Reader & Media Reviews:
UBUNTU: One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa
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Ubuntu book review by Paddy Tyson
If the essence of a good travel book is one that informs and enthrals, engages and excites – though not melodramatically – and is written by an author who is honest and personal, yet not self-obsessed, then I’ve just read one of the best offerings of 2016.
Read more at .... http://overlandmag.com/features/ubuntu-by-heather-ellis/
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Ubuntu is a story that goes way beyond one woman motorcycling through Africa. It's a detailed and descriptive account of Heather's travels through the beautiful but dangerous landscape of one continent, and it will surely inspire the beginner or awaken the adventurer in the most experienced motorcyclist. She makes it possible to believe that anyone can do it. Beautifully written and a pleasure to read. Heather's enthusiasm for Africa, her motorcycle and the journey itself is very infectious. Mary Dobie, AMCN (Australian Motorcycle News - July 2016)
Heather Ellis is the newest entrant to the field (of motorcycle travel writing), with Ubuntu, her story of a ride across Africa. She's young, blonde and alone on her Yamaha TT600 - what could possibly go wrong? Read it and you'll find out, but it's not exactly as you'd imagine. Grant Roff, AMCN Australian Motorcycle News - April 2016)
I did Facebook you in reference to your book Ubuntu. I literally just finished it at 8:43am Monday 20th March 2017 and can say it was fantastic! I couldn't put it down.Looking forward to second book. Paul Chidgey
My wife Nicky read Ubuntu last year and gave the book to me for Christmas, without telling me anything about it. She knew I would like it. I didn’t get to read it till a few weeks ago, but wished I'd started it much earlier as I loved the whole thing and was very sad when it was ended. You really took me with you on that journey. John (and Nicky) Petheram
I have just reached the end of Ubuntu after buying it at the Adventure Traveil Film Festival in Bright. Bravo! Bravo for your journey , your book and your life thus far. The last five pages gripped me , albeit in a different fashion , as did the other 363. Bring on book number two! And the rest of your wonderful life! Rob Upstill
A moment ago I finished reading Ubuntu and felt compelled to contact you to say what a ride, and what a write. I couldn’t put your book down and I’m blown away by your courage in every respect and the magnitude of your journey. I’m someone who grew up in South Africa and I just love that the way you related to people helped ubuntu to flourish.The combination of great writing and great travel makes for such a deeply satisfying read. Fiona Preston
Heather, your story and the way you tell it is awesome and humbling. Not many of us have the courage to act on our dreams. I am a South African living in Western Australia. I grew up in rural South Africa in game parks and spent much of my youth with the local Zulu people, learning to speak their language before I could speak English. I have travelled and worked in much of Southern Africa. I guess my point is that I know and understand ubuntu and the way the people of Africa share this common understanding of oneness. It is something I miss very much.
Your journey must have been epic and to do it by yourself on a TT, RESPECT!! I was delighted to read on your Facebook page that you still have the TT. Some things you can never let go.Thank you for sharing your story with us in such an intimate way. I experienced so many different emotions reading your story and felt a little gutted when the journey suddenly ended. I look forward to your second book, can we preorder a copy?
Bless you Heather Ellis, you have awoken the spirit of Ubuntu in me and I feel the pull of Africa more now than ever. Time to go home?
Indlela iyaziwa abayihambile - The road is known by those who have travelled it.
I have just finished your fantastic journey across Africa. I really admire you for what you achieved. John Campbell
A quick note to say that I am excited that your book has been published. When I started planning my overland travels, the internet was very young and your website, along with the excerpt on your 'yet to be published' book was an inspiration. I seem to recall that you were looking for a publisher back then. There were not many 'overland' websites available - one dutch guy (I seem to think his name was Arold) and two Land Rover trips (a Derek and a Derick). Finding inspiration meant hearing from other travelers and talking to people, rather than anonymously browsing blogs! Decades later its awesome to see your book published. I look forward to reading it. Your interview with The Overlanding Podcast was good - thanks for taking the time to share the stories. Cheers Martin Solms
Hi Heather, I have just finished reading your wonderful, amazing and inspiring book.
I'm not sure where to start except to say I loved it and your writing has touched me, not only for the love of touring on a motorcycle, but also for the all the reasons others have been in awe of you.
