Why do people take African Studies?

So posed the white South African to me at a recent interview (Don’t worry – I said no to the job) … And to be honest he was a nice enough guy and I know he was just joking…. but was it a very white South African thing to ask. More so than a lot of other things…And I am also that aunt who probably would ask one of my nieces and nephews the same question if they majored in it in University… But African Studies was my minor in University; because girl I’m African and you know Economics or something deemed almost as useful had to be my major. On top of having some of the most amazing Africa focused professors (shout out to Nadia Horning, Tropp and a few others) I actually really needed to do African Studies as a subject because my knowledge about our general history  and current events was pretty dismal

I guess we all think alike….

And as I laboured around my answer – “… as a south African growing up did you ever feel African?” – his reply was ofcourse – he was taught he was European and not African. I on the other hand was taught that I was South African …no mention of Africa whatsoever… There were ofcourse many forces at play here in early post-apartheid South Africa.  It was as if to combat the swart gevaar South Africa somehow wanted to erase the decades of apartheid our parents and grandparents lived and operated under..the same apartheid we were born under. South Africa went on a “rainbow nation” marketing campaign against its own citizens… we were the rainbow nation, the country that banded around the springboks winning the world cup and (less so, mind you) Bafana Bafana winning the African Cup of Nations.  I was part of the generation that could tell you extensively about the rise of apartheid and how South Africa rose above that and even about World War I & II, but never about the African Kings and Queen that ruled this continent for centuries… I don’t think I could even tell you about any of Africa’s contributions to civilisation… I could start on modern writing and end up on how most of the world’s super powers came to be and are propped up by riches stolen from this land..but I digress..

But I guess the most important thing here is that at a tender age before probably most of my peers I felt African. I moved to Canada to the middle of nowhere for United World College and all of a sudden I was struck by how every African I came across could tell me in detail about South Africa’s apartheid history… I could tell them…nothing…really nothing…because I knew nothing about their countries.. I could probably talk to the languages spoken, some of the demographics and  any other Grade 4 geography titbits I could muster.  But the people I was suddenly clustered in the same grouping as – the so called “Afro- Carribeans” were people I’d never spent two minutes thinking I was a part of.. And now the same people who’s souls somewhat vibrated closest to mine…who got most of my jokes (Sorry Brits, I love you too)..were people I constantly had to learn about and I wanted to learn about because they got me..really got me..From the random dance parties I would walk into in the all campus lounge to the jollof and other cooking sessions I would constantly invite myself to.  So when I left my amazing high school and went to university..I knew I had to further educate myself…because even if it was a class per semester…or a class a year..I knew it was more than was afforded a lot of South Africans who went through South African institutions.. Which then bring us to the actual topic at hand… why would I defile my oh so gorgeous baby soft skin with below tattoo….

When you literally have Africa on your back…

If I’d actually discussed this with my mother, it would have never happened.  So here I am 4 years back on the continent – covering the continent; visiting all these amazing places for work. Places that were new, but not so new because they got me and I got them on some fundamental spiritual level. I’d spent New Years in Kenya and gone through a rather ridiculous breakup …At this moment I actually felt so tied to how the progress of all the countries I was working.. at this point I was no longer South African and then African. I felt African first and then South African… As if my success in all I did was indestructibly tied to the progress of all 54 countries (Yes, at that not so tender age you can feel this way)… Insert every single time I’d jibed one of my friends and family for getting a tattoo with the words that I just didn’t  have anything that was that important to me that I could ever ascribe permanent space to my body for … So at this point in time …having had an amazing new years in my adopted country I recommitted to what I thought was important to me… had been for quite a while…Africa.

Cue “our destiny is down in Africa” … and me LAWLING. But seriously, I found that the one thing I knew I could commit to long term was my love for this continent and generally wanting to uplift and help grow as many corners as I possibly could through sustainable business and being part of the solution for the funding issue across the continent.  It was also a reminder of that despite things being difficult (and every other person asking why I wouldn’t just stay in the US) I CONSTANTLY reminded myself that I had to be part of the solution because at the end of the day that’s what mattered.

The tattoo itself is the African continent (and no I didn’t forget Madagascar like a lot of you!) – But I stopped when the guy wanted to ensure the Seychelles were there – no sir we will not be putting random spots on my back to the point where people think I have a moles. Interposed on it is my fingerprint because well – regardless of where I am in the world ..my identity still lies so firmly within this continent . So yes…people do African Studies and get tattoos of Africa because they simply care and love this continent so so much! That said, I’m always curios about why people choose to get tattoos and what they mean to them…so drop me a line…about your experience and why you chose to get a tattoo…what meant so much to you that you chose to go through the excruciating pain of having needles dance across your skin?

