Cape Town, Table Top
Selma Edwards / March 23, 2008
Her legacy of determined optimism, creativity and love lives on.
Selma traveled to Africa several times before achieving her dream of in 1984, opening E-Z Tours, a travel agency that specialized in group trips to Africa.
Until then, very few inroads had been made into cultural tourism in Africa and, frankly, there was not a huge US demand for such tours. In order to be successful, Selma had to make her tours innovative and seamless, which required her to forge countless relationships with officials in several African nations, as well as with US-based travel professionals who were not easily convinced.
But Selma, who was way ahead of her time, was also up to the task. Undaunted, she set out to create a demand for her new business, launching Selco International, a special events/marketing company that arranged for media groups, including radio stations and magazines such as Essence and Sports Illustrated, to travel to West Africa and write about it.
Through sheer force of will and her own irresistible charm, Selma was able to negotiate with vendors and major airlines on two continents to secure groundbreaking programs designed to attract travelers, especially Black Americans, to Africa.
To entice them, she organized numerous events including the Dakar International Marathon, the Cape Town Music Festival and a Cultural Festival in the Ivory Coast. She became Africaís unofficial ambassador, extending herself with dignity and grace whenever she was there and with boundless generosity and warmth whenever Africans reached out to her in the US.
As a result, E-Z Tours prospered and she became a legend, garnering many prestigious awards including the Togo Trophy, the Baobab DíOr, and the National Black MBA Associationís Entrepreneur of the Year.
In the late ë90s, she joined Princess Cruises to develop and implement their new African cruise program, which enabled her to spend several months each year sailing between Europe to Africa. It proved a dream job, calling on all of her African enthusiasm and expertise as well as her charm and exceptional knack for entertaining.
Cruising the world never interfered with Selmaís attention to E-Z Tours. In recent years, she continued to expand her African tour destinations while also enjoying downtime traveling to Europe. Whenever she was home she immersed herself in the closeness of her family.
Selma suffered a massive stroke on January 28. She had spent most of that day at E-Z Tours, doing what she loved best. She was preparing for yet another extended trip to Africa, and was looking forward to it as much as ever. Selma responded to her illness the way she had all challenges in her life. She fought valiantly and with a smile, defying doctorsí dire predictions one after another.
In the early morning hours of Easter Sunday, Selma departed on her most glorious journey, going peacefully to God. But her legacy of determined optimism, creativity and love lives on.
Discover this beautiful West Africa nation, formally called the Gold Coast. Come full circle and reconnect with the ancestors.
Dear Friends and Partners in Travel,
Happy New Year! I hope that you are all well!!
It is with deep sadness that I advise you of my closing the business. The last day of business was November 26th. It’s been a very hard decision to make after having spent 31 years with E-Z Tours; not just building the company but also relationships, partnerships, friendships’ and bonds. Thank you for all your support helping us build a business that felt like family
I have greatly enjoyed my life at E-Z Tours and Africa and the other countries of the diaspora will always my heart and I have been blessed by the wonderful support and trade given over the years. Thank you. I’m really blessed to have met you all.
But, all good things must come to an end. I wish everyone all the best and hope that our paths will cross again and sincerely hope that our friendship will continue from right here.
"Dance like nobody's watching. Love like you'll never get hurt."
- anonymous -