Mail and Guardian

Cherae Robinson, image supplied

Since launching Rare Customs in 2014, which facilitated foreign investment in African SMEs in the fields of agriculture, tourism and market entry, founder Cherae Robinson (nominated a “woman to watch” by the U.N. in 2014) has continued on her upward trajectory.

In December 2015 she launched her start-up mobile app Tastemakers Africa (TSTMKRS), with the aim of “disrupting what the world thinks about Africa, one trip at a time”. African-American Robinson navigates the world of start-ups for black entrepreneurs and a desire to reframe the world’s perception of travel in and to Africa. Interview Profile: Cherae Robinson for  Mail and Guardian.

I’m proud of my African-American heritage. I have always admired leaders like Maya Angelou, W.E.B Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and others who worked collaboratively with African leaders during the independence struggle and civil rights movement respectively. I feel that I am cut from the same cloth with a 21st-century approach that focuses on commerce as a tool for collaboration and partnership amongst diaspora people all over the world. I first travelled to Africa in 2009 and visited Sierra Leone, where I was surprised by my ability to easily understand Kriol.

We have about 100 epic activities on the Tastemakers app. The goal is to take you “beyond safaris” in Africa. We focus on curated experiences and influencer-driven content. So, for example, in Johannesburg, we offer a cooking lesson on “Seven Colours” rice. Our experience partner is actually the mother of one of our local ambassadors, Twiggy Moli (Tshepang Mollison). You travel to the heart of Soweto and learn from a member of the community. Afterwards, you visit a South African black-owned microbrewery to enjoy a tour, local music and sundowners. In Ghana, you can take a fashion journey from traditional to the contemporary designs you…

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