One of the loveliest afternoons of my life was spent writing proverbs onto pieces of slate beside an idyllic lagoon in southwestern Ghana. You often find you take a little piece of a place with you when you travel – it’s nice every now and again to know you’ve left a little piece of yourself behind.
Tiny babies, chunky toddlers – it’s a continent-wide scenario. How many babies have grown into toddlerhood across Africa, seeing the world pass by on its side?
Mystery meat stalls are such an intrinsic part of travelling that it only seemed right to ask for a photograph of Thomas, with his corrugated aluminium kebab stall under the shade of the looming baobabs – and he was happy to oblige.
In a small corner of Ghana’s Upper East Region, the buildings themselves tell stories. Faint patterns emerge on the adobe walls of the compounds and granaries and huts. Smudges of red ochre, ebony and ashy white flake from the baked mud, becoming richer and more visible the further north we travel.
Chief Zotentaar-Suhbazaa of Tengzuk sits beneath a vast baobab, squinting at us through his orange-tinted aviators. He is an extraordinarily powerful and respected man, as his entourage and his ceremonial walking stick suggest, and so, presumably, does the neon-streaked beach towel he has draped casually around his neck.
Bo-Kaap provides a colourful contrast to Cape Town’s black and white nature – in more ways than one. Its buildings are painted every colour under the bright African sun, seducing photographers with its rainbow palette. And its Cape Malay residents are a blend of yet more ethnicities, a culture as colourful as its streets.
A tour of a Nambian township is a start reminder of what Nelson Mandela – who is 95 today – has achieved. Apartheid literally means ‘apartness,’ ‘the state of being apart,’ and to be confronted by the physical reality of this was incredibly shocking.