Almost Sleeping My Way To Timbuktu

By Drum Digital
11 November 2013

It will be hard to put it down. Once you open it some parts of your life will stand still.

Image exploring a region where you don’t speak the language, the challenges you would face and everything that can go wrong.  This book chronicles the author’s decision to  explore Francophone Africa – visiting Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin or Togo that are hosts to five World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO for their historical and cultural significance. But as life would have it, not everything goes according to plan. His non-existent grasp on French while travelling through West Africa resulted in some very long, lonely and funny drives, even though he’s crammed with locals in small spaces. Like a typical South African, there are times he comes across as a snob – when he chose to survive on a cool drink or bottled water for hours because he dared not touch the local foods out of fear of food poisoning. The logistics involved to get from one place to the other can frustrate as well as keep you in stitches. At times he makes you feel envious as you’ll feel like you are there, smelling the fruit and the vegetables at the markets. Even though the book is about him in West Africa, he also gives details about his personal life. The kind of husband, father, brother and colleague he is. Written in a tone that makes you feel like Sihle is addressing you as a friend – he is witty and outright funny. That you will feel sad and informative is testament to his storytelling ability as well as the research involved in the background information and conveying the history of the places he visits. He gets emotional at timesand you’re right there with him especially when he visits the slave trade areas. He empathises with the locals’ history as if it were his own. Sihle Khumalo’s previous trips around Africa produced the books Dark Continent My Black Arse and Heart of Africa. By Sihle Khumalo

Umuzi (RHS)



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