Many moons ago, the people of Africa are believed to have been the first of mankind to roam the earth. Thousands of years later, I was granted the privilege to walk the same land they walked and inhale the same air that filled their lungs. Africa was a feeling that I had never felt before. I felt held by its wilderness and a sense of belonging to the natural world. I can’t fully describe its magic to someone who has never felt it before, but I want to especially encourage the African diaspora to travel there at least once in their lifetime. Long after you have left Africa, there are many treasures, both tangible and intangible that will stay with you forever. Below are just a few reasons why you should save up that money and experience the cradle of mankind.
- The people are incredibly warm and welcoming.
I recently traveled to the East African country of Kenya and as soon as I landed, I was hit with a beautiful breeze that welcomed me back home. Just as I did, you will find that the local people have warm intentions and more often than not, they will invite you to share their experience in Africa. I spent several days in a village called Moturumesi and the hospitality that I received was like no other. The phrase, “it takes a village” became my reality. Everywhere I went, no matter how near or far, I felt celebrated. Like true royalty, the African people shared their identities with me as well as allowed me to connect with them on levels that went beyond the surface. You will be astonished by the people’s eagerness to share their lives and passion about the continent with you.
- 2020 is the year of return.
Approximately 400 years ago, members of the African family were bound by shackles and forced onto slave ships that departed Africa, beginning the mass exodus that separated the diaspora against their wishes. This year brings forth the homecoming of black brothers and sisters back to the motherland. Not only is it the year of return, but it is also an opportunity to bridge the gap between the diaspora and the continent. The 400 years apart has created a separation between the people of the continent and their brothers and sisters that reside around the world. The return will allow us to bridge the gap and develop a deeper connection with the brothers and sisters that we were separated from.
- It is an opportunity to connect to your roots.
Traveling to the motherland is the best opportunity to get closer to your roots in discovering your ancestral history. Beautiful and wide, Africa houses the origins of the extensive black diaspora. Though we may have all found a home in different corners of the world, the continent is the biggest element that connects us all. Despite our cultural differences, there are a thousand similarities that we share with our brothers and sisters in Africa. The biggest common factor is that you will be surrounded by people that look just like you. This sense of community with people that may speak different languages and lead vastly different lives will bring to life an unbreakable bond driven by togetherness.
- There is a wide array of things you can experience.
The media tends to bunch all of Africa’s 54 nations as one country and not an entire continent. While in Africa, you are certain to encounter a rich history no matter where you go. The Swahili word “safari” means to journey or to travel to. An African safari will allow you to see for yourself, its extensive population of wildlife in Tanzania and Uganda. You can even share your breakfast with giraffes at Giraffe Manor located in Kenya. In Ghana, you can hike to see mountain gorillas, an experience exclusive to only three countries in the world. Experience divine relaxation in the many beautiful beaches located all around the motherland’s rich coast in places like Mozambique and the Ivory Coast.
- It will widen your perspective on the world.
Going to Africa is a massive learning experience. I recently had the opportunity to return to Kenya and the lessons I learned during that trip will carry me through life. The way in which I view the entire world has been expanded to horizons I never knew existed. Just as it awarded me, I hope that going back to the motherland will permit you to gain insight into the bigger picture in life. Though I never lacked courage before, I now have a stronger thirst to serve the world with intentions that go beyond me.
- The cultures are breathtakingly beautiful.
The western media has tainted the portrayal of Africa. Taking on an opportunity to see the many different cultures, hear the multitude of tongues spoken and witness the abundance of distinct tribes will change your perspective of the continent.
I aspire to take control of the narrative that has taken Africa’s color away. I marvel at the continent’s beauty and encourage the diaspora to partake in the year of return.