Home is a tugging on our soul that only grows stronger as we age.
It is the undeniable reliance on the roots that ground us as our branches spread and strive.
Words: Mwai Yeboah
The pull to share the beauty of this place that anchors me is the reason Fifty Four Mag exists. It only felt right, then, to immerse ourselves in the idea of Homecoming for the final issue of our inaugural year.
As I sit here, I am humbled by the gifts Africa, my home, has given me. In its age-old wisdom, I find inspiration to create something new. In its humble beginnings, I find the path to building legacy. This particular issue is my heart and soul, spread across more than 100 pages that pay homage to those who have not forgotten their roots.
What does home mean, anyways? It’s a feeling of belonging, anchored by the connections we forge. It is the presence we bring to those we love, the imperfect moments that shape us, and the formative memories that weave the tapestry of our lives. This issue has allowed me to come closer to a place I hold dear, “Nkumba.” The scent of leather chairs – worn, aged, and well-loved-evokes memories of my father, who cherished them as a symbol of my first paycheck.
For this issue, I wanted a feature story that centred on something deeper than the glossy things that are so quick to grab our attention – so I made a conscious decision to set aside the allure of celebrity. Instead, we looked to the San people of Makgadikgadi (Bushmen) who embody the spirit of homecoming. Their vibrant culture and commitment to family reflect the essence of what it means to truly be at home.
Our talented travel editor Dan Carter leads us on a remarkable journey to Botswana. Together, we capture a day in the life of the San people, a people so deeply rooted in their traditions and close-knit families. Witnessing their connection to home served as a powerful reminder of what truly matters: family, community, and the rich cultural heritage that defines us. See page 80.
Our journey continues on to Morocco – where the sight of that red clay does for so many what the scent of those leather chairs does for me: evokes home. The mesmerising images captured by Dan Carter invite you to explore the facets of Africa that connect us to a sense of place. Read more on page 50. Our hearts are shattered by the recent tragedy Morocco has experienced. This feature was finalised prior to the earthquake – we hope it reminds the world of all the beauty and abundance that awaits as Moroccans slowly rebuild – reunite, and recover.
Next, we introduce readers to the Wodaabe tribe of Mali, beautifully captured by our esteemed culture contributor, Trevor Cole. Their rituals and traditions – preserved and passed down through generations – serve as a testament to the power of cultural identity in shaping our understanding of home. See page 72.
As we explore vibrant colours, culture, and identity channelled through the world of fashion (see pages 120-125) we find ourselves marrying the realms of style and heritage. For so many Africans, adornments themselves serve much more purpose than to simply adorn – but to embrace and express. What is true fashion if not a way to bring a sense of place with us wherever in the world we go, to wear our home on our sleeves?
Lastly, we lift the weight of expectations that burden us, urging us to conform to societal norms and ideals. On page 93, we invite you to embrace your true self, liberated from the need to fit into prescribed boxes. It is a reminder that our journey home can also mean coming home to our genuine self.
More than a collection of stories, this issue is a celebration of the cultures that have shaped us, the traditions that have moulded us, and the voice that guides us. I hope this issue shows you why my destination in this life will always be home. Finally, I leave you with a lyric from Coming Back Home by BeBe Winans, Brian McKnight, and Joe:
So I’m coming back home,
Home, where love is waiting for me
Been gone much too long
This is where I want to be
So I’m coming home, coming home
‘Cause home is where I belong