Lewis Hamilton explains why he visited rural Africa on his journey to self-discovery

Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton recently spent part of the European summer in Africa, taking time away from the sport to delve into his heritage. For Hamilton, the experience was enlightening, with him coming away feeling more in tune and connected with his past.

It was widely assumed that Hamilton would visit South Africa – or at the very least, the Kyalami Circuit that’s been, at the time, earmarked for inclusion on the 2023 F1 calendar. But it didn’t happen, and the champion’s ventures took him to Kenya and Tanzania, among others, after kickstarting his journey in Namibia.

Speaking to F1 journalist Naomi Schiff, Hamilton explains why he did not visit countries like South Africa, but instead shifted his focus to rural communities.

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Lewis Hamilton during his Africa trip this past August

Struggles at discrimination

Hamilton’s struggles with racism and discrimination have been well-documented. From his formative years, the Brit has faced challenges of all kinds and had to prove himself in a white-dominated sport. It was never easy, and he often had to endure harsh critique aimed at the colour of his skin – even in his father’s presence.

Still, he kept focus and battled through the challenges to one day make it into F1, which he did in 2007.

But the Africa trip was about more than just visiting indigenous tribes. It was about him connecting with his roots and experiencing the life his ancestors led.

“Going to Africa this August, for me, was one of the most, if not the most, special experiences,” he said. “Just to tap into a little bit of Africa. I didn’t go into the wealthy parts. I really wanted to get into some of the rawest parts [of the continent] and see how people live with very little.”

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