On April 13th 2005, Niamh O Riordan and Malachy Harty set off on an incredible African journey from Cairo to Cape Town. In eight months, they travelled just under 8,000 miles, all of it overland, all of it by public transport, returning from Africa on December 22nd 2005 in time to celebrate Christmas.
The pair had decided to create the All About Africa project because they wanted to find out how Ireland was playing its part in achieving the UN’s plan to tackle poverty, the Millennium Development Goals Project. The pair had a love of travel, photography and writing and they wanted to know more about Africa so they decided to find out by going to Africa and spending eight months on the ground, travelling overland from Cairo to Cape Town and visiting various Aid projects. Their mission was (relatively) simple: “to generate interest in and awareness of Africa among second level students and the public domain through a series of sponsored projects inspired by a personally undertaken, overland trip from Cork to Cape Town and to simultaneously raise awareness of ongoing Irish Aid Projects in Africa.” With the help of many kind hearted and generous people who helped sponsor them, the pair set off on the trip of a lifetime.
Before they left, the pair created a website, AllAboutAfrica, which would be used to document their trip. They also visited local schools in East Cork asking that students follow their adventure online and keep in touch using the website’s blog. The local community were tremendously supportive of the pair, with many local people and businesses generously sponsoring their project. While they travelled, the pair sent back weekly dispatches about their trip. These were published in a local newspaper, the Imokilly People, every week for almost a year. When they returned to Ireland, they organised public lectures and photo exhibitions in the hope of sharing a side of Africa that isn’t often seen here at home. They also went back to local schools in Easy Cork to share their stories with students.