Brave Africa was built on the idea that travelers want incredible experiences with companies whose values match their own. We believe that if we stay true to minimizing the impact on the environment and maximizing our economic and social benefits to the local community, that safari-goers who value those same things will find our product compelling and “vote with their dollars.”
To remain true to ourselves, we are taking a moment to share our stance on the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests that are happening around the world against racism and the excessive use of force by law enforcement.
We understand that this might be unpopular, and some readers might think and comment, “Brave Africa is a safari company. Stay in your lane. Do not get into politics.” However, it is because we are an African safari company in Botswana with Black employees and a Black co-founder and owner that we must make our position known.
One more thing: though corporate statements are an important step, it is a company’s actions that ultimately matter. Brave Africa has done our best to live up to our values before these important conversations ever came to their current boiling point, and we will continue to strive to be the change we want to see in the world.
Brave Africa began from community, diversity, and inclusion.
In Botswana, there is the concept known as botho, which in Setswana means that everyone is connected to the larger community as an extended family. That concept is vital to Botswana, and the idea that Brave Africa is a part of and affects the larger community compels us to be a part of the global conversation and to take action.
What you might not know is that Brave Africa was founded and is co-owned by three individuals from three different ethnicities:
- Tabona Wina is Black Botswanan.
- Kelly Vo is white American.
- Patrick Vo is Vietnamese American.
This makes Brave Africa unique because the majority of the safari companies in Africa are owned and led by white Africans and white Europeans. We founded Brave Africa with the belief that Black Africans should be equally recognized for their talents and their contributions to building a business, that Black Africans should be given an equal opportunity to earn leadership positions and even ownership in the business built by their efforts, and that they should not be denied any of those things simply because of the color of skin they were born with.
Brave Africa believes that true strength is being able to acknowledge that we can do better.
We believe that no one is perfect. Therefore, true integrity and strength is to acknowledge our flaws and failings. Getting defensive and saying “we are not racists” shuts down any opportunity to address issues and become better. Having an honest conversation about our flaws is not to be negative, to cause division, to assign blame, or to tear people down, but we cannot pursue a better version of ourselves if we deny our flaws out of insecurity.
Brave Africa rejects racism and promotes inclusion.
First and foremost, we 100% reject racism and discrimination in all of its forms. It has no place in any aspect of our business, period.
We believe in inclusivity and equality for all individuals. We do not take into account the race, gender or gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or political affiliations of our employees or our guests. Everyone, staff, and guest is valued and is entitled to respect and compassion.
Racism has no place in how we treat our staff, and we will not accept racism from staff.
We are incredibly proud to be a Black Botswanan-owned company dedicated to equality and inclusion. We hire, keep, and elevate employees based on their merit. And we can tell you, right now, that all of our employees are incredible individuals who we are proud to have on our team. They have been trained and will continue to be trained to recognize discriminatory behavior and how to resolve such situations.
Racism has no place among our guests, and we will not accept racism from guests.
The beauty and wonder of African wildlife are meant to be shared with and enjoyed by everyone. We want all of our guests and staff to feel safe and comfortable while on safari. Therefore, we ask that all of our guests treat every individual, whether Brave Africa staff or other guests, with respect and compassion, and we encourage any guest or employee to reach out to us if there is ever a problem so that it can be resolved swiftly.
Brave Africa declares that Black Lives Matter.
We are not saying that Black lives are more important than other lives. However, our society as a whole, through its actions, treats Black lives as though they matter less than other lives. We, therefore, declare that their lives matter just as much as the lives of others, we recognize the pain and suffering they have endured through being seen as less than equals, and we wholeheartedly support efforts and changes that seek to elevate Black lives so that they are treated as equals.
As such, Brave Africa fully supports the peaceful protestors who are making their voices heard around the world. We stand with you. We believe in your cause. We lift our voice with yours. We are committed to being part of change. We will continue to confront bias and racism whenever and wherever we see it.
Brave Africa believes in activism and understanding.
It is not enough to speak or to write this post. We must put actions behind our words.
As part of our support, we are providing a list of resources, causes, and movements that you can join, donate to, and learn more about racism and Black Lives Matter.
- Black Visions Collective is a Minnesota-based (where George Floyd was murdered) collective committed to dismantling systems of oppression and violence.
- The NAACP and NAACP Legal Defense Fund are dedicated to ensuring equal rights without discrimination based on race. They focus on enforcing civil rights at all levels.
- Split your donation between 70+ bail funds for protestors across the U.S.
- An interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter from Ted Talks.
- An 8-part video series about systemic racism: what it looks like and what it means.
- An honest discussion on George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery, and Amy Cooper from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
We encourage everyone to seek a greater understanding of racism and its impact around the globe. It is pervasive and deeply rooted, and we must hold ourselves accountable for how we facilitate it or fight it.
Brave Africa is always seeking to do and be better.
The path forward for communities around the world is to have open and honest conversations about racial injustice. We cannot be bystanders that watch and do nothing.
Talking about racism is uncomfortable, but refusing to talk about it does not mean racism does not exist. It is systemic. It is ingrained. It is powerful. Ignoring it will not make the problem go away. We must acknowledge that it is a problem and continually fight to overcome it.
We all have inherent biases and prejudices. That is what it means to be human and imperfect. However, that does not mean we should accept the status quo. We can always work to do better, to be better.
At Brave Africa, we want to be known as a kind, caring, understanding, supportive, and considerate business. The pursuit of doing and being better will never end, but we continue pursuing those ideals every day.
That is what we are trying to do right now: be better. We are using our platform as an African safari to speak out against racism, amplify Black voices, and to let our Black team members know:
- We hear you.
- We see you.
- We support you.
- We care about you.
- We believe in you.
- We fight for equality beside you.
While we may not have all the answers, we know the path forward is to continue with these difficult conversations so that positive change can happen. Our promise is to show compassion and empathy every single day, and when we fail, we will acknowledge the failure and will try again. We honor and celebrate our differences because that is what matters.
With gratitude and respect,
Tabona, Kelly, and Patrick