In the winter of 2009/10 we hitchhiked around Africa, talking to people we met along the way. We asked them about their problems, fears, hopes and dreams, trying to find out what they thought about life, the universe and everything. We carefully recorded their answers. It is this book. It took us seven years to complete it. The proceeds from the sales of the Serbo-Croatian edition were donated for the schooling of several primary and high school children in Kenya, through two organizations: Osiligi, and Hatua. As raw material for BANTUSTAN came from Africa, we saw it fitting to give something back.
While writing the book, we drew on our experience of growing up in Yugoslavia before, during and after its breakup; we had watched a complex multi-ethnic country sink into violence fueled by identity politics, resulting in the creation of multiple nation-states, devastated, impoverished and locked in permanent cold wars. Throughout our journey, we repeatedly encountered eerily familiar social and political narratives – the invisible machinery for shredding the world into bantustans.
On the surface, BANTUSTAN is composed as a travel journal, an exciting story about traveling in Africa. It takes place in nine African countries – Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, DR Congo, Zambia and Namibia – and three Middle Eastern countries – Turkey, Syria and Jordan. However, the book does not purport to “explain” Africa in any way, and Bantustan in the title does not refer to Africa; it is a symbol of isolation, of our inability to reach out and understand each other. Essentially, BANTUSTAN is a book about contact – or lack thereof. Contact with ourselves, with others, with the whole wide world that lies beyond all the bantustans that entrap and enslave us. Is such contact even possible? Can we ever hope to understand each other? Can we understand ourselves?
Lazar Pascanovic was born in 1981. In early 2005 he founded The Travel Club, an online community of travelers, explorers and creators. Apart from Bantustan (2015), he has co-authored, edited and published two collections of travel prose. His latest book, the novel SPAM, was published in late 2020.
Uros Krcadinac (b. 1984) is a Belgrade-based digital artist, technologist, writer, map maker, and educator. His transdisciplinary work has been shown at festivals and conferences in Europe, North America, and China. He currently works as an assistant professor and associate at two universities in Belgrade. His work can be found at: krcadinac.com.
Marko Djedovic is a self-employed software developer. As a member of The Travel Club, he helped to organize several free residency programs for travelers and travel-writers across Europe. Born in 1983, he recently settled in Barcelona with his family.
The Travel Club is a non-profit. All our projects are crowdfunded and carried out through volunteering; any money that comes our way is donated to charity or reinvested into the Club.
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