Africa is home to numerous beauties and wonders centuries old and encapsulating a divine heritage and history in its landscape. Journeying through the continents cardinal points immerses you in its majestic wonder. In the “Ventures Travel Interviews,” Vénicia Guinot follows the trail of international globetrotting artists, entrepreneurs, chefs, CEOs and designers, who share their most memorable travel experiences with our readers.

Described as a chic, bold and talented, Fashion Designer Afua Sam is the mastermind behind the award-winning Design House Studio D’Maxsi, one of the fastest growing fashion houses based in Washington DC, creating masterpieces for the modern woman. The winner of the “Fashion Designer of the Broadcasting Studio” Award in Atlanta, Ghanaian born Afua is a hard-working Businesswoman whose work has graced many runways and magazines while her style continues to appeal to a global audience.

In this interview, Afua Sam shares her passion for African tourism with our readers…

Welcome and thank you for granting us this interview. Please introduce yourself to our readers…

Thank you! It’s my pleasure to be part of this interview. My name is Afua Sam and I was born and raised in Ghana. I am currently settled in the USA.


Which country do you come from/call home? All in one, what is your heritage?

Although I haven’t lived in Ghana for a long time, I go home every year or as often as I can. It’s always some form of excitement and joy I feel when I pack up to go to Ghana to see my family especially my mom. I will, however, consider America to be home because I have been here most of my adult life and also because of what I do here. I have experienced several achievements and milestones here in the USA and they are very memorable. I have established several meaningful relationships here as well. So as much as I love Ghana and treasure every experience, memory and connection with my motherland, I would say America is home for me!


Are you a backpacker/long term traveler/business traveler/live and work abroad?

I’m not a long term traveler but, every year, I make it a point to travel to at least two or three countries including my homeland Ghana. I sometimes mix business with pleasure. I have international business connections so although when I travel I have every intention to take time out to have fun and relax; I take advantage of the time outside of fun to connect with my friends in the fashion industry. Typical examples are my fashion adventures because as much as it is fun for me, it is also very business-oriented.

What is the first trip you remember taking in Africa and what are your favorite memories?

I haven’t been to any other countries in Africa besides Ghana, my homeland. I definitely do have plans to travel to other countries in Africa. My number one place to go to, in Africa, in the near future is SOUTH AFRICA!! I am really excited and looking forward to my visit in this country.  But, I do have favorite memories from Ghana. I would say visiting the Elmina Castle was very significant. It was so profound and emotional to walk through the memories of slavery. I actually visited the place with three Americans: one of which was African-American and the other two were Caucasians. They were guests to my uncle and I was their pretend tour guide. Although two of them were Caucasians and were the “faces” of the oppressors in the history of slavery and the African-American would be a “face” of the victims, there was a clear sense of unity on how we all felt about the historic tragedy of slavery. They actually shed tears which were profound to witness.


Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?

Yes! When I went to France for the first time, I went with the very imaginations or expectations that we all know about Paris!  Yes it was beautiful and there was so much to see. However I observed that people are not as friendly as here in the USA; I mean so open and friendly. I assumed it had something to do with the language barrier. Nevertheless, there were some people that I met who were extremely and overwhelmingly nice. I, now, have friends for LIFE. And I am grateful for that experience! It is very memorable to me! A big shout out to my friends in Paris: Flavia Radavera, Emilliano, Ali and the entire Team International.


Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling the African continent?

Yes unfortunately! I travelled to Ghana and my luggage didn’t arrive with me until the last few days before leaving Ghana. That was a very frustrating process for me.  I literally had to buy new clothes in Ghana. That was really something!



The media portrays the African continent as a no-go-zone. How do you feel about this label and how will you rate the African tourism system based on your personal experiences?

I actually feel very bad about that because there is so much that Africa has to offer. The portrayal of Africa as a place where people live in trees is inaccurate. It needs to be corrected. A holistic perspective of Africa needs to be shown to the world. Africa has so much talent, rich diversity in culture and, a significant amount of development that people or reporters have failed to acknowledge and portray.  The political and social struggles are real and true but it is still not a holistic perspective. There is a great amount of tourists’ attractions in Ghana alone and certainly a lot more in the continent of Africa. Africa should not be underestimated. She has a lot more to offer this world that we have not yet seen.


Where is your favorite place in the world and what makes it so interesting for other visitors to discover?

Even though I have travel to some countries more than four, three or two times, I can’t say that I have a favorite place so far yet, but every place I have been has left a mark in my heart and has been memorable!  Ghana, my home country is definitely a place to visit!  I would simply say if you have the opportunity to travel: absolutely do it! It is fun and an eye opening experience.


Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?

My number one thing on my bucket list was to meet Nelson Mandela.  Unfortunately he is no more. I would like to visit South Africa one day soon. I have always wanted to meet Oprah Winfrey. Also, I want to meet President Barack Obama and Michelle, his wife. Ellen de Generous is another personality I would like to meet in real life.
Apart from that, I would like to meet fashion icons in the industry such as Jean-Paul Gaultier. I find him to be very intriguing.
I want to meet Angelina Jolie because I strongly admire her humanitarian efforts and would like to chat with her about it.
I want to write an autobiography and also my journey as a fashion designer. I know as time goes on my list gets longer yet shorter. Ultimately, I want to inspire people with my talent on a larger scale. I want my story to motivate people to dream and dream big!
If you were not travelling, what would you be doing instead?

I would be working in my studio creating pieces.


Take us through your daily activities and let us know how you still find time to juggle your professional career and travelling?

When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is pray, watch the news while I eat breakfast and get on my agenda for the day which mostly has to do with my business, whether it is responding to emails or actually designing and sewing pieces or meeting with clients. This is my usual routine.  When it comes to traveling, I prepare for it. I set aside a period of time, usually a month or two to do my traveling. The only way I have been successful in juggling professional life with traveling is planning.


Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travelers and/or Government officials?

My advice is pack light, do your research about where you are going and the cost of living so that you are financially prepared for your journey, especially when you plan on traveling internationally. Have your traveling documents handy and make copies in case anything happens. Also don’t forget to check on the currency, like exchange rate. And most importantly explore turnouts and have fun!!

What has travel taught you?

Travel has taught me so much. Each time I travel I come back refreshed with great memories of different cultures and wonderful people.  Traveling also broadens your perspective of people. I got to see different people and what they are like, and learned how to relate with others outside of my usual circle of influence. It has also been very inspirational in terms of fashion and my career.  If you have the opportunity to travel, definitely do it!


Quick fire questions:

Favourite airline company? British Airways

Favourite African city/country? Ghana

Favourite beach? I’m not a beach person so I can’t answer that.

Favourite food? Boiled green plantain and spinach (kontomere stew) cooked the Ghanaian way.

Favourite language/dialect? French

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