If you haven’t been to Africa, this is your sign to go. My first time visiting the continent of Africa also happened to be my first time working on the continent of Africa. I worked there for a little over a month and did minimal research before I went. I was very well aware of the picture that America has painted of Africa since I was a child, so I wanted to go there without any additional preconceived notions, and I’m glad I did.
I learned so much, saw so much, and unlearned even more. Africa is so rich in culture, views, and traditions. In talking to the citizens there, it is clear that their love for the U.S. runs deep. I am so thankful to have experienced Africa first-hand and that so many of my previous understandings were debunked and replaced with new, more accurate depictions.
Most people who’ve visited the motherland will talk highly about Ghana, Kenya, and Liberia (as they should). But Cape Town, South Africa, should be held to the same standard. From the food, the views, the activities, and most importantly, its citizens, Cape Town has fast become one of the most popular places to visit in Africa. If you need a good head start on where to go, this list of places below should give you a good head start.
Places to visit in Cape Town
Aquila Private Game Reserve
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
Bo Kaap – This beautiful residential neighborhood in Cape Town has quickly become an Instagramable favorite for many tourists visiting the capital city. Many people enjoy taking pictures in this neighborhood because the homes are so colorful and vibrant. Visitors are also welcome to tour Bo Kaap and learn about the neighborhood and its history.
Aquila Private Game Reserve – What’s a visit to Africa without touring one of their most notable safari’s? Aquila Private Game Reserve is also where they house “The Big 5;” elephants, lions, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. This location also offers horseback riding, among other festivities.
Quad Biking – ATV’ing is one thing in the States, but in South Africa, it’s a whole other experience.
Newlands Forest – If you’re looking for a good walking/biking trail or for some good views, Newlands Forest is a must-stop. If you’re driving, just be careful. The street entryway is right off the street and can get a little dangerous if you’re not careful.
Kloof Street – Kloof Street is a popular street in Cape Town. It’s full of various restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and so much more!
Soi Bar – A personal favorite of mine, Soi Bar is a semi-new bar spot infused with various Asian dishes. If nothing else, you must try their creative drinks. Be sure to ask for the drink they offer on the hidden menu. Included with the drink is a security escort.
Green Street Market - talk about supporting Black businesses. Be sure to stop by Green Street Market to find the latest jewels, hand-stitched fabrics, and more! Cause what’s a trip without souvenirs?
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
Chapmans Peak - Be sure to take your time and drive slowly as you’re en route to Chapmans Peak. Also, note that it will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Table Mountain – You’ve not been to Cape Town if you haven’t visited Table Mountain. For all my SpongeBob Squarepants fans, you’ll also be able to learn a little back story about The Flying Dutchman. Most, if not all, people who’ve gone will tell you to take the cable car up the mountain. One, it’s a five-minute glide-up, and the view is worth it. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike up the mountain. And I mean hike! Depending on where you start, hiking up the mountain will take a minimum of 2 1/2 hours up, and be sure to release your inner Meg knees for that walk down. It’s the hardest part!
Canal Walk Shopping Center - If you’re looking for more urban or modern attire, then head on over to one of, if not the biggest mall in Cape Town, which is located at Canal Walk shopping center. It’s even got a grocery store inside.
Banana Jam Cafe – As for late-night festivities or if you and some friends just want to wind down for some drinks and good food, Banana Jam Cafe is a great place to start. It’s a nice Caribbean vibe. They brew their own beer, and the music is just right. You won’t be disappointed!
Boulders Beach – I’ve heard of horses at the beach, maybe even pigs, but have you ever seen penguins on the beach? You will at Boulders Beach!
Whether you’re traveling solo or with some friends, you’ll get bonus points if you know some phrases and words to help you along your journey. Here are a few words and phrases that I picked up while in Cape Town:
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
- Kushushu (Koo-Shu-Shu)- Hot
- Iza (E-za) - Come
- Izapha (E-za-puh) - Come here
- Imma (Ee-ma) - Wait
- Bamba (Bam-Buh) - Hold
- Tata (Tah-Tah) - Carry or take
- Langa (Lan-guh) - Sun
- Amanzi (Uh-man-zi) - Water
- Puza (Pu-zah) - Drink
- Ewe (Eh-wei)– Yes
- Hamba (Ham-ba)/ Vaya (Vi-ya) – Go
- Ke Sharp (Ke-Shap) – It’s good
- Ndilambile (Dee-lam-bee-leh) – I’m hungry
- Lala (La-la) - Sleep
- Mzanzi (Mm-Zan-zee) – South Africa
- A con (A-con) - Air conditioner
- Dankie (Dan-kee) - Thank you
- Chomey (Cho-me)/Mikey (Mikey) - Friend
- Baie (Bai) Dankie (Dan-kee) - Thank you very much
- Cheers – Goodbye
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image courtesy of Chivone Smith
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The face of tennis is changing, and it’s about time. Over the years, if you were asked to name any Black tennis player, two would come to mind: Serena and Venus Williams — and rightfully so. But as new tennis sensations like Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka rise to fame for their athleticism and tenacity, it’s clear that there’s a new era of tennis taking shape to bring forth a fresh take on representation and reclamation on the courts.
