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Soweto, South Africa. Photo courtesy of Jessica Nabongo

Uganda’s Jessica Nabongo Is the First Black Woman to Visit Every Country in the World

Jessica Nabongo is a true, record-setting globe trotter.

Cue the parade, it's finally happened. Jessica Nabongo has officially become the first black woman to have visited every single country in the world. The Ugandan-American touched down in Seychelles on Sunday—the last to be visited on the long list of 195 countries. Over 50 friends and family members traveled with her to the East African archipelago to mark the historic event.


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. As Africa News reports, Nabongo made the decision to attempt the global feat in 2017. At the time she had only traveled to 60 countries–-meaning she's travelled to 135 countries in just 2-and-a-half years, an average of just under 7 days per country.

Nabongo was chosen as one of our 100 Women of 2019, a list of impressive and impactful women from the continent and across the diaspora. When we interviewed her for the list, she told us the motivation behind her traveling:

"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 also elaborated on her desire to alter the global narrative and perception surrounding of 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."

If Nabongo inspires you to get off your couch, grab your passport, pick a destination and just go–she's already made ways to help you out. Check out this article she penned for OkayAfrica about her tips for first-time solo travelers. Keep up with her journey and catch her if you can via her Instagram.

Music

Interview: Ranks ATM Makes ‘Substance Music’

South African hip-hop artist Ranks ATM on his latest EP 'Substance Music', working with Riky Rick and his crew African Trap Movement's new chapter.

Ranks ATM demands to be taken seriously. With every successive release, listeners are bound to pick up on both his personal and artistic growth. His latest EP, Substance Music, released towards the end of 2020, is an honest body of work that sees the artist divulge some aspects of his life while remaining playful and entertaining.

Young2unn, who produced a majority of the project, gave Ranks ATM beats that primarily consist of keys and strings cushioned by atmospheric pads and ethereal vocal samples panned for effect. The music is soulful enough for Ranks to tell his story and gritty enough to maintain his street aesthetic.

On Substance Music, the artist strikes the balance between playful banter and poignant expression of emotions. It's what makes his raps believable in general—he presents himself as a complete human who feels pain at times but also feels himself. Songs such as "Die For Me" and "How Could It Be" are laced with specific details that could have only been extracted from his life experiences, for instance, on the former, he raps, "You cheated on me with a gym freak, you did me dirty."

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