Lewis Hamilton explains why he visited rural Africa on his journey to self-discovery

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton recently spent part of the European summer in Africa, taking time away from the sport to delve into his heritage. For Hamilton, the experience was enlightening, with him coming away feeling more in tune and connected with his past.

It was widely assumed that Hamilton would visit South Africa - or at the very least, the Kyalami Circuit that's been, at the time, earmarked for inclusion on the 2023 F1 calendar. But it didn't happen, and the champion's ventures took him to Kenya and Tanzania, among others, after kickstarting his journey in Namibia.

Speaking to F1 journalist Naomi Schiff, Hamilton explains why he did not visit countries like South Africa, but instead shifted his focus to rural communities.

Lewis Hamilton,f1,formula 1,formula one,mercedes
Lewis Hamilton during his Africa trip this past August

Struggles at discrimination

Hamilton's struggles with racism and discrimination have been well-documented. From his formative years, the Brit has faced challenges of all kinds and had to prove himself in a white-dominated sport. It was never easy, and he often had to endure harsh critique aimed at the colour of his skin - even in his father's presence.

Still, he kept focus and battled through the challenges to one day make it into F1, which he did in 2007.

But the Africa trip was about more than just visiting indigenous tribes. It was about him connecting with his roots and experiencing the life his ancestors led.

"Going to Africa this August, for me, was one of the most, if not the most, special experiences," he said. "Just to tap into a little bit of Africa. I didn't go into the wealthy parts. I really wanted to get into some of the rawest parts [of the continent] and see how people live with very little."

To get The Undercut delivered to your inbox, you must be logged in to your free News24 profile.

Once you're registered, go to 'My Newsletters' under your profile and search for The Undercut under the Sport category.

Sign up at no cost and browse through a range of News24 newsletters to choose from.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Should out of form Proteas captain Temba Bavuma be dropped for Thursday's T20 World Cup clash against Pakistan?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
No - He is our captain and dips in form happen to everyone.
20% - 1925 votes
Yes - Temba is nowhere right now and he needs to stand down if we are to have any chance of winning.
80% - 7577 votes
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.