A Ugandan, Jessica Nabongo has officially become the first black woman to have visited every single country in the world. Nabongo, a Ugandan-American arrived in Seychelles on Sunday. This would be the last of her 195 country voyage. It is believed that over 50 friends and family members traveled with her to the East African archipelago to mark the historic event.
According to Okay Africa, Nabongo has been traveling since the age of 6. “Though she was born in the US, her parents are Ugandan and she’s used both passports to travel the world. What’s most remarkable is the frequency with which she’s done so,” they stated. It is further reported that Nabongo made the decision to attempt the global feat in 2017. At the time she had only traveled to 60 countries– meaning she’s traveled to 135 countries in just 2-and-a-half years, an average of just under 7 days per country.
Africa News tells of how Nabongo’s journey across the world has not been without awesome experiences on the African continent, from visiting her family in Uganda to experiencing unexpected kindness in South Africa, and a trip in Mali that started out as terrible and ended up being a fantastic experience.
Writing on her Instagram, Nabongo said: “So much to say but for now I will just say thank you to this entire community for all of your support. This was our journey and thanks to all of you who came along for the ride! I began my journey to every country in the world because I am a geography nerd, curious about other cultures, and want to show the world through a lens that we rarely view it from—that of a black woman.”
She raised money through fundraising and sponsorships and also used her accumulated miles to travel. Asked why she chose to travel, Nabongo said that she wanted to alter the global narrative and perception surrounding a lot of destinations–particularly in Africa–and highlight “that many countries are dangerous, that people are miserable, that you cannot have nice, luxury, vacations on the continent.”
Speaking to Forbes, Nabongo confirms how hard it is to travel with an African passport. Even in countries where Ugandans are meant to have visa-free travel, Nabongo ran into problems in immigration. “A lot of people don’t think of Africans as a consumer, they just think charity or baby,” says Nabongo. “I want immigration to see, ‘hey Ugandans are tourists [too].”