Napo Masheane

Despite her many travels around the world, poet, writer and director Napo Masheane still has a deep affinity to her hometown Qwaqwa and the city of Johannesburg. She shared some interesting insight on her travels with me for our My Life In Travel segment:

First holiday memory?

Soweto (Naledi) at my maternal grandmother’s house surrounded by aunts and cousins who fed my soul with so much abundance and love. This matchbox house held and still holds precious memories of my childhood. The seven-course meals, the smell of coal stove smoke, the dusty streets, loud mouth conversations and shared laughter!

Favourite place in SA?

Definitely my hometown Qwaqwa (Eastern Free State). Those beautiful, gigantic mountains still give me chills down my spine. The landscape that holds the Basotho culture, the sounds of birds, muddy rivers, the smell of cow dung. That fresh air of possibilities makes me choose this life and dream.

Best holiday?

New York City. The buzz of the city high life, the fast pace of its subways, the magic of its theatre venues and productions, the 'I don't care attitude' and the unique fashion sense. Just that trip out of SA to work, play, create, read, laugh and share wine with old and new friends there makes my heart glow. I can do this again and again.

What have you learned from your travels?

What I have learned is every country, home and face carries the face of God with it. That there is beauty in our diverse cultures, there is profoundness of identity in our languages and definitely power in our artistic voices.

Ideal travelling companion?

(Hiding face) I actually enjoy traveling alone as long as I have a good, inspiring book, pen, paper and my laptop to record my thoughts and breath life into words.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Culture Vulture

Greatest travel luxury?

Simplicity works for me. I definitely spend a lot of money on artifacts, books, CD's and shoes/clothes. I like carrying memories of where I have been and make sure I bring lots of the above back home with me. What I value most though is getting new networks that expand my growth as an artist and there is no price for this.

Holiday reading?

I always have scripts and poetry books. Now and again I read African literature and I’m presently reading Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa, which means I will be traveling with this book in my bag until I finish it.

Worst travel experience?

UK Black History Festival. Not only did me and my two friends spend our own money to participate in that festival but were held at airport as our host did not answer his phone for hours so we couldn't get clearance to enter. But worse when we eventually found him and were allowed to enter the UK our host booked us into a brothel in Brixton. Horrible. Disrespectful. Scary. Miserable.

Best hotel?

Hilton Hotel in Switzerland. We stayed there on our performance tour with South African Tourism Business Unit. Such class, beauty, service and quite amazing. I would do that again and again.

Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?

I am black, I don't swim, I admire the view (LOL!) I love driving through Mpumalanga, KZN and Free State (Qwaqwa). Something about mountain views gets to me and awakens my spirit. Somehow when I am on top of a mountain I am able to breathe stronger and better. Perhaps because my childhood allowed me to wake up every day to the sight of Maluti-Mountains.

Best meal abroad?

Seafood in Mozambique. Pizza in (Peru) Italy. This one is not necessarily only abroad but dammit, give me Sushi any day, anywhere in the world, anytime, and you got me. And of course who will say no to maotwana and mogodu (chicken feet and tribe) or braai from any Kasi outlet?

Favourite city?

It's unfair to give only one but Amsterdam/ New York City and Joburg (Jozi, Maboneng).

Where to next?

This year all is lined up, my study research is taking me to Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Canada, China and USA just to name but few.