Tunisia: A budget friendly holiday you won’t regret!

So my oh so lovely boyfriend was asking me the other day if I actually think I’m the right person to advise people on budget travel, considering of course my love for the finer things in life.. *I will not go on to explain to you the berating he received after this statement/question*…Needless to say…Despite having a point, he made me question that assertion.  I think unless you’re balling out of control – which having recently graduated from my masters; I am not; you have to have a budget when you travel. Normally, I have everything between a fixed deposit and a travel pot with Monzo that I deposit money into every few weeks when I have extra cash to ensure that I have some extra cash to afford all the extra *finer* things he alluded to.

So, at the turn of the year wanting to get in some R&R at recently graduated a masters program budgets we set out for Tunisia. Our main needs for the trip were really (1) budget friendliness, (2) warm-ish weather, (3) R&R so we could plan the year properly, (4) A country that didn’t require me to get a visa because well.. traveling while brown is difficult enough, passport restrictions make it even more difficult.  Due to number 4, I always arrive super early at the airport  much to the dismay of my favourite travel partner who with his European passport tends to whizz through and can actually check-in online. Another disclaimer: I am not a morning person, I never have been and at this rate I never will be. I blame it on Investment Banking habits – working till 3am and then strolling into the office at 9am doesn’t lend itself to being able to wake up at 5am. Especially for travel when you haven’t been able to sleep properly for days because your boyfriend is sick and tosses and turns for most of the night..I’m not crying..I’m not crying ..I actually am crying. So two days before our Tunisia adventure I basically got not more than 3 /4 hours of sleep both nights because Mr. “I have an amazing passport but don’t appreciate it” was super sick, talking in his sleep and super feverish.

Mind you, in terms of immigration I really struggled getting the 411 on whether I needed a visa as a South African, whether I could get it on arrival or whether we shouldn’t book this trip because a visa would take more than 15 business days (I see you Morocco and I don’t appreciate it). I finally convinced myself that the numerous blog discussions from 2011  that I saw online were sufficient to comfort me that I could get a visa when I landed only for USD50… because that really does seem like a fair price to pay for a week holiday. NOT.  So here is your friend grumpy AF having not slept for days headed to the airport at the dead of morning… We’re already running a little late for my liking because… What is travel without life anxiety? We get to the airport, our credit card doesn’t go through because it’s foreign and the car company guy basically tells us to run to the ATM because…well…he needs to get paid… If you’ve ever been to Gatwick you’ll know that ATMs are few and far in-between. So before I could scream – ‘not it’..because well I’m a selfish human being at 5.30am and I really hadn’t slept my partner runs off (#BrowniePointsForKnowingYourPartnerIsAGrinchBefore9am). So crisis averted we check in, they have to do the dutiful….oooh…South African passport…give us a second while we check that you don’t need a pre-arrival visa… Prays to all of her ancestors, Wakandan and otherwise… praying that the 8 year old blog posts did not lead me astray and I really don’t need a visa. because well – I would be in doo doo the holiday being completely paid for and all – and remember #TravellingOnABudget was one of our goals.  And yes, I get the all clear!!! 

Roadside bevvies – especially mint tea goes down well

So for this particular trip we opted to for all inclusive package – not something I’m used to because I clearly always think I’m better at finding a deal than most agents/ Travel companies (I often am). But if you really don’t have time I would strongly suggest getting an all inclusive package with a site (I’ve used a couple that I found to be good). Basically all this meant was that with one fell swoop of the plastic sword (credit card, I mean credit card… Someone please tell me I actually am funny) we had booked flights, accommodation, transfers and all food and beverages our little bodies could consume. So when landing in this amazing country, the hardest thing we had to do was find the people responsible for our transfers… that is after I make it through immigration and find an ATM to pay for this visa in USD cash.  So if you’ve ever traveled with me you will unfortunately know that I’m an anxious flyer, not because I hate flying but because I always want to have things in order. It’s a great but also annoying habit. So I’ll always want hotel confirmations printed, enough cash for the visa on arrival and a powerbank just incase our phones die. Depending on where you are on the OCD scale it can either be super refreshing or super grating (Yes, I know I can admit my own shortcomings). 