For that reason alone, there’s no better time than now for Black Girl Tennis Club co-founders Virginia Thornton and Kimberly Selden to lead the charge of making tennis more accessible to Black women and girls so the next Serena and Coco can emerge.
What began as your everyday lunch chat between friends to discuss their mutual dream of owning a boutique hotel turned into a proposition to start a tennis club together. With Virginia being a tennis player since adolescence and Kimberly entering the sport as a hobby in her adult life, the two jumped at the idea of making a space where Black women could discover a new hobby and not feel like the “only one” on the tennis court.
“The club kind of started for selfish reasons, but not in a bad way,” Virginia tells xoNecole. “We realized that there was actually a need for this.”
Kimberly adds, “Now we're literally disrupting a whole industry. We didn't plan it, but it felt divine; like we were called to do this. Black Girls Tennis Club has been a catalyst for personal growth in all areas of life, and we would have never anticipated that.”
Since establishing the Black Girl Tennis Club in 2022, the two have made it their mission to cultivate a space for “Joy Equity and Radical Wellness.” Their platform serves as a means to inform, inspire, motivate, and reshape the narrative around Black women and girls in the tennis world while highlighting the transformative power of sports and play for liberation.
With approximately 78% of tennis players being white and only 6.8% being Black, and the average cost of a private tennis lesson being $60 per hour, racial and economic disparities within the sport are vast. To help close this gap, the two founders have banded together to develop free tennis instruction clinics for girls aged 8-18 and local tennis events that bring adult offerings through programs like the Self Love Tennis Club and Cardio Tennis Classes to HBCU campuses in Virginia.
Both Virginia and Kimberly understand the power of their mission and believe that they were brought on each other’s path to execute it together. “It’s the power of alignment,” Kimberly says. “I think when you're doing the right thing and you're obedient, and answer the call, that’s when things start to happen, and the universe conspires to make them happen.”
We caught up with the founders to discuss their mission, the importance of representation, and how they plan to disrupt the tennis industry one court at a time.
xoNecole: Could you talk a little more about your CARE pillars with change, access, representation and exposure?
Kimberly Selden: As we started to do the work, we saw that there were so many equity issues. Although we knew from our own personal experiences that there are barriers to tennis being an expensive sport, we just acknowledged it as the culture of tennis. Because it's predominantly white, that transfers over to the fashion, the dynamics on the court, the attitudes, and the mindset. And so we knew this required a culture shift for us to ever really feel comfortable.
We were exposing kids to tennis, and then after the clinics, they're like, "Okay, now what?" It's still expensive, and they still may or may not have had access to it if they're not with us. We don't want to just pop in like, "Hey, here's a clinic, bye!" So, the culture change is just a reflection of what our existence looks like. Access is about being able to access the sport through courts, programs, or a coach. Representation is that we can't believe it until we see it.
Granted, there are a lot of pro Black women tennis players taking off, and we love that. But we think about media representation as well [as] representation within the USCA, in the boardrooms, and the people that are making the rules around the game.
xoN: Why do you all think it’s important for Black women and girls to reclaim their space on the tennis court?
Virginia Thornton: It's rare, at least in my world, where you're in a space and see nothing but women who look like you. But it makes me feel great when I can be my authentic self, especially on a tennis court. Just shedding all the weight of pretending to be anything else. You feel at home when you're around nothing but Black women. Even small things like seeing a young Black girl being okay with how God made them is amazing.
KS: [In] the Atlanta clinics we did, everyone was crying. It's just clear how desperately we need it. Connection is the key to a long life. So many of us — especially from the pandemic and working from home — are isolated. With every clinic, it's just fun to be there, and it just fills you up. I think people need hobbies. I think a lot of people, especially people in big cities, feel that way and were confronted with that during the pandemic.
xoN: How did sports play a role in helping you two find your voice and confidence both on and off the court?
VT: I think what people don't realize is that tennis is such a mental sport. You could be a 4.0 player and have a bad mental day, and you will play like you've never picked up a racquet before. So, the mental piece is super important. For me, it's like ‘you against you,’ even though you are playing somebody.
If you're able to work through those mental pieces with yourself on the court, that will translate off the court. I had an issue on the court where I have a habit of saying, "Sorry," — I think a lot of Black women do, honestly. Then I realized that they wouldn't say sorry or they’d use my kindness as weakness. I've learned a lesson in that because everything translates on and off the court.
"If you're able to work through those mental pieces with yourself on the court, that will translate off the court."
KS: It's easy for me to do things that I'm good at, but it's not easy for me to do things that I'm not good at. Tennis is still challenging for me, but it pushes me. It’s a reality check for me; I know when things are aligned, and when they're not. It feels like a big metaphor for me because it's pushing me to do something that's uncomfortable and makes me work for myself more.
xoN: What do you hope the long-term impact of Black Girl Tennis Club will be?
VS: We want to have a space for people who might be workaholics or might be going through depression. It's always great to have a hobby, whether that's knitting, sewing, or what have you. For me and Kimberly, it’s about creating hobbies for Black women and girls but also knowing that it’s okay to not be amazing at it. You don't have to be amazing at tennis; you could hit around the court, and that's okay.
The next Serena or Venus might come from Black Girls Tennis Club.
Featured image by LumiNola/Getty Images