Travel writing the world over has been a genre that seems to belong to one type of person; white, male, and privileged. Voices that are not from this demographic talking about what you can see from around the world in book form are far and few between.
This is why when you hear of any views of our continent or other parts of the world from one of our own one stands up and applauds. The first writer I heard of doing travel writing in this form was Tété-Michel Kpomassie an explorer and writer from Togo. The guy found a book about Greenland while at home and knew that he must go there. He traveled to the north of Greenland on a journey that lasted ten years and wrote about it in his book An African in Greenland. This was back in 1981 which is quite remarkable if you think about it.
Also in this category is Sihle Khumalo. Instead of writing about a barren wasteland outside of the continent, the South African author opted to write about home. His three books Dark Continent My Black Arse (my review), Heart of Africa (my review) and Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu. The books are brilliant and the first is even a bestseller in South Africa with tens of thousands of books being sold.
Noo Saro-Wiwa whose claim to fame was as the daughter of slain poet and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa has decided to enter into this genre and chart new waters with her debut nonfiction book Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria. Her foray ensures that two out of three of the usual dangers associated are banished from our worldview.
The book which is already in French is now available in Italian for those who can only navigate the world in this European language. Of course, if they can only navigate in this language then they won’t be able to read this blog post. If you read both English and Italian then please recommend this book to your Italian-speaking friends. The book in this language is called In cerca di Transwonderland and here is a cover of the book for my Italian amici.