By Nkosinathi Khumalo

When she was 30-years old, Boipelo Tladinyane-Hlubi had reached the end of her tether with her computer systems engineering job.
After a career spanning seven years, she quit her job to fulfil her long-held desire to tour and luxuriate in every country in the rest of Africa.

“I was working for about seven years and had worked for one company since graduating. I just wanted to see Africa and not be in the corporate world. I wanted to do whatever I wanted to do,” she told The Star in a 2018 interview.

In February 2018, three months into married life, Boipelo loaded her bags and set out on her dream journey.

The predictable question came up in the aforementioned interview: how did her husband handle the news of her sojourn into the rest of Africa not long after getting married?

Her response was short and to the point: “We were together for a couple of years before we got married. It wasn’t a surprise because he always knew it was coming and was cool with it.”

Not only was her husband ‘cool’ with her adventure, but also supportive, something that enabled her to travel unhindered.

“My husband compiled hand-written letters from our family members so I could be reminded of their love whenever I updated my journal and also helped fund my trip when the money I had saved was not enough as well as taking care of our household so I felt free,” she told Sandra Lesenyeho of

Our continent is like a book, if you do not traverse it, you have read only one page.
The 2018 expedition was her second after visiting eight countries in eastern Africa in 2016. She took two months off work for her first sojourn.

Her reason for going on an adventure of this kind is one that should inspire a lot of South Africans, who seem to have misgivings about visiting and experiencing the rest of the continent, to unshackle themselves: “The real reason for me was to see other African countries and understand them better and have a taste of what happens there – the culture, what they eat and see the landscape – the similarities and differences.”

As some people appropriately disclose, travelling unfastens your heart of hearts, develops your awareness and fills up your life with stories to tell.
Expressing tales of her experiences criss-crossing the continent, Boipelo asserts she was never ignorant about the continent and the expedition opened her eyes on how people lived in other African countries.

A person of Christian faith, the countries she visited were largely Muslim, and she, “learned a great deal about Islam”.
A major plus for her is that she has, in the main, been positive about African countries. She had not burdened herself with negative perceptions of our vast and marvellous continent.

Boipelo, who mostly used land public transport, excerpt when she had to fly to places like Cape Verde, throughout her excursion, found herself obligated to give reasons for South Africa’s xenophobia and the country’s treatment of fellow Africans.
Despite these uncomfortable engagements, the countries she visited showered her with generous warmth.

“The most common thing with all these countries was the warmth – much more than you’d ever get here in South Africa,” she said.
Her safari had its fair share of unpleasant experiences with which she had to grapple. There was a time when she was about a month into her junket, she had to fly back home for over a week after she fell sick while in Nigeria.

Then, there was another incident in Burkina Faso, where she had to jump off a careering taxi that in next to no time, crashed into a house. Fortunately for her, she did not end up in hospital.
Her journey took her to 54 African countries. While travelling, Boipelo kept a journal with her in which she wrote about her experiences. She also took to social media to share stories of her trip.
This has culminated into a book titled, A Safari Back To Self – Backpacking 54 Countries in Africa.

A Safari Back To Self is a book through which Boipelo wishes to cast off negative perceptions about Africa and inspire readers to be enamouredby the beauty of the rest of the continent such that they will make time to experience it themselves.

Thebe Ikalafeng, a leading African branding and reputation architect, advisor and author, had this to say about A Safari Back To Self: “Having been to every country in the continent, I would assume I could just fly through Boipelo’s African journey with a nod. Not quite. Whether you’ve been to one, many, all or none of the rest of Africa, this is a prime front seat to an authentic journey across the continent. Not a perspective or interpretation. It’s a moment-by-moment breathless and deep journey across the diversity of Africa as lived through one of its own.

“This is a vivid, authentic story and an invitation to take that journey across Africa. There’s no better companion than Boipelo’s story of her journey across the continent.”
You can order the book directly from Boipelo, via email:

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