Lerato Mogoatlhe’s debut book titled Vagabond is a brilliant response to an old cliché that Africa is a “dark continent”. For years this narrative that the African continent is a “backward” and “dark” has made people and particularly many South Africans opting to explore continents for holiday destinations than their own. However, Mogoatlhe in this travelling memoir really made a good case for the continent and planted a seed into her fellow Africans to start appreciating what is in their backyard before touring other continents.
In Vagabond- Wandering through Africa on faith, Mogoatlhe documents her travelling experiences in the five regions of the continent, from West, East, Central, South and North Africa. In these pages, Mogoatlhe lists mostly her highs (good experiences) and a few lows (not-so-good experiences) of her African adventures. However, her main and most important objective is dismissing the long-held and untested myths about the continent through her own personal experiences. This book will surely make one feel proud about being born in Africa and also appreciate the humanity of many Africans across the continent, as Mogoatlhe did. Mogoatlhe really brought the continent much closer into our hearts and wants many Africans to rediscover who they are, as her travelling experiences also helped her to feel proud of who she is.
” More than turning what used to be blots on my map into places I know with all my senses, my travels are also an affirmation on my blackness. They give me the opportunity to experience being black and African without disguising or denying myself to fit in.”
While the book is largely based on Mogoatlhe’s travelling adventures in the continent, reading this book thus also open a window to know the author on a personal level, her spiritual beliefs, craziness and her bravery that saw her travelling the continent without a penny in her wallet. Madam Afrika, as Mogoatlhe is affectionately known, changes the views of many people about the continent with this book, but most importantly she has ignited fire into those who love travelling and will make many to start thinking of travelling the continent before visiting other continents. Vagabond is indeed a bible that one needs to carry and read when planning to explore and getting intimate with the continent. This book is a must-read as it provides a proper guide and information to the reader about the top museums, mosques, best beaches, delicious food and the best mode of transport that one can find in the five regions of Africa.