5 Reasons why I am one of the greatest fans of Zolati Othmane and why his story matters especially for Africans:
1 His Smile and Energy
A candle that never stops burning. I remember the night when I saw him last. I was just finishing my late-night bucket shower outside my car somewhere near the border of Mali and Senegal, when he suddenly ran past me with that never fading grin on his face. No matter how hard the day has been: the hours on the middle seat of a lorry driving through the heat, eat meager or nothing due to his non-existing budget and an all-night argument with Malian immigration officers that suspected him of being an Islamist wanting to join the rebels. The enthusiasm he portrays on his Instagram is as real as the fact that he started travelling with less than a hundred Dollars.
“Faux bien economiser!” A phrase that I had to listen more than a few times. This kid literally started with nothing and if he had something it was, let’s says a few sardines, egg or bread. He would just eat enough to get by. And if there was nothing he wouldn’t eat till somewhere someone would give him some chop or any kind of work that would pay him a meal. A humbleness and sacrifice I adore ESPECIALLY due to the fact that he doesn’t travel just because it’s cool to do so, but because for him, it is the only possible way.
See, feel, taste, ask, try … whatever. Zolati seems addicted to a constant input and never stops asking and wondering. Something he does, staying in a rural village or the city; with the very rich or the poor discovering the cultural diversity and beauty of a continent many are not aware of. A revelation he constantly spreads throughout his growing fan base.
4 Passion for Writing and Photography
How good were the days Zolati when we were just sitting in front of my car somewhere in Senegal with no smartphones, no Internet, no Instagram. You were writing your diary on paper – gosh I hope you still do – and I was writing mine on my old laptop. I know things got more professional and I am happy for you, but I remember till to day some of the picture you took with your little pocket camera, one in particular, which were absolutely stunning. Money can’t buy passion and creativity!
Zolati chases his own dream like nobody else and this is where it becomes important. Travelling through Africa you come to realize that many people dream. They dream a lot. They dream of Europe and the States, they dream of going North or going West. Zolati however, did the opposite he travelled South. He travelled where many of his fellow Africans don’t see any good or hope. He travelled crossing borders. Borders of prejudice that Europeans, but also, if not especially Africans, have. He found happiness and opportunity, greatness and love in a place many people gave up on, a place so rich so beautiful – Mama Africa!
After Zolati stopped over for almost a year in Ivory Coast, where he found a decent Job and enough money to get a better camera, a bike and pay for the Visa’s ahead. He is back on the Road living his dream of crossing Africa as an African!
Follow Zolati Othamne on: www.zolatrip.com or facebook @zolati.othmane