Al azhar islamic university

Man cycles 2,500 miles across Africa hoping to be accepted into Al Azhar Islamic University, Egypt

Meet hardworking student Mamadou Safayou Barry, who cycled 2,500 miles across Africa to get a seat in Al Azhar Islamic University in Cairo, Egypt.

A husband and father of one, 25-year-old Mamadou Safayou Barry from Conakry, Guinea, left his home to find a spot for himself at his dream university in Egypt.

To fulfill his university dream and attain a seat for himself in the prestigious Al-Azhar University and take up a course in Islamic Studies, he decided to cycle all the way to Cairo, Egypt.

SIMILAR: Know more about another African woman Sibongile Sambo who overcame many obstacles to start her own airlines.

However, the determined young boy did not have the means to fly to Egypt from his hometown in Guinea.

Al azhar islamic university
Mamadou Barry with Will Smith in a video call: Screenshot taken from video shared by Will Smith

That’s when he thought he could cycle his way to his dream university in Cairo crossing the whole of West Africa and the Sahara Desert’s vast road network.

He cycled through countries like – Benin, Southern Mali, Togo, Chad, and some of the most dangerous places on Earth including parts of Burkina Faso and Niger that face constant turmoil due to coups and Islamic militants.

He knew the challenges way too well that lay ahead. Despite that Mamadou surged ahead only to be detained and even arrested at three different places; once in Togo and twice in Burkina Faso.

Filled with faith Mamadou was not scared, and after four months of cycling and multiple arrests, he was in Chad and working out a plan to cross Sudan. The country is currently in a state of war, that’s when he finally had a stroke of luck.

A local journalist reported his voyage, which caught the attention of a philanthropist who arranged a flight ticket for him to Egypt.

Upon reaching Cairo, Al-Azhar University offered Mamadou a full scholarship in Islamic Studies as well as engineering.

Mamadou’s inspiring journey had everyone fascinated as Hollywood megastar Will Smith surprised him by giving him a video call in Cairo.

Smith not only congratulated Mamadou for his incredible feat, he also gifted him a new bicycle and a laptop for his studies.

Mamadou now hopes to write a book about his 2,500-mile-long journey, as he wishes to explain in detail all his experiences including the arrests and detention on one hand and his encounters with many kind people on the other hand.

Maya Bennett