The Journey is our biggest initiative, and our best chance at creating positive change in the rural African communities that need it most.
Commencing at the end of April 2017, Jo will embark on a journey from the southern-most tip of Africa – Cape Agulhas – up the east coast of the continent, to the Ugandan village that started it all: Rubuguri. A total of 7200km is the undertaking. Jo plans to spend 4000km of it on foot, 900km paddling across the length of Lake Malawi, and the remaining 2300km hitching a ride with fellow travellers and locals alike.
The aim of The Journey is to raise awareness, and the all-important funding to aid and establish projects in selected communities Jo encounters along the way. These are the literal “footsteps through Africa”, the idea that was born in Rubuguri to enhance the lives of people living in under-resourced and poverty-afflicted areas of Africa.
The Journey is 100% independently funded to ensure that all donated money goes straight to the cause.
South Africa is, arguably, one of the most diverse country in the world. Not only is it home to four of the world’s five major biomes, it is also the most culturally diverse and is home to some of the Earth’s most incredible wildlife! Truly a magnificent country, it is one of a kind.
The history of Apartheid in South Africa is no secret. A government program that severely discriminated against black people purely because of the colour of their skin. There is a small stretch of land, known as the Transkei, which, during Apartheid, was considered an ‘independent homeland’, set aside for the Xhosa people who were banished from the Cape. It was unfortunately not legally recognised as an independent country by the rest of the world, and due to this, the Transkei could not develop their own economy, or benefit from South Africa’s.
As a result, it could be thought of as ‘no-man’s land’. Since the abolishment of Apartheid in 1992, the Transkei (now known as the Wild Coast) ‘rejoined’ the country’s economy, and has received a lot of attention from the government, but it remains the most undeveloped area of South Africa.
Jo’s aim in South Africa is to offer assistance to individuals in the old Transkei area through the Random Acts of Kindness initiative.
Mozambique must be one of the most beautiful countries in Africa. Endless, untouched beaches, with coconut palms extending as far as the eye can see, while wildlife roams in the western part of the country. In addition, Mozambique is has large coal deposits and mineral wealth in the north, giving the country its own supply of natural resources. However, the level of poverty is critical.
Since independence in 1970, Mozambique has suffered through an almost constant civil, and in the earlier years, international war. The violent outbreaks in this incredibly beautiful country have been extremely detrimental to the people of Mozambique, bringing the beneficial tourism potential to a stand-still. The once-magnificent wildlife population has all but been wiped out in the warfare of the past, and in turn has deprived thousands of people of jobs. Development in Mozambique is constantly challenged due to the poor conditions of the country, bringing the education system to an all time low.
Jo’s aims in Mozambique are to alleviate poverty through providing better education facilities for children living in poverty-stricken areas.
Putting the sheer beauty of this country aside, the people of Malawi are some of the most genuine, welcoming, and honest individuals Jo has had the privilege of meeting. The good nature of Malawians is so important to them, that the white sun on their flag represents “friendliness, peace, and prosperity of Malawians”.
Malawi, like many other African countries, suffered under the dictatorship of their president. Hastings Banda, who was the self proclaimed president of Malawi from 1964-1994, while it was a one-party state. Although he was a very well educated man, Banda’s hunger for power got the better of him. Any person found speaking ill of the president was immediately tortured and killed. It is estimated that around 20 000 people were killed without trial during his reign.
Due to this dictatorship, Malawi’s economy crashed, and is still one of the weakest economies in the world today, depriving the people of basic facilities, such as schooling or even running water (despite the fact that they have one of the biggest water supplies in Africa – Lake Malawi!)
Jo’s aim in Malawi is to alleviate poverty in rural villages as much as possible through community requested projects.
Famous, worldwide, for the island of Zanzibar, the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, the Masai Mara, and the great lakes of the Rift Valley, East Africa is without doubt an extremely special part of the continent. Visitors flock to East Africa each year, stimulating the local economy and aiding in job creation, which is largely relied upon.
However, there are many small villages in rural areas that do not fall into the sphere of tourism in Kenya and Tanzania, and as a result suffer a lack of basic provisions and facilities.
Jo’s aims in East Africa are to visit the neglected and under-resourced villages, offering relief in terms of basic facilities and Random Acts of Kindness.
Uganda has been dubbed “The Pearl of Africa.” Not only is it home to the infamous Big 5, as well as the world’s remaining Great Apes, it also has an impressive list of natural features: Lake Victoria – the largest lake in the world; the Rwenzori Mountains Range – one of the highest in the world; one of the last remaining true rainforests; and Murchison Falls – one of Africa’s most prestigious National Parks. All these things aside, it is said that the reason it has been dubbed The Pearl, is because of the people of Uganda. After spending a year travelling around the country, Jo realised exactly why that may be so. Like Malawi, the Ugandan people capture your heart. After just 1 week in magnificent Uganda, Jo was made to feel right at home, as he was welcomed into the villages like a long lost friend. Tragically, the people of Uganda have been subjected to incredible violence through the dictatorship of so-called leaders, such as Idi Amin.
During Idi Amin’s reign of terror from 1970-1979, over 300 000 innocent Ugandans were brutally murdered, and a once-booming economy was destroyed. Tourists were denied entry into the country, bringing the successful tourism industry to a halt, creating enormous suffering as a result. During another 15 years of dictatorship, Milton Obote and 8 other presidents (all in only 3 years) ran this genocide.
As if their past is not enough, the people of Uganda still suffer today from the indomitable presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) operating in the north of the country. The LRA famously thrives on the abuse of child soldiers.
Jo’s aims in Uganda are to alleviate the long-lasting effects of the horrific dictatorship between 1961 and 1984, which have manifested in immense poverty. Footsteps Through Africa’s goal is to initiate community-requested projects, and to assist with education and rehabilitation of children in the north of the country who are born into lives as child soldiers for the LRA.
Take Your own Footsteps:
This is a chance for fellow passion-seekers, adventurers, and open-minded travellers to join Jo for selected legs of The Journey. Take your own Footsteps Through Africa, contributing to the projects established to assist communities in need.
Please contact us with any enquiries or for further information.
To have a short break from walking (and stay sane), Jo will be running a tour every 3-4 months for the duration of The Journey around some of the countries where Footsteps supports communities.
All profits from these tours will contribute towards the ongoing Footsteps projects and help to further establish Footsteps Through Africa.