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Journo turns herself into a vagabond to chronicle Africa

Lerato Mogoatlhe left her reporter job to travel.
Lerato Mogoatlhe left her reporter job to travel.

Vagabond is a poetic, raw and honest diary of one woman as she explores Africa over five years. Lerato Mogoatlhe says it was actually an unplanned trip to Senegal 11 years ago that kicked off her journey.

And on this particular trip, she had no place to sleep. The former entertainment and lifestyle journalist says she was bored with the local party scene and was seeking new adventures. She was meant to travel only for three months - but it turned into 21 countries five years later.

"I'm tired of pretending to care about people's new albums and TV shows. I honestly don't give a damn who is dressed by whom and I'm over writing about people's lives and dreams coming true," she wrote.

So in her 20s, she lived wandering through Africa on faith and jotted down the numerous sights she experienced.

The book's title triggers the urge to go out and see what Africa has to offer. It's more of a love letter of her discovery of herself, her home and its people that one witnesses through her uncensored curiosity.

With some juicy pockets of romance, occasional one-night stands and losing her passport in one of her favourite places, Egypt, Mogoatlhe bares it all.

Mogoatlhe, who is currently travelling West Africa, says she has always had wanderlust, especially for our continent.

"I believe that Africa must come first in my life, be it food, culture, music, my aesthetic, literature and other important factors that shape identity. When I was eight or nine, I was introduced to ancient Egypt during an English lesson and decided I would explore it," she says.

A plus to the memoir is her well-informed knowledge of African music and artists.

"I knew Africa through music and literature before I knew it through all my senses. I wanted to pay homage to the role music played in my life, in particular the gift of making Africa the centre of what I consume culturally. Because Africa, my home, is generous, kind, welcoming and loving, I could pull off the dream."

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