Sihle Khumalo has travelled the African continent using only public transport. The result is a bestselling book that’s full of colour and adventure. Just after the release of his latest work, Rainbow Nation, My Zulu Arse, he chats to The Citizen about African travel, his love of words and possibly (just maybe) even writing for us.
What inspired you to travel the African continent by public transport?
More than anything else, I wanted to have an authentic experience. I wanted to deal with challenges that an average person in all the countries that I traversed deal with on a daily basis. I was also part of the personal challenge. I wanted to see if I [could] I pull this one off.
Did you expect your first book, ‘Dark Continent, My Black Arse’ to become a bestseller?
That was and still is something different. After all, there are not a lot of travel books by black African writers. The title is catchy. The reviews were great. The content is exceptional. Everything worked in my favour. And it became a bestseller within weeks of being published.
When do you find time to write and travel while working in property development?
The old cliché “wherever there is a will there is way” is true. I had to make it work. I wrote in evenings during the week, as well as during weekends, even if it meant driving to the office on Saturdays and Sundays in order to concentrate on my craft.
Would you consider writing a travel piece for The Citizen?
Is that an offer? Let me sleep on it. For the record, I do get offers to write pieces and it all depends on a number of factors: time availability, proposed fee structure, etc.
Does your latest book, ‘Rainbow Nation, My Zulu Arse’, pay homage to South Africa as a travel destination?
Yes. I wanted to inspire the reader to travel and explore more of this wonderful and beautiful country we call South Africa. Above that, I used the trip to gauge where we are as a nation. Yes, I was essentially investigating the state of the nation.
Why should more of us be exploring Africa?
There is something very addictive about this continent. Once you start exploring Mama Africa, you will be hooked for life. Indeed, there are challenges facing this continent: political instability in other regions, lack of infrastructure, bureaucracy, etc. Notwithstanding all these challenges and more, you will find yourself heading north again and again.
Rainbow Nation, My Zulu Arse
Author: Sihle Khumalo
Released by: Penguin Random House South Africa
An array of many colourful South African personalities forms the backbone of Sihle Khumalo’s Rainbow Nation, My Zulu Arse.
Written after journeying within the borders of South Africa; Khumalo’s tales from his various pit stops range from the puzzling to the downright bizarre. Whether or not he’s baffled, surprised or sometimes plain angry, Khumalo’s new work ultimately pays homage to South Africa as a unique and colourful travel destination.
This book is no clichéd description of beautiful landscapes and blue skies and is instead a brilliantly crafted travel piece that investigates the state of the nation.