I would like to send a shout out to my travel partner for teaching me a valuable lesson – sometimes you gotta fake it till you make it. I land and I’m of course stressing over finding an ATM so my visa process goes off without a hitch …I of course don’t find one…If there was a GIF to explain my stress it would be that one that has smoke coming out from her ears…smiling…but kinda dying inside slowly…After getting to the front of the immigration line…which is fairly easy when both travelers high tail it out of the plane because they know one of us has a ‘difficult’ passport and would need to probably spend more time than others (much to the dismay of one of them who’s current read unfortunately got left on the plane because of this strategy). After stressing and letting people go in front of us for about 4 mins my travel companion literally goes f*&^  it lets go I’m sure they wont bother you. Yay, for white man confidence! The guy takes the Irish passport and doesn’t hesitate to stamp it. He then suspiciously looks at my passport…asks us where we just landed from (me beaming, London 😊)… he stamps it and lets us go through…yes, I just saved USD50 because of white man confidence…

So let me drop a little bit of recent history about Tunisia…because  despite never being I’d spent a lot of time in college doing research about the Arab Spring  and ways that non-violent protests contributed to the Arab Spring as part of my research assistant job (Nerd alert!). The Tunisian Revolution, also called the Jasmine Revolution, was an intensive 28-day campaign of civil resistance. It effectively was the catalyst for what we now call the Arab Spring. It included a series of street demonstrations which took place in Tunisia, and led to the ousting of longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. It started when a fruit vendor set himself on fire in protest in front of a government building. … Within days, protests started popping up across the country, calling upon President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his regime to step down. About a month later, he fled the country. There was relative quiet for a few years… In 2015 there were a spate of foreigner killings claimed by IS. Post that most European countries put the country on the high alert list and a few airlines stopped flying to Tunisia.

So landing on this cold-ish January morning and driving along the highway to get to our beach resort you could feel some of this old history permeating the region. It looked a little desolate, dry and like there was a war at some point and people forgot to rebuild.  For a country that had started it all, it felt like it was somehow left behind in all the rush and happiness around the Arab Spring. It felt as if it was stuck in an era slightly beyond what I was used to. 

I.AM.SO.GLAD.THAT.WE.DID.AN.ALL.INCLUSIVE.PACKAGE.  Can you tell my excitement? I think being in a foreign country, especially one where one doesn’t fluently speak the two most spoken languages, nothing is as important as taking the stress away from everyday menial tasks like finding a restaurant or working out your own activities when you could have someone else do it for you.  Our hotel was lovely and perched on a lovely part of the seaside town. Shout to Hammamet!!! We got a massively great deal because it was off season for Tunisian beaches so what is normally a 1000 pax hotel was really filled to a quarter of the capacity. Everyone kind of knew us by the second day which was also rather lovely.  We ensured that we did not do too much as we really wanted to plan for the year, write out our goals and plan our yearly travel schedule etc. What I didn’t realize and appreciate was really the fact that all inclusive meant…all of the G&T’s and wine we could drink…which would have been AMAZING if it were not for the fact that one of us was sick for each of the days we were there. Brendan had had a flu for the first two or three days which he then passed on to me – can you say a waste of an all-inclusive package? I have never appreciated the value of medicine till this trip. The hotel staff was super helpful, but there’s nothing harder than knowing what you need to get for the flu and realizing there is no equivalent…even struggling to explain it in Arabic/French. So here we were trying to make do with what we could find in the local pharmacy… We had a couple of days where we both rallied and managed to get a couple of clear non-flu activities in.  

So after this amazing trip that I was supposed to be on a budget on (and I really do think we succeeded), what are some of my dos and donts to ensure you actually keep to a proper budget? I thought you’d never ask. Case and point below please. Also, these are not prescriptive…Some may work for you and some may be difficult to stick to, but these ensured we roughly stuck to it.

