In 2017, Zimbabwean Journalist, Leonard Makombe alleged that white tourists refused to share a pool with him In Uganda, because he's black.

These are the kinds of stories you hear from people who are familiar with travelling within Africa — discrimination based on race and class, performed over-zealousness when it comes to dealing with non-black foreigners or clashes due to the entitlement of non-African tourists who feel entitled to special treatment.

Leonard Makombe swimming alone in Uganda [Twitter/AfricaFactsZone]
Leonard Makombe swimming alone in Uganda [Twitter/AfricaFactsZone]

Last year, I wrote on the reasons why Africans are so disinterested in exploring Africa and many issues that came up pointed to the perception that it's easier for Westerners to travel Africa than Africans themselves. This is the discrimination in question.

This discrimination, especially racial, doesn't have to end with racial slurs being thrown around. Sometimes, it's systemic, and many times, it's done by Africans, themselves, to Africans.

Travel blogger, Lee Litumbe highlights examples of systemic discrimination: "From passport limitations — why is it easier for someone traveling with an American, European, or Australian passport to travel within Africa than say a Cameroonian? — to the financial barriers — most costs for leisure experiences are in USD or Euros, making it almost impossible for some locals to afford travel in their own home countries."

White tourist with locals [Al Jazeera]
White tourist with locals [Al Jazeera]

As an African, depending on the passport power of your country, you might spend weeks processing a visa and proving to the embassies that you are worthy of their country, just to be able to travel to another African country. This is in heavy contrast to people with Western passports who find it easy to travel from African country to African country without much hassle because of visa-free and visa-on-entry policies.

Let's not forget costs of travel. This was one of the many reasons Africans listed for their disinterest in exploring Africa.

Twitter user, @TounBash, gave high flight costs as her reason: "I wanted to go to cote d’ivore last week, checked wakanow , the cheapest flight was 380k. Lagos to New York is 360k."

An average Nigerian, for example, will prefer to spend his/her hard coins on travelling to Dubai or another accessible country outside the continent than on going to another African country.

The high costs could be attributed to a number of reasons — one being that many businesses in the hospitality industry would prefer to charge in American Dollars or other foreign currencies.

From this, I can deduce that African tourism places priority on attracting non-African tourists.

Racially-charged discrimination

The neo-colonialist notion of white or non-black supremacy exists in the minds of many Africans, not only within the African tourism industry. Besides, it's the locals that make up a large percentage of local tourism.

Tourist with locals [Csovineeinghana]
Tourist with locals [Csovineeinghana]

According to Litumbe, you see it "when a black/African person enters a restaurant, hotel, store, etc that mostly caters to non Africans and is questioned why they are occupying that space as opposed to servicing them. Or when Africans give Africans terrible customer service but rush to cater to a non black person."

You also notice it when a non-African tourist decides to exercise his/her "privilege" by expecting to be treated specially.

In my opinion, this complex issue paves way for the myriad of systemic forms of racial prejudice that have been highlighted earlier.

The propensity to discriminate could be so internalised that it could be easily over-looked, but, check yourself, especially if you're an active actor in African tourism.