Cross-country journey takes Ubuntu Girl to 114 towns

2011-06-07 00:00

SHE gave up her job as a manager at the Rhino Game Reserve Lodge and a life she knew in pursuit of ubuntu.

In 2009 Sonja Kruse (36) famously known as “The Ubuntu Girl”, grabbed her 33-litre backpack, a R100 note and her digital camera and travelled across the country.

Throughout her journey, she lived in 114 towns with 150 families and experienced 16 cultures along the way.

The adventurer from Eshowe in Zululand said she only had a few clothing items, toiletries, a first aid kit, a head lamp and no extra shoes.

Because she did not have a car, she depended on strangers for lifts to take her from point A to B. She also knocked on people’s doors asking for a place to sleep.

Kruse said she was driven by a yearning she had, to portray the country in a more positive light.

Her journey lasted 12 months.

“I was tired of all the crime stories that are always reported in the news, but wanted to show another side of South Africa,” Kruse said.

“I wanted to change the negativity about the country and tell stories of ubuntu,” she added.

Her first night was with a Xhosa woman from East-London who welcomed her to her home.

Her last night was spent with the only white Induna in the history of the Royal Zulu household.

“I actually depended on people for everything and I always had a place to sleep. All the places were different and no place was better than the other, but the common thing was ubuntu,” she said.

Kruse is currently working on a book that recorded the places she visited and her thoughts about the people who showered her with gifts, food, and places to sleep.

She hopes that through her story she will give others a license to do the same.

“I’ve always been judgmental. As people we always look at outer packaging and we don’t know the whole story, but this journey has opened my heart and mind,” she said.

Kruse said she has a better relationship with herself.

“I’m more in awe of South Africa and the people. It’s sad that as a nation we don’t appreciate the journey we’re on and always look at what we haven’t achieved instead of what we have. Our country is dynamic, creative, unique, beautiful and special. Being South African is a blessing,” she said.


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