Kazimierz Nowak (January 11, 1897 – October 13, 1937) was a Polish traveller, correspondent and photographer, born in Stryi, now part of Ukraine.
After World War I he lived in Poznań. From 1931-36, he traveled alone, on foot and by bicycle across Africa, covering a distance of 40,000 km: from Libya to South Africa (Cape Agulhas) and back to Algeria . He seems to be the only man in the world to have done it. His accounts of the travel were first published jointly as late as in 2000, as a book entitled Rowerem i pieszo przez Czarny Ląd (By bicycle and on foot across the Black Land). He died in Poznań from pneumonia as a consequence of emaciation of the body due to the travel, malaria and leg surgery.
Commemorative plaque in Poznań
On 25 November 2006 in the Hall of Poznań Main Railway Station, where Kazimierz Nowak began and ended his travel, Ryszard Kapuściński, a Polish writer, unveiled a commemorative plaque dedicated to him. In his speech accompanying the ceremony he described Nowak as follows:
- Through his accomplishment, Kazimierz Nowak deserves a place in dictionaries and encyclopedias and a mention among such names as Stanley and Livingstone. He was a man of great imagination and courage, a man who knew no fear. He showed that a lonely white man, with no means to protect himself, carrying no weapons but only his faith in another being, can cross alone a vast continent. He did all this in the times when Europe was only beginning to discover the Third World. He taught us as early as in the 1930s how to treat the Third World and its inhabitants.
- Only those who know the regions through which Kazimierz Nowak travelled and the way he did it can really appreciate that heroic courage joined with extraordinary modesty. He did not boast, he simply described what he saw. .
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kazimierz Nowak.|
- Official website
- Reports of an on-going initiative of groups of young people cycling in turns along the route of his travel (in Polish)
- Story on Kazimierz Nowak with images
- By bicycle and on foot across the Dark Continent - 2007, 3rd extended edition (Polish)
- By bicycle and on foot across the Dark Continent - 2006, 2nd edition (Polish)
- The memorial to Kazimierz Nowak was unveiled in Poznań in November 2006 by Ryszard Kapuściński (Polish TVP3 footage)