A travel request to all darkies

2010-04-10 09:55

BESEECH, verb: to beg ­earnestly.

Dear Black People, I am not just imploring you to travel, I am doing so on my knees and with clasped hands. Go “out there”. Grab a bag and get out of town. Please!

I am tired of being a “rare” ­variety. I find nothing special or out of the ordinary about my mission to know Africa through first-hand experiences.

However, this “awe” has followed me around West Africa, where some Europeans and Americans felt it necessary to sit me down and talk to me about the phenomenon of a solo black female traveller.

“Black women just don’t do that,” is what one young (not so) lovely German teenager exclaimed in Ghana. She was there as a volunteer. Like the thousands of her ilk who get a sense of purpose from “helping Africans.”

Knowing a lot of black South African women whose passports I envy, I told her that these women do not just travel, they also run companies, edit newspapers, head universities and do other things that some people cannot, for some reason, ­associate with black women. This, said one Mr Sylla in ­Guinea Conakry, is “bizarre.”

So much so that he was frothing and yelling murder, accusing me of “espionage.”

These comments offend me; I have to justify myself to strangers when I do not even believe in justifying myself to my significant others. I also feel awkward and slightly irritated when teenagers pat my back to ­congratulate my courage when all you need to travel is a bit of money and creativity.

I am also up to my neck with non-African whites mistaking me for staff; as in, “excuse me, is breakfast ready?”

Their eyes are apparently blind to laptops and furious typing, which do not scream cook/receptionist/cleaner to me.

I am undecided about where to stand regarding old German couples asking for a picture of the darkie at leisure.

This said, I get where their “shock” comes from; black South Africans do not travel, much less in Africa. I’m generalising, but it does ring true.

It makes me stick out like a sore thumb. This is what I felt like in Cintsa in Eastern Cape.

Cintsa, like much of our coast, is breathtakingly beautiful and worthy of the “slice of paradise” foreigners call it.

Yet again, I was the only darkie staying at Buccaneers’ Backpackers. It was made more glaring by the town’s apartheid-era placement of whites on the beach and darkies hidden behind the mountains. It makes paradise feel like hell.

I did not like being the only black person enjoying paradise while others my hue were there to work. It was not just tedious but also lonely. Especially after the workers and the four souvenir sellers I hung out with went home.

So, please, dear darkies, can we start making travel a regular feature in our lives? It does not cost an arm a leg as some people think.

Going to Cintsa cost me much less than a Brazilian weave with its R5?000 price tag. I have crossed borders using the peanuts that some people spend as fortunes on designer accessories.

Prada, Gucci and Burberry will not go out of business just because you stop being a ­marketers’ dream instead of using your money to buy lasting experiences for yourself.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Junior Chef

Century City
Pro Placements Recruitment Agency
R8 000 - R9 000 Per Month

Graphic Designer

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Creative Sourcing
R7 000 - R9 000 Per Month

Back End Developer / PHP Developer (Junior & Mid-Level) - Wanted

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Persona Staff
R2 500 - R8 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.