Tunisian blogger and writer Mehdi Belhadj, 32, has travelled through 28 African countries. Picture: Mehdi Belhadj/Facebook
Tunisian blogger and writer Mehdi Belhadj, 32, has travelled through 28 African countries. Picture: Mehdi Belhadj/Facebook

Tired of your day job? This Tunisian blogger dumped his job and has been walking through Africa

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Oct 15, 2021

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Pretoria – Tunisian blogger and writer Mehdi Belhadj has arrived in South Africa after walking and hitchhiking through 28 African countries in a precarious journey that has seen him kidnapped, robbed and sometimes having to find odd jobs to buy food.

The 32-year-old is passing through South Africa on his ambitious trip to visit all 54 nations on the African continent.

“I started my trip in 2018 when I decided to go to all African countries on foot to prove that it is possible to cross Africa safely even through the most dangerous areas. I believe there is a lot of good in all the African countries. I have almost completed my journey around Africa on foot from the northernmost point of the continent – Cape Angela in Tunisia – to the southernmost point of the continent which is Cape Agulhas in South Africa,” he said.

“My journey started in 2018, walking and hitchhiking all the way, and through it I managed to cross 28 countries, from North, West and Central Africa to the borders of the south.”

During the journey, Belhadj has spent considerable time living with nomadic tribes in his bid “to get close to their true daily lives and to show the diversity and beauty of our continent”.

“I am interested in African nature, culture and traditions and have spent a lot of time travelling with the nomad people to get close to their true daily lives and to show the diversity and beauty of our continent,” he said.

Belhadj was working in Tunisia as an electrical engineer but said he could no longer endure the monotony of repeating similar work each day.

“I found out that I would repeat the same every day, so I decided to give up everything and start my wild journey around the African continent, which gave me many lessons, experiences and adventures that I could not gain through study or work, without any support and sponsors,” he said.

He said he initially funded his travel through money he had saved from his day job, but soon ran into the reality of malaria and detention, trekking through countries including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I have faced many dangers such as malaria, typhoid, and imprisonment in Nigeria and being kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I managed to reach my dream by road from the northernmost point to the farthest point. I hope that my story will be inspiring to the readers, and that they learn that life is worth living on this continent, and that they learn to cling to dreams, no matter the difficulties,” said Belhadj.

Belhadj said the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had slowed him down considerably.

“I was stuck in the DRC for more than one year (when the pandemic started) and I became obliged to work there because life is really expensive there. I started working until the country opened up its borders,” he recounted.

He said many communities have also become wary of meeting him as they fear that as a traveller he could be infected with Covid-19.

Follow Belhadj’s journey on his Facebook page.

IOL

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