Your courage, honesty and your faith. Yours is an epic adventure. Adam Briscomb
I bought your book at the Melbourne Motorcycle Expo. What a buzz. Couldn't put it down. You're a great inspiration. I've asked my wife to read it as she is about to get her bike licence after being a passenger for years and she may understand why I love adventure. Thanks for the book. Look after yourself. Glenn Ollerenshaw
Just finished your book. It was awesome! Thanks. Lovely to meet you in Melbourne and, hopefully, see you for a WARA ride sometime soon. Jodie Sturgess
Just finished reading your book. Thanks for the page turning, can't put it down, rollicking ride! Andrew Kay
I met you for a second at the recent Spaghetti Rally. I bought the last copy of Ubuntu you had and you kindly signed it. It was an opportune purchase as I’m a light sleeper and I rode back to Sydney with a bunch of blokes who snored like thunder. I gave up trying to sleep through the racket, and was happy to have Ubuntu handy so I could get lost in your journey. What a wonderful book and what a brave woman you are. Your warm open heart and honesty shone through every page and I was totally engrossed. I’d worked and travelled quite a bit in South Africa and Namibia, but always with a pocketful of money and never quite getting over my fears of the unknown. There are always so many horror stories about travel in Africa being spread around and far too few that expose the warmth and humanity of the continent. Thanks again for an inspiring journey. I hope my daughter reads Ubuntu when she’s ready to head off into the wide world. Best wishes and happy trails. Laurie Faen
Have just finished your remarkable book. A true adventure and insightful look at your passions and dreams. Not many dare to dream this big let alone undertake a much smaller challenge. Enjoyed the ride on your TT as I felt I was a pillion the entire journey. John White
I have just finished reading Ubuntu. Great. I loved it. In my younger days I lived in South Africa (before emigrating to Sydney in 1977) and also rode a motorbike but never did anything as adventurous as your trip. Emotionally, however, I was riding alongside you the whole way. Africa is an amazing country. I miss its pulse and adrenalin surges. What an experience! I must admit though, my heart was often in my mouth worrying about what might happen to you in some of those corrupt and potentially dangerous situations in which you often found yourself. I’m glad you’re back safely in Australia and that your health is good. I look forward to reading your follow-up book. Any idea when it will be available? Richard Pannell
You don't know me from Adam, Heather, but I've just finished reading Ubuntu and read it in three sittings. Haven't enjoyed a book so much in such a long time.
I bought the latest edition of Just Bikes on Monday and saw your book advertised there. Dymocks did some business with me on Tuesday and it's been read by Friday!! Anyway Heather, you are an absolute inspiration with your entire wherewithal. Obviously Just Bikes wasn't being read for no reason, but instead of coming out of the magazine with a prospective new "baby", I came out captivated by a single word..."Ubuntu". It takes something significant to upstage a magazine full of beautiful motorbikes, but your publication with it's intriguing title did it for me. Michael Smith
Heather, I've just finished reading your marvellous book Ubuntu, about your fantastic adventure riding across Africa. It was brilliant, and one I would describe as 'unputdownable'. I've just come back home after a 12-day ride in USA on a Harley, which was spectacular, but I had the comforts of home, motel rooms, hot food, showers etc. Your journey was far more risky. I had 17 mates riding with me, and another in a van following. You did it almost alone, roughing it in the most desolate places you could find with no support to speak of, making friends along the way. Your determination to go on, when the wildness of Africa piled against you, is fantastic and inspirational. You have my admiration, as a fellow cyclist, and as a human being. You surely have found ubuntu. Peter Lunney
Two weeks since I finished your book, your ability to tell a story is undeniable, letting the reader inside your head is brilliant and making me think outside of my comfortable existence a gift few writers have, looking forward to the next book. David Lockyer
A really good book telling the story of a gutsy Aussie woman in her twenties on a motorbike through some of the most dangerous parts of Africa on her own in the 1990s. Engrossing. The real life story of an adventurous personality, told with unusual honesty - her fears and her evolving spiritual awareness in the face of them. Jim Pletch
I'm about to start Chapter 14 of Ubuntu. My daughter bought me the book and I'm so glad she did. A fantastic read so far and it's one of those books that I just don't want to end! You certainly had an amazing and very memorable journey. A true adventure in every sense and a terrific achievement and one you can be justifiably proud of. Keep up the good work...and I hope you have lots more adventures... John Morrison
A couple of weeks ago I finished your book which I really enjoyed. You should be so proud of yourself – not only for making it through Africa like you did but also writing the book and facing your ongoing challenges. What a woman! I was continually impressed! Cindy McLeish MP, State Member for Eildon.
