Through a Black iris | Alick Chingapi

Book Launch | 26 July 2017

‘As an African, I figure I owed it to myself to see how the rest of my homeland and continent is.  If the stereotypes hold true: are we the dark continent?  As a black man travelling, would I be treated differently to a Western, fair-skinned traveller?’  In conversation with Bridget Hilton-Barber, Alick Chingapi told the audience of why he decided to undertake this trip in the way he did.  He stated that this book has been written to inspire the people of Africa to explore their own continent.   During his almost four months of travel, Mr Chingapi was saddened not to meet other African tourists.

Travelling alone was a different experience for this gentleman as he had previously only travelled with family and friends.  Equipped with only a backpack to ensure easy movement during his journey, the author made notes on his phone to enable him to remember experiences which might otherwise have been forgotten.  Public transport was his mode of travel and finding his way around the continent on trains, buses and taxis brought him from Cairo to Cape Town.

The author told the audience of his worst and best memories of the trip, both of which were heart-wrenching in their own way to hear.  Mr Chingapi originally titled this book ‘African Darkness’ but decided to change this because of the Western stereotyping of ‘darkest’ Africa.  His journey showed him that the people of Africa still have kindness in their souls.

When asked, Mr Chingapi said that the adventure changed him and it was very difficult to reconcile the person he was when he started with the person he was when he returned, after this emotional journey.  His next adventure will be to explore West Africa in much the same way as this trip – with only a backpack and his wits and good-humour.

If travelling through Africa with only a back-pack and using public transport is on your bucket list, this is a must-read!  If you wish to have the experience without leaving your armchair, then this is definitely a must-read!

#BookLaunch #NonFiction #Travel

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