I am sitting on the deck at Varty Camp with my good friend Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, reflecting on the amazing potential of our country. We concurred that the diversity and resilience of South Africans is what has allowed us to navigate our turbulent past, always finding common cause to solve either local upheavals or global crises.
Just three decades ago, what was once a landscape ravaged by ideological wars, is now a place of peace and harmony where wildlife roams freely across 6 million acres, spanning three countries! This was the creation of the modern day Transfrontier Peace Park, founded by democratic African leadership in conservation. This is just one examples of our resilience as South Africans to convert despair into hope, and conflict into peace and prosperity. Indeed, it is people from all walks of life, across the full political and social spectrum of South Africa who, out of a spirit of reconciliation, reached out to each other in 1994 and produced an extraordinary Constitution which inspired the world.
In the words of Dr Imtaiz Sooliman “Best among people are those who benefit man-kind.”
* If you need any more inspiration just watch the 3 minute opening remarks of Dr Imtaiz in this presentation about South Africa, which, in truth has lessons for the world.
Since those remarkable days of self-transformation towards a common good, we as a nation have faced many challenges and setbacks, yet we continue to be resilient in finding our own solutions. Whether it be addressing locally politically motivated uprisings or the ravages of global uncertainty, dealing with the collapse of tourism worldwide or an unprecedented pandemic – South Africans adapt, remain resilient, and continue to thrive and flourish.
Indeed, we in the hospitality industry, on the southern tip of Africa, post the pandemic, were very quick to embrace a concept of “revenge tourism”. This notion was inspired by our friends from North America and Europe, who in protest to lockdowns and the limits placed on their freedom, began to travel in earnest and remarkably South Africa has become a favoured destination.
Thank you to you all, we are so enjoying your return!
Post-pandemic occupancies are being reached and breached resulting in those less fortunate, living in the villages adjacent to the reserve, whose livelihood was directly impacted by the shutdowns, are now back at work and Londolozi’s economic and social ‘ripple effect’ is again having a positive influence on the lives of our neighbours and partner families.
Our supply chain investments have been resurrected and we are once again purchasing from our Ripple Fund partners. Our young learners, numbering over 12 000, who weekly attend the Good Work Foundation Digital learning centres are back. In their own way, each showed immense resilience during the pandemic closures. As the online learning programmes continued unabated, most of the Open Learning Academy learners and Bridging Year Academy students continued and completed with their programmes. The adult graduates from Good Work Foundation, numbering 400 per year, are now ideally placed to apply their training to the new-world economy post-pandemic, thereby securing meaningful careers which ensure sustainable functional family life in the rural villages adjacent Londolozi.
Our beloved GWF NGO partner, in August this year reached its 10th anniversary, which gave me cause to reflect on the past decade of the vibrancy and energy demonstrated by thousands of engaged young learners who have attended the GWF programmes. I would like also to make special mention of Kate Groch, the GWF CEO who has shown resilience and extraordinary dedication in establishing this the remarkable movement of ‘wonder-filled learning’. The anniversary celebration at the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre was an explosion of youth filled with hope and resilience prepared to embrace a future when it arrives or create it.
This all having been said, it is no secret that during the pandemic, the rhino population in South Africa has been decimated by unscrupulous criminal syndicates and that we, as a country, have suffered terrible losses. But this story does not end here. Resilience calls for a response and a response calls for a solution and a solution calls for action!
Action… founded by South Africans for South Africans to protect our wildlife and rhinos.
We reached out for assistance from our friends of Londolozi who responded wonderfully with funding. We then teamed up our long-standing NGO partners at Tracker Academy, whose founders are Londolozi alumni, Alex van den Heever and Renias Mhlongo and whose patron is Gaynor Rupert. We together with this group of resilient South Africans launched the Rhino Guardians programme, intended to train candidates in advanced bush craft and tracking with competent weapon handling. The programme will produce a “fight fire with fire” field operative, able to match and better the bush skills of criminal insurgence wishing to harm the rhino. The first group of Rhino Guardians will be deployed on Londolozi by March next year.
Resilience is our watch word, and we are determined to rebuild South Africa’s rhino populations step by step.
At Londolozi we reflect on the challenges of living in a VUCA world – vulnerable, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous, indeed it is a concern for us all. Uncertainty, ambiguity and chaos are a reality, but as a country blessed with an array of diverse human talents across the full spectrum of our society, we remain resolved and resilient.
We believe in the importance of harnessing human potential by embracing the principles of Ubuntu – ‘umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ meaning ‘a person is a person through other people’. At the heart of Londolozi’s values is a belief in our shared humanity, guided toward a common destiny, underpinned by resilience and gratitude for all we have in our country.… not the least being our extraordinary wildlife.
We believe that…
With my neighbour we should work towards a common good which ensures a future for me and my family
With my neighbour we should create food gardens and a harmonious, enduring quality of life
With my neighbour we should think global yet act local
With my neighbour we should care for each other, whilst honouring ancient wisdom and nature
With my neighbour we are more resilient than if we stand alone
It is these values that reside in the homes, towns, villages and people of South Africa
It is these values which are found in the families that make up Londolozi
It is these values which form the pillars and vision for our 2026 Londolozi Futuristic African Village…
From the home fires of Londolozi, stay safe, stay resilient and continue to adventure to Africa…
We wish you a blessed African Christmas,
From our Londolozi Family to yours,