A Project Initiated by the Magqubu Ntombela Memorial Foundation – A Charitable Trust Managed by Ewing Trust Company (Pty) Ltd

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize, Dr Ian Player and Sihle Nxumalo relax before the meeting

STORY telling is an integral part of Zulu cultural history, as it is passed from one generation to the next.Moral Zulu lessons are added to these stories and they become the folklore of the nation. In a rapidly changing world, it has become critical to record these stories of old in writing before they are lost for eternity.

This was the purpose of a Magqubu Ntombela Memorial Foundation (MNMF) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife gathering with some of the retired field rangers and the legendary icon of conservation, Dr Ian Player. The meeting was the second such gathering, following a previous meeting in November which concentrated on place names. It was felt important to identify and name key places in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP) so that when the stories are told, the rangers could all relate to the same place. A 3-D map recording the locations in the HiP was unveiled and the retired rangers were delighted with the results. Dr Player said that most early conservation records were recorded from the game rangers’ point of view.

Stories from the previous gathering included field rangers travelling three days on foot to eShowe to charge an arrested poacher. This was no mean feat, yet it was all in a day’s work. Newly appointed CEO of EKZNW, Dr Bandile Mhize, committed EKZNW’s support to the project and appealed to the retired rangers to share their experiences.

The MNMF envisages publishing all the stories in a book which will be printed in isiZulu and English. It is hoped that funding for a DVD will also be sourced. At present, an author who has agreed to write the book and a translator from the University of Zululand have been identified. Recording of the history took place over three days at the HiP’s Centenary Centre.

The MNMF has Dr MG Buthelezi as Patron and Dr Ian Player, Nick Steele and Andrew Ewing are founder trustees.

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