Johannesburg - One of the things Lerato Mogoatlhe has always known with certainty is that whatever else Africa is, it is first and foremost a home. It was this belief that saw her leave South Africa six years ago, and visited West Africa for three months. Three months became five years.
She kicked off her journey in Senegal in 2008, and before she knew it, she couldn’t stop travelling the continent, moving from country to country, living on the road.
Speaking to Independent Media about her book, Vagabond, Mogoatlhe said the book Vagabond looks at journeys that span a decade “and in that space of a decade, the very tenderness, that quality of the beginning that affirmation of ‘You are at home,’ is something that is affirmed ten years later in Sudan which is a completely different part of the region but the same affirmation is there. You are home,” she said.
We get into conversation with Lerato about her travels, the lessons she’s learned from various countries across the continent.
She also explained that it all began when she was a little girl in a classroom.
“When I was eight or nine years old, an English teacher came to class and taught us about ancient Egypt. And there was such a big profound moment in my life, it was the first time I had this realisation that the world is so much bigger than what's around the corner.”
In between the borders, foreign architecture and interesting new ways of life, she found passion, love, laughter and heartbreak.
She navigates herself out of difficult situations, like being misread by a man who tries to force himself on her. Vagabond is Mogoatlhe’s hilarious and honest account of her years living as a drifter in Africa.
This is a travel memoir punctuated by a deep urge to know the continent intimately, and in this conversation, Mogoatlhe opens up and gives all an opportunity to know what went into her travels, and how they fed into her soul and so much more.
The Sunday Independent