It’s a modern-day race around the world and befitting a contest of such epic proportions, there is some drama at the finish line. In September 2018, Woni Spotts claimed to be the first black woman to visit every country. She began traveling to 165 countries between the 1970s and 1982 and continued her travels to the remaining 30 countries in the 2000s. However, Jessica Nabongo, a fellow black female traveler whose goal is to also visit all 195 countries, is saying that something doesn’t quite add up about Spotts’ claim.
In a press release, she said, “I have read some of her interviews and it has become clear that Ms. Spotts has not visited every country in the world…she has not visited the current list of UN member countries, recently noting on Twitter that she visited the USSR and Yugoslavia, but not the independent countries as they stand today.”
According to Nabongo, the dates and numbers simply don’t add up. “In 1982,” she said, “there were not 165 countries and between 1983 and 2018, the UN gained thirty-five (35) new member countries…Based on Spotts’ press release, written by her and released in April 2019, she only visited four of these new member countries as part of her last 30.”
Nabongo herself is setting out to travel to every country in the world and is currently on her 189th of 195. Should Spotts’ claim be proved false, that would make Nabongo the first black woman to see all 195 countries.
Nabongo hopes that, “Once I am finished many more come behind me and that black women, black men and all people of color across the globe feel that the world is theirs to travel just as much as it is anyone else’s.”