’s home! The people made me smile, but I was more interested in what was happening in the background, trying to figure out where they were and trying to see if I still knew my city. But by the end of the video, I felt like a deflated balloon. It’s as if while the video is playing, in that moment I’m in Harare, but then it fades to black and I zoom out across oceans and am suddenly aware of the vast distance between home and me.
It doesn’t help that I just finished reading Teju Cole’s Every Day is for the Thief (great book by the way!). The narrator of the story goes home to Lagos for the first time in 15 years and the novella follows him around the city as he tries to makes sense of this city. Too many times I recognized myself in that book. He was in Lagos, but he was always on the outside looking in and never really a part of it. I too have felt like a tourist in the city I grew up. I know the feeling of wanting to come home, but wondering if you’ve changed too much to ever be satisfied in this place again.