I am loving your book. As you so modestly said on radio, 'It's a page turner'. Bob Burgess, Back Chat, Yarra Valley FM
I not a big reader at all. But I could not put this book down. I loved it. Was disappointed when I finished it. Can't wait for you to do the next book. Thank you for a fantastic read :) Maxine Davis
Just finished reading Ubuntu....sitting here in tears and just want to say thank you for sharing your amazing journey with the rest of the world! Peace and love to you Heather xxx Kaz Fraser
I have just finished your marvelous book and wished I hadn't. I was pillion all the way! An amazing journey and can't wait for the story of the next stage in 2018. I am thinking it will be as tough or tougher than the Africa leg.
I have read many books on world motorcycle travel and I am a decades long motorcyclist with many long rides in Oz and overseas, however nothing as difficult as your ride.
I am so pleased that you have recovered from that awful illness and how good it is to see your involvement in the AIDS health programs and motorcycle safety.
Keep well, good health and safe riding. David Jobson
I met Heather through work back in 2005 so was very excited to hear she had finished her book and got it published. Although I had heard her talk about her solo trip across Africa on a motorbike, it was only on reading the book that I came to appreciate what an incredibly courageous and extraordinary feat it was. From page one I was totally gripped, travelling with her every inch of the way through dust storms, heat, rain, mud, a fair few plates of greasy meat and rice, and more. Early on in the journey she decides to trust rather than fear and lets herself be guided from place to place and person to person. Somehow things always work out seemingly against all the odds. That’s because she allows herself to be guided and protected by the spirit of Ubuntu, a Bantu word describing the universal bond that connects us all, irrespective of colour, creed or race. Her book is a terrific adventure and, at a time when the world is so divided and conflicted, restores your faith in humanity. Charlotte Francis
I just finished Ubuntu - it is a simply amazing book! You need to buy and read this. Tams O'Sullivan
Amongst the many motorcycle traveller's books I have been reading over the years -- of which regrettably only a few have really inspired me, in fact - Ubuntu is an outstanding book to me. Having travelled Southern Africa by motorbike myself for many months, it has been very exciting to read about the universe of Heather's travelling experience. She has not only achieved to put on paper her story (many have the desire but only a few actually do it!) but managed to carve out in a well-written style her personal perspective within this journey and link it to the African 'theme' of Ubuntu, the 'humanity towards others'- factor which has a decisive meaning for travellers as vulnerable as motorcyclists. So go get it. It's definitly worth it! Matthias Kuhlmann, Germany
I have just finished reading your wonderful book. Reading of your adventures, your courage in the face of adversity, and your very special spirituality has given me encouragement to embrace life, with all its difficulties and its joys, and to nurture the spirit of Ubuntu in my own little part of the world. Thank you for writing it "warts and all". I can't wait for the sequel! Julie Laurie.
5 am....Night shift. Just finished the book Heather, brilliant, simply brilliant. Mark Pearce.
I have read your book with total fascination. The superlatives just roll. What an amazing story! You are still here to relate it! What an incredible journey (sorry that’s not original).I feel truly privileged to have met the author. My knowledge of the places you visited has many gaps but the enormous range of locations, people and personal experiences seems to me to be unmatched by anyone I have known. What is truly inspirational is the way you demonstrate the power of belief, despite the countless hurdles, the numerous threatening situations, the continual venture into the unknown and even when it comes to your own health. I sincerely hope that the book is selling well and the film rights are under discussion. David Hawker
Your a very special person Heather Ellis and I am so glad to have the opportunity to read "Ubuntu". Skoota Hamilton
Wow! Just finished your book, which I read in two sittings. Really enjoyed it Heather. I'd been admiring your honesty while reading the story, but with your afterword you have my genuine respect. It was very powerful. Thank you for sharing your journey. Julie Parker
I ordered the book last week and it arrived yesterday. Have loved it from page 1 and wish I could just stop and read the whole thing from beginning to end...life is getting in the way!! Wendy Moorcroft
I am writing to you from Johannesburg, South Africa. I was randomely surfing the net and I came across your interview podcast from Joy radio station, I mean how random was that even though I do not believe in coincidents! I just wanted to say Thank You for the inspiration and the bravery you have displayed in travelling alone in my beautiful Africa. I grew up on Ubuntu, my very being is ingrained in the concept and the philosophy of UBUNTU. I am now inspired to walk my own Ubuntu journey. I wish you well with your book and I can't wait to read it. Mamosebetsi Kekae
I just finished reading your book this afternoon. What a story you have weaved. Your story is informative and detailed whilst all throughout conveying sincerity and honesty. Ubuntu certainly worked for you. I look forward to the sequel. Well done and best wishes. Glenn Sturley
I just finished reading your book Ubuntu. I absolutely loved it and couldn't put it down. I am new to motorcycle/scooter riding and went on my first trip on my Vespa to Tasmania this last Christmas, I thought I was adventurous and it seems like nothing now after reading your book. :)) but you have inspired me to do more and see more, travelling by bike is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture and environment and you reminded me of all that. You also reminded me of the need for kindness in the world and "paying it forward" philosophy. Which is so important. I have always loved travel and think your trip and spiritual journey was fascinating and inspirational.Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope to meet you at a book signing or presentation in the future. Denise Castro
I am really enjoying the book. It is just so well written and easy to read. I knew a lot of your adventures, but reading it step by step just blows my mind at what you achieved, also glad you made it back in one piece. About 1/3 of the way through now. Linda Bassett.
