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Zeca Mesquita

When Zeca visited East Timor in 2004 for the Tour of Duty concert he suffered severe culture shock. For the first time, since his childhood, he was surrounded by people who looked just like him.

After escaping East Timor in 1975, Zeca’s family settled in Portugal, but Zeca never felt at home and sought a new life in Australia. He now identifies as Australian Timorese and has embraced local customs, including football, after an invitation to a game with Essendon supporters.

… So, my heart was pumping. I played soccer.., since [I was] little, but when I saw that I said, ‘This is a real sport.’ Smash each other, oh my God, I couldn't believe it. This is your team? Yeah, my team is that one too... The atmosphere is so – [I am now a] die-hard fan.

He loves that in Australia’s egalitarian society you can be whoever you want to be. He illustrates this with a story about his nephew fruit picking alongside a man digging in the dirt, who, unbeknownst to him, was the farmer himself.

Zeca maintains his Timorese heritage with the aid of his mother, a respected elder of the community. He plays Timorese stick drums and combines African rhythms, with more straight-forward Timorese rhythms.

He says:

I live in a country that gave me everything. Gave me two boys, amazing, beautiful two boys, a roof over my head.

photographer unknown