  1. Do: Opt for an all-inclusive package where possible, this gives you the flexibility to go out and find activities but lifts the pressure because most hotels will cater for all of your meals including snacks and as we learned also have nightly activities to keep you entertained. I did not hit up karaoke every day, but it was nice to know that we had the option
  2. Do: Decide on what activities you want to do ahead of time as these are not included in the ‘all inclusive’ prize- they’re essentially where the hotels make most of their money. So, we opted for a balance. We stayed away from the touristy stuff – insert another market where I was going to buy more trinkets that I wasn’t going to use but probably sell off the next time we move to a new house. We opted to avoid Tunis the capital on this trip (we also have our collective flu to thank for that). We went to the Amphitheatre of El Jem as one of our activities and it was amazing – A ton of movies were shot there and you really felt like you were walking through history
  3. Do: Find a few activities that you can do yourself without a tour guide. If you have a general understanding of how much things are generally supposed to cost this is a great option as you look less touristy and of course no one will try and charge you tourist prices
  4. Do: Find a few local restaurants so you can try something new and not pay exorbitant hotel/ Europe prices. This worked a treat for us, and we had some amazing local wine and fish. It definitely didn’t cost at much as the French 5 star restaurant we went to later in the week – This was not by choice (Rolls eyes, we were doing so well on this #TravellingOnABudget mission till then)
  5. Don’t: Overpack your schedule, more activities obviously mean more money and very often you end up not really enjoying it because you’re so tired from the days/weeks activities. There’s nothing worse than needing a holiday from your holiday
  6. Do: Be very specific with hotel staff when you ask for a restaurant recommendation. One of our only boos boos on this budget mission was asking for a recommendation of a restaurant with a view…but still local… Ofcourse they recommended a place which had quite few ‘locals’ – read foreigners who live locally and costs twice the amount of money of a restaurant in London. You live and you learn! We ended up enjoying it but it put a dent on our budget!
  7. Do: Ensure that your hotel has some free amenities… for us that was staying at a beach resort and having the beach be a 2 minute walk away and having a heated pool because the weather was definitely playing games and it was not in the early 20s they promised…so we could solo mission
  8. Do: spoil yourselffff. Yes, I will get crucified for this but like budgeting for life its uber important to spoil yourself. It makes all the saving worth it and having at least one leisure activity makes you feel like its worth it. So for us it was a Tunisian spa day, for you it may be that market shopping day! Balance is crucial always!!!!
  9. Don’t: Succumb to the pressure! We all have varying budgets and want different things from holidays. If you completely base your budget / holiday on what you see on the internet, (read: Instagram) you will end up spending way more than you can afford. What usually works is what feels right to your pocket. I tend to always have a balance of a few more ‘splurge’ worthy holidays and more – ‘we will find all of the deals even if it kills us’ holidays. Find whats right for you!
Even in 20 celcius weather, we will always make an excuse to wear a bikini!!! (Move over Ashley Graham)

So if someone was to ask me if I could holiday on a budget, my answer would be ofcourse… are we talking GBP400 or GBP4000? What budget are we really playing with? Seriously though – there are so many little things / tips you can incorporate on all your travels that can ensure than you’re keeping your spending within reason whilst having a great time and making some amazing memories! Choose your budget and find the right tools to support those!

Oh and selfish plug, if you want to keep up with my latest blogs, please of course subscribe!!! And follow my live traveling updates on Instagram @beeinrsa. All the cool kids are doing it…Me…I am cool kids..I am following myself because #SelfLove! Till next time, budget budget budget and let me know on what’s on your current travel bucket list (I recently put together my 2019 travel wish list and my bank account laughed at me); but I will make it happen! Subscribe to find out where I’m heading to next!

Why Ethiopia needs to be on your bucket list.

Oh just hanging at the Danakil Depression…

Yes, the above is as surprising to you as it is to 25-year-old me! At 25, I was in my fourth year of investment banking… I was covering the continent and got in copious amounts of traveling. I unfortunately always went to bigger hubs for work…Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Accra, London, Singapore etc.

A random Easter a friend in Nairobi decided to put together a trip to Ethiopia. I wont lie… As a South African I had no actual knowledge of Ethiopia… all I can really remember is the Michael Jackson song ‘we are the world’   which paraded starving African kids and asked for you to give… when people said starving Africans. Ethiopia is what came to mind…So now being a resident of East Africa I was adamant to learn more and stop being an ignorant South African.  Boy, did I learn a thing or two.

The trip was off to a bumpy start when I landed and realized I didn’t bring my yellow fever card. I own three yellow fever cards because I keep forgetting them and Kenya keeps insisting that I pay for a new one (final solution was me taking a photo and always having a digital copy).  So I landed and ofcourse my three friends had their yellow fever cards (I’d landed the day before from Zambia and clearly missed the memo). I’d shame them now for not reminding me, but this is a fundamental that you shouldn’t forget when traveling to a lot of African countries.  I flashed the charming young fellow showing us where to go to pay for a visa an innocent smile and prayed that he would let me through. Which he did !!! The catch was that as a South African I didn’t need a yellow fever card, but as a Kenyan resident I needed one. I convinced him that I’d just flown through Kenya and was in no danger. If he’s somehow reading this…I’m sorry!!!