I am about 2 thirds through Heather's book. I am thoroughly enjoying it. You have taken on a journey that I would never even consider doing. One day, I would love to catch up with you just to shake your hand. Noel Wiltshire
I just want to thank you for sharing your wonderful and personal journey with me through Ubuntu, it was inspirational. I am a 59 year old lifetime bike rider and through your words felt I was on the journey with you. I am sorry to have missed meeting you on the 17th at the Collingwood launch.
I look forward to your next book.
Regards Trevor Jennings
I just finished your book last night. To be precise I finished it around 2am this morning as I just couldn’t put it down. Amazing journey amazing story and amazing book. Jude Bell
Just finished your book. Loved it. I was with you through every pot hole, police check and sand dune. Ma Roach passed away a couple of years ago I believe. The guy in Kisangani with the Aussie acent would have been Ugene he's now in Tanzania and you were so lucky to get the river boat. I did that route through Zaire four times and never saw it!! Would love a bowl of beans from a mama at a pot hole!! Look forward to the next book. Jeff Lemon
Heathers book is well worth the read. I read up to chapter 7 this morning in bed and didnt want to put it down. I'm supposed to be keeping it for the hospital shifts, dont think it will last me till then. A great story so far. I'd forgot how much I love reading, especially a good book . Caroline Perrie
I recently finished reading Ubuntu and enjoyed every page - looking forward to Part 2 :) Sue McLean
Your book Ubuntu is very well written. The prose itself is adventurous, the lines have the energy of a motorcycle working its away forward through a richly varied terrain. Peter Davis
I started reading your book on the weekend and I am over halfway through. I am so enjoying it!!
Also, I am thirsty for a Primus beer. I had to stop and look at my photos from Belgium last summer and realise yes, THAT was the delicious beer I had in Brussels. Love the Primus! Carmen Siegars
I just finished reading your book - Ubuntu - and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has re-stirred my interest in adventure motorcycling. I am also interested in human origins and would love to feel the vibe of the land in Africa and visit places where there is evidence of our ancestors. Craig Dodson
I just thought I'd let you know that I ordered your book from Booktopia on Wed and it has already arrived in the mail today. I'm very impressed with the fast delivery. I have already read 'It started with a kick' and I'm totally enthralled, I won't be able to put it down I'm sure. Angie Macmillan
I love the book. Can't wait for the second instalment and think the way you've positioned the universal themes, outstanding. They project a humane and humanist world view. Daniel Brace
Just received a copy of my friend Heather Ellis 's book Ubuntu...One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa.. and now my Sunday as I knew it has been lost in the universal bond that connects humanity... Get it..read it..learn from it...you dont have to be into motorcycles or even Africa to grow from its words...cant wait for the sequel. Love you my friend. Karen Forman
So inspiring Heather! I am only half way thru ur book and am loving it! Thank u x Kaz Fraser
I met the wonderful Heather Ellis earlier this year.Through her book 'Ubuntu', Heather details her 15 month solo motorcycle ride through Africa. Heather's compelling story is yet another glimpse into the beautiful side of humanity and the kindness she received from people living in a grossly misunderstood corner of the world. Jeremy Scott
A delight to attend Heather Ellis's book launch of 'Ubuntu' in Melbourne on Sunday. Heather was a fin de siècle journalism student of mine at James Cook University, Cairns, and awed everyone with her quiet tales of travelling across Africa solo by motorbike during the nineties. Heather, you are the spirit of 'ubuntu'. James Norgate
A great day was had today at the book launch of "Ubuntu - One Woman's Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa". Considering I'm not a reader of books, congratulations Heather Ellis ! I've knocked out the first 40 pages and LOVE IT !!
Do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy of Ubuntu. You won't regret it !! Jon Penrose