Meet Ndumiso Sibanda; ‘The Travelling Man’ who is a prolific African film director and photographer travelling around the African continent shooting breathtaking landscapes, beautiful people and telling the real African story.
Why and when did you decide to travel Africa?
I am Zimbabwean who grew up in South Africa…Cape Town to be exact. I’ve always wanted to see my continent…my father is an African chef and cooks dishes from all over the continent. I’ve tasted many African dishes, met many fellow Africans from many different countries and their beauty always tickled the curiosity in my mind…this was fun at first but not enough as eventually you want to see and experience it for yourself. This is not a short term set of emotions satisfied within minutes of experience but a 15 year itchy curiosity that I’m only just getting to scratch…I’ve flirted with the continent my whole life, from the tattoo I have underneath my sisters initials above my heart of the African continent..to the Zimbabwean bird on my right wrist…not to mention the food I eat….what comes next must be the things I see and the people and places I experience…..I NEED TO KNOW THIS LAND….I want to tell my children stories that are true…well, I guess are true and also have some spices added to them. I want to draw inspiration and add more of Africa to my life. I’d like to have conversations with a bigger heart (travelling Africa stretches your heart) and I’d like to make love with Africa!
What sort of work are you doing on your tour of the continent?
I am a film/TV Director and over the past year I have been commissioned by DHL to source stories and film elements of 45 countries over 10 months as a build up to the Rugby World Cup to be hosted in London. 42 of these countries are in Africa. This project has been a blessing as it allows me to get to know my continent and get to know myself in my continent. Together with a production team, I direct and shoot a 3min video in every African country I go to.
Which is your favourite city on the continent and why?
My favourite city in the continent is Accra. The reason I say Accra is because I connected with people who inspired me creatively and I think I’m a better artistic thinker after having the conversations I had. I think it’s the next “gene pool” of tomorrows great work, which should inspire many other young Africans to travel and see Ghana and its mighty Ghanaians and do the same in other parts of the continent. I haven’t been to its famous Chale Wote Street art festival but I hope to go next year. Though if you were to have asked me my favourite food country I might have said Ethiopia as I love Injera and Tibs with Sheru.
Which countries are you looking forward to visiting?
The countries I looked forward to seeing were:
- Sierra Leone: Sadly I didn’t get to go 🙁
- Ghana: Their art scene is everything!
- Ethiopia: Its history has always been close by…..someone always willing to share what they know about Ethiopia, usually in Religious or Reggae conversations
- Angola: Sadly I didn’t get to go 🙁
- Sudan: I had to dig into knowledge about the Nubian empire
- Mali: The music and the famous Griots…(I had to meet a real griot)
- Rwanda: I’d heard rumours of her beauty and the rumours are true
I’ve been to 36 African countries in 9 months so I can’t count all right now but this list should be much longer 🙂
Describe the most scenic place you’ve seen so far
The Wenchi Crator, which is about 3 hours from Addis Ababa. Its beauty is majestic and if you told me wild unicorns lived there I’d believe you. There is also a part of the earth when your leaving Guinea and entering Bissau by land that you get to see Gods canvas in all its natural green glory…earth is so beautiful that you want to pray and thank the Lord for your life and all its blessings.
What have you learnt along the way?
I’ve learnt not to tollerate ignorance of anykind. I’ve seen just how dangerous it is when manifested. I’ve learnt that everything I need is on this continent from inspiration, to love, to music to spirit. My being is sustained by the fruits of Africa.
Africa is not all about safari’s and wildlife so tell us what we can expect from the people, lifestyle and cultures you’ve experienced.
I hate that impression of Africa that the world jumps at. It’s like the media sedative to Africa’s other story “Poverty and Flies”. What you should expect from Africa is conversation…ideas…pride….a love that makes everything food and non-food feel like a home cooked meal. Everything is here from the super rich to the super poor and the jugglers in-between. It’s a life built on a hustle to take back what’s hers so there is always a strong sense of where you are when you are in the presence of real Africans who love their continent. Experience food, laughter, ideas, love, music…everything African will teach you a new you. And when you’re tired of learning, just relax in its beauty but even then you’re growing. Africa is constant. Oh and yes we have some powerful beasts!