 But the game was afoot!!! I was in Ethiopia to see some of the most incredible things on this continent that I wasn’t even aware existed 2 years prior.  I spent five glorious days in desert heat and I couldn’t have been happier.  What is that? What were the biggest highlights of the trip even when they were touristy? I thought you’d never ask …

  • Salt Farms in Makale. Farmers still lead their camels for 7 days to these ‘farms’ to breakdown and transport salt blocks all across Ethiopia in 40 degress Celsius weather (10 Fahrenheit) and yes I saw the most gorgeous Ethiopian men I’ve ever seen and my first camel caravans.
All in a day’s work for these salt farmers
  • The Danakil Depression. I’m at a loss for words. This is the closest I’ve felt to another universe in my life. It is so hard to put into words. The depression is in the northern part of the Afar Triangle or Afar Depression in Ethiopia, a geological depression that has resulted from the divergence of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa. Think multicolored sand and water and what I imagine tripping on acid to feel like. I could not get over the colours, the heat and the strange wind that made it feel like I was in a star wars universe.
The awesome foursome and our guide at the site
  • Erta Ale – We hiked up 10kms at 8pm at night to stand 50m away from the mouth of the most active volcano in Ethiopia which last erupted in 2008.  It spews lava daily and one of the people on our trip cut his leg as he fell though the fresh lava. Can you say yikes! And yes as soon as he cut his leg I froze in place and opted to walk myself back to our camp that overlooked the volcano and where we were to sleep under the stars for the night.  And yes for the peanut gallery – I just kept thinking of my mother who would have no sympathy for a cut leg because she would ask me who asked me to go to the middle of the desert and stand that close to a live volcano. The smell was atrocious, think rotten eggs in a hot room you can’t leave, but all worth is for a night sleeping underneath the most stars I’ve ever seem in a sky.
Yes, we really shouldn’t have been this close to Erta Ale
  • Gaet’ale Pond – saltiest body of water in the world. Yes, I did not know that when I went!!! Amazing swim and super refreshing break from driving across the desert. It also punctuated our never ending drives across the desert and what we referred to as an African massage (Being body slammed against each other in the SUV because of the bumpy desert), it did the work though.
  • Amazing Ethiopian kids we met along camps…and yes again…they firstly thought I was Ethiopian because my hair was curly…turns out I don’t speak a lick of the local dialect and then then thought I was Japanese…or American… lesson to all: black people please visit your African brothers so kids don’t think we are Japanese because they can’t place non-Ethiopian blacks…..
  • Amazing driver who spoke Italian – I’m not sure I need to say more. Whilst I don’t speak a word of Italian, I can confess I did not mind at all. A friend got to practice his Italian and I had a chance to be awed by a good-looking Ethiopian man who spoke 4 languages.
  • Addis Night scene – the awesome foursome broke apart and one pair went  see some of the earliest churches in the world…Archie and your friend here obviously went back to the capital for an experience in night clubs before heading back to work Sunday afternoon.  Beautiful people, amazing music and just an amazing vibe all around.
  • Food glorious food – Once we left the desert we had our fair share of Ethiopian cuisine. Ethiopian cuisine (Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ምግብ as Wikipedia just told me) usually consists of vegetable and spicy meat dishes.  If you know me, you will know that nothing makes me happier than gobbling down some spicy food.  I gorged on stew, injera (a large sourdough flatbread made out of fermented teff flour), Beef Tibs and Shiro (I didn’t know a vegetarian dish could taste so good).  I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I basically had to roll myself back to our hotel both days.  Please don’t get me started on the coffee!!!
I could have this for every meal. *Every* *Single* *Meal*
As hot as it was, this coffee was surprisingly refreshing.

Things I won’t miss about this trip…

  • Pasta – Because I spent most of the 5 days in the desert there really weren’t many opportunities to partake in fresh food. Which meant that pasta and some sort of canned tomato sauce was the order of the day most days. Most of the arears we went to did not have electricity which was great as it game us an opportunity to unplug, but it also meant that most things were salted or canned!
  • No internet – Even when we were in the capital there was a crackdown on dissonance, so the state shut off everyone’s wifi connections. I kid you not, you live and learn. So we basically just had to ask out way around as we couldn’t google directions and we couldn’t check our emails (Did I actually just say I hated this?!?!?!?!)

