How To: The African Edition

A guide on how to understand and make sense of Africans, African behavior, and things concerning Africa.

Travel Africa

So, how did you get here?

This is a question that some Africans who have lived overseas have been asked. 

I have only been asked how I got to school once and I replied by plane, and the person said "I know"

So why are you asking?

I just don't understand what I'm meant to answer when people ask that question

It could be 'how did you choose this school?' or 'what made you choose to come here?' It could even be the pejorative 'Africa surely does not have planes, how did you get here?'

The implications and insinuations to the questions are endless. 

Then it hit me. Africans we should milk this. We should enjoy it and just have people think it is extremely difficult to get to their country. 

Every year thousands of African students leave their home countries to get to their schools in foreign countries. 

For many, it is an arduous and perilous trip that takes months. 

This is my story. 

On a cold morning. On the first day of May at around 6 am or earlier, depending on the transport we are using, I begin my journey to university. 

On this fateful day, we are not using our trusty Elephant, Ndovu. We are using our Zebra, Mbizi ... yes we know we are horrible at naming them.*

Contrary to popular belief, Zebra's are actually quite fast and much better at carrying goods than their cousin, the donkey. 

We have to leave early so we can get to Uganda by nightfall. I know you are thinking that zebras cannot be that fast but trust me, they are faster than horses. 

We try and travel through each country in a day. However, in some countries, it takes us much longer, usually due to a lack of Zebra crossings and paths. 

If we're fast enough, it only takes two and a half months to cross the continent.

The key is to plan really. 

The hope is that by the time we get to Senegal - if we're going to America - the giraffes are lined up across the Atlantic like a bridge that you can cross. 

You must pack really light since you can get everything you need when you get to America. 

From July till August we traverse on the wet and smelly backs of giraffes. Sometimes you get to school just in time or you are late by a week because a giraffe got sick or they were, unfortunately, dinner for a shark one night. Anything can happen. 

If you happen to go to school on the West Coast of America, it is recommended that you never leave the country once you get there. It is hard enough getting there but it will take you forever to get back. 

While we can all have a chuckle about this. It would be wrong for me to sit back and tell you that this is not the reality of some people. Obviously, without the giraffes and the zebras. 

There are some people who live in an Africa that does them more harm than good and the only way for them to get out of their countries is by foot. During the conflicts in Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and most recently the migrant crisis, we saw and learned that there are some Africans willing to risk their lives for anywhere other than home. 

I can always complain and say that it is a stupid question, filled with stereotypes of Africa that only I can see, but there are others who would kill for the opportunity to be asked such a 'stupid' question.