Recently appointed Elder on Campus in Darwin Richard Fejo made his debut as a soccer commentator in the NT’s NAIDOC Week Football Showcase last week, enhancing the men’s and the inaugural women’s celebrations with his vibrant personality and cultural insights.
Mr Fejo is a Larrakia and Warramunga man who was recently employed through the Flinders University Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Flinders Northern Territory Elders on Campus initiative. His many hats include chairman of the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation, singer-songwriter and comedian. The Larrakia are the Traditional Owners of the Darwin region.
Despite not having played soccer since primary school, Mr Fejo is not one to shy away from a challenge and was delighted at the opportunity to co-commentate the events.
Conversation extended well beyond the game as Mr Fejo contributed his cultural knowledge amid game quips, with insights into Indigenous languages and the diversity of Aboriginal groups in the Northern Territory, together with his opinion on important issues such as re-opening the NT’s state borders.
Mr Fejo brought the welcoming nature of the Larrakia people to the discussion, who are known for their skills in music, art and performance, and their shared desire to look after visitors to their lands.
Infused with his trademark warm, larger-than-life personality, Mr Fejo’s contributions were a brilliant asset to enhance Indigenous understanding and engagement, delivered in a friendly community environment.
Replays of the men’s and women’s games can be viewed on the SBS world games website. The events featured the NT Wha Whas playing Darwin Select in the men’s game, and the NT Yapas playing Darwin Select in the women’s game.
While NAIDOC week has officially been postponed to 8-15 November this year, Football Northern Territory and its sponsors were keen to celebrate the occasion with a showcase of the best Indigenous football talent in the territory, during the game season.
The matches were held at Larrakia Park; the Darwin Football Stadium.
In addition, Mr Fejo was recently asked by the City of Darwin to sit on their International Relations Advisory Committee. As a member of this committee he will provide support to the City of Darwin’s international relations strategic actions and projects.
Mr Fejo is also the lead comedian in a successful Darwin-based Aboriginal comedy team called, ‘Deadly Darwin’, who recently created four sell-out shows seating 70 people each due to distancing practices in Darwin. The group is thrilled with the success of the event.
This Friday 24 July will see Deadly Darwin run a separate show called, “The black spot’, which is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander open mic comedy night inviting aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedians to present five minute skits to the crowd.
Mr Fejo says: “Laughter is the best medicine and we can heal ourselves in a new and unique way that comes from us”.
He is hopeful to grow Deadly Darwin numbers while creating new opportunities for local people and “most importantly, enjoy the experience of bringing our extended community together”.