All in all, I learnt a lot. I was astounded by how amazing the people, country and food were. There’s so much I didn’t see, and I would recommend this trip to any and everyone. The tour company we used was efficient, affordable and generally really good! On my next trip I think I’ll try and hit up some of the churches.

Camel Caravans going to pick up salt
The range of colours in the desert was breathtaking!

The 4 reasons South Africans should travel around Africa (and the greater globe) more…

Zanzibar forever remains one of my favourites – Nungwi Beach

I cannot count the number of times I have heard South Africans tell me that they’re going to ‘Africa’ or the continent for a week. Yes, I kid you not, we are a special breed. We have Africa in our name and there are still people who think they are going to a different continent when they board a plane at OR Tambo or Cape Town International or King Shaka. And yes, all 54 of our glorious countries are extremely different, but they are still on the same continent.

1.Are you Zulu? Sawubona!

Yes, I happen to be Zulu but this happens to most South Africans when they visit the rest of Africa. So many people know about our history, culture and some languages and appreciate how far we’ve come as a nation despite us not appreciating it. Yes, this is me also feeling terrible that I learnt nothing about African history in primary or secondary school and had to wait until I took a minor  in African studies to have a better appreciation for our similarities, struggles and so many of our cultural commonalities!!!

2. Yes there are brown / black people in South Africa

This is more for the melanated South Africans reading (Yes, I just made up that word).  Due to apartheid and socioeconomic reasons most South African people of colour have not traveled the breadth of our beautiful continent. Due to this, it should come as no surprise that a lot of Africans outside of the major hubs are genuinely surprised when they meet a black South African. For some reason a lot of places off the beaten track seem to think South Africans are mainly white….No, I’m not joking….I was in Tunisia and someone looked at me strangely when I said I was South African… apparently I was the first black South African they had ever met.  So do all of us a public service and go show some of our culture and fake those clicks even if you aren’t Xhosa or Zulu. You’re doing your country a service!!!!

3. This is more for the greater world then the continent, but you will have utterly amusing stories to tell your grandkids that you could never make up.

I lived in China for a period of around 2.5 years in and out, first as a student and then as an adult. It was not the easiest because of the stark differences in culture but being fluent in mandarin did help.  Questions I was asked in that period:

  • Are you related to Obama?
  • Is Kobe your big brother?
  • Why are you at the zoo, don’t you have animals everywhere in Africa? (And still…no we only have animals in the zoo)
  • You must be grateful to Obama for ending slavery…deadass. I tell no lies…
  • How come your Chinese is so good? (I lying to get an extra shot..my dad is Chinese and my mum is South African…)…mmm I guess that makes sense… *sips on her 4th free shooter because she’s half Chinese*
  • Why are you so dark…do your people not wash as much?
  • Some offensive, some hilarious…all requiring a level of patience that my mother would be proud I now possess (apparently I used to have the temper of a thousand Xhosa / Zulu woman)

4. You will genuinely be humbled by how beautiful the continent is and how so many places are not publicized. Yes,people have been hiding destinations from you.

I don’t even know where to start …The Danakil depression (lookout for my next post)… Labadi Beach in Accra..The skeleton Coast that’s on my bucket list… or the clear ocean in Zanzibar or the Seychelles…I don’t remember ever being taught about this Africa. I have been entirely humbled by how much I didn’t know before embarking on my journeys.  When kids were going off about some of their European holidays as a kid and we could only afford to go down the coast till now when I’m older and I can afford to explore more I have not come across anything as beautiful as our continent. I am entirely filled with euphoria every single time I land on a different island or city even when I’m overwhelmed and I need to go find a normal cab (Yes, there are places where there is still no uber or taxify or littlecabs – please go find a normal cab; its 2019 and its still in fashion to speak to people and bargain for your fare).

I wont lie, I love South Africa. I don’t think I could have been luckier in hitting the birth lottery when it comes to weather, lack of natural disasters, amazing food, friendliest of people and a more resilient nation but like I said above I am giddy with excitement every single time I know I am putting another African stamp on the green Mamba! Yes, I am that south African who listens to the expat south Africans and calls her passport the green mamba! Firstly, start budgeting…there’s so much to see and so little time…join the struggle bus and go to home affairs, if you get there extremely early you’re out within an hours and are assured a new passport within a week! And yes, we are thankful that the two most efficient ministries in our country is the one that taxes you (hey SARS, I feel like I’m owed a tax rebate ) and the one that actually allows you to run away from Eskom’s load shedding once in a while!!!!