The story of Kate Leeming’s astonishing 22,000-kilometre trek by bicycle across Africa – dodging rebels, insurgents and Somali pirates and exotic and dangerous wildlife while battling extreme conditions from desert to jungled terrain on non-existent roads and faint tracks, is more than a story of mental grit and physical endurance.
It is a fascinating exploration of African history: of powerful kings and for gotten empires; of sophisticated learned civilisations and intricate spiritual beliefs and traditions; of unimaginable exploitation of human life and the environment; of brutal politics and endemic corruption.
Through it all, the enduring spirit of the often-misnamed ‘Dark Continent’ shines brightly. Kate’s path is blessed with the smiles, the songs and dance and abounding kindness of people whose character remains uncrushed by the injustice of poverty.
It is a story of sacrifice and dogged determination by a passionate band of African and international organisations to shape a new history. Kate investigates initiatives that give a ‘leg up’ rather than a ‘hand out’, outlining their vision and the achievements already made to improve health and education, build sustainable agriculture and industry and provide dignified employment and opportunity.
Above all, it is a story of hope.
Kate’s ride – an Official Activity for the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Development (2005-2014), is a life-changing journey through an often spectacular physical landscape strewn with the constant reminders of conflicts past and present, but also seeded with vibrant potential for the future.
Njinga is a Zambian word for bicycle. It is also the name of a strong, courageous, compassionate queen, who led a four-decade resistance against Portuguese colonists.
Njinga, the story of Kate Leeming’s journey, continuously reveals the truth of Africa and its diverse people and cultures. It is a perspective that could only be gained on a bicycle, by an explorer who has cycled the equivalent of twice around the world at the Equator.