Mahlatsi Maredi’s Africa

Academic Mahlatsi Maredi Madam Africa why he took a travel break around Southern and East Africa in 2011 and 2012.

I started traveling out of the country in 2008. My first few trips were to Europe. I loved it but I felt the need to explore the continent more. It worried me that I likely knew more about Europe than I did about my own backyard.

I wanted to explore places that I should have read about in the history books. I wanted to see the Africa that mesmerized the West so much that they had to colonize most of it.

South Africans and the West have a very bad perception of Africa. I was guilty of that. We tend to focus more on the negatives of the countries, like poverty and crime, than the beauties thereof.

My first trip in the continent was Maputo. The only thing I knew about Mozambique was that it was poor and they have terrible roads. The weekend was an amazing weekend; I got to see a very different side of this city from what I had initially perceived.

I have also been to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Every country changed my preconceived ideas thereof

Bucket list Zanzibar. It’s beautiful and affordable to travel to. The locals are also very hospitable. There is also plenty to do there. One can simply relax in the beach all day with a dawa, a Swahili coast cocktail. The waters are a clear blue, which makes it an ideal spot to snorkel, dive and take sunset cruises. You can roam the streets of Stonetown, sampling local foods in the Forodhani gardens and buying spices in the local market. I have always said to people that I believe that God’s heart rests in Zanzibar because of its untainted beauty and hospitable locals. It doesn’t hurt that if one picks the right season they can travel to Zanzibar at a price close to nothing.

I keep traveling Africa because there’s something special about this continent. From the people to the diverse cultures that one can easily relate back to. Contrary to what many may say, African people are very friendly. They would help you find your way in the city using a dala-dala or a boda-boda. They would suggest some of their delicacies and celebrate that you enjoyed their food. Mostly, I travel the continent because I feel home. I
am proud to say that I now have family almost everywhere in the continent-family that I can always count on.

Makerere University in Kampala is historic for being the academic home of former Ugandan president Milton Obote, Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, current Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, iconic Kenyan politician fighter Tom Mboya and DRC’s first legally elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Makerere was also a focal point for the literary activity that was central to African nationalist culture and hosted writers who include Nuruddin Farah, Ali Mazrui, David Rubadiri, Okello Oculi, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, John Ruganda, Paul Theroux, V. S. Naipaul, Peter Nazareth, Wole Soyinka and E’skia Mphahlele.

Post card perfect Nungwi, Zanzibar.

Cruising the Zambezi river.


About leratomogoatlhe

I fell in love with traveling Africa on a four day trip to Accra in 2006. I started my journeys around the continent in 2008, when I went to Senegal, and around West Africa to launch my dream of knowing Africa through all my senses. I have been to 24 countries (and counting) over five years of stopping everything in my life to focus on one phenomenal continent. #AfricaRocks.
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