Mukhatshelwa (Katchie) Nzama is the type of young South African who will bring a spurt of jealousy to most hearts. She is 27 years old with a dream to travel to 50 African countries before she is 30 —and currently has 15 under her belt. She is also the first African woman to backpack Cape to Cairo solo using public transport to highlight intra-African travel. Her journey showcased the generosity of the Africans who hosted her, the best of African music festivals and breathtaking sunsets and destinations.
“I grew up in a family of travellers; it has always been a part of our lives and my grandparents never imagined that through travel we would all love it so much, and that we would mostly end up in the industry,” says Nzama. “Tourism is exciting: every day I look forward to a new adventure. People ask me how I do it, and I tell them that I turned my passion into my career.”
“There is a famous lady who has inspired me. She’s not famous to the world but she’s famous to me,” says Nzama. “People know her as Livhuwani Nzama; I call her mommy. She’s fantastic, a true superhero without a cape, my cheerleader and best friend. She’s also a real bookworm, something I didn’t inherit from her. I always thought of my mom as the enabler of my craziness.”
Social media has allowed her to travel the continent, and is how she has connected with locals in different countries. It is how they follow her travels and why she has been welcomed into villages and homes with open hearts and hearths.
“The future is about sharing more and marketing African destinations to Africans, and to promote intra-African travel and show the world that Africa is not a dark continent,” says Nzama. “I am working on building my platforms to educate Africans and show that intolerance is not necessary. No African will ever be a foreigner on African land. I have also started my own movement, the #50Before30, which is basically all about traveling 50 African countries before I’m 30. The blog Travel with Katchie began to share Africa with Africans, and found a way to share Africa through the eyes and voices of Africans.” — Tamsin Oxford
Photo: Justin Lee