Gauteng Business News

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Resources: Wildlife Heals Apartheid Wounds


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In a colourful traditional ceremony attended by officials, VIP’s, and hundreds of rural community members Mr Mujahid Alam of the United Nations cut the ribbon heralding the start of Africa’s newest game reserve. “This is a historic day for the people of South Africa,” said Alam.

“Environmental protection and enhancement is the right and duty of all peoples and all nations.”

The Mayibuye reserve in Camperdown, near Durban in South Africa, is a joint venture between The Earth Organization and the UK based Bridgehouse Capital group, with the Mayibuye community Trust.

The reserve comprises land taken away from the residents in forced removals during Apartheid, and successfully claimed back through the Land Commission by the 445 displaced members of the Mayibuye community trust.

“This brand new wildlife reserve is a breakthrough for conservation in Africa,” said Earth Organization founder Lawrence Anthony. “This is all about placing the future of our wildlife heritage where it belongs, in the hands of rural communities. Through projects such as this we are creating partnerships and rebuilding the traditional and cultural ties to nature lost during apartheid,” said Anthony.

“This project will put the land to good use for our members,” said Mayibuya Trust leader Thanda Mngwengwe, “We have created a beneficial partnership with The Earth Organization, through which we are able to protect our valuable wildlife heritage and use it to participate in the growing eco-tourism industry and uplift our people.

Mr. Andy Ruhan Chairman of Bridgehouse Capital complimented the Mayibuye Trust and the Earth Organization for their foresight. “We are proud to be involved with such an innovative conservation project,” He said. “This endeavour will enhance and protect indigenous species in this wonderful natural area whilst at the same time building wealth and creating much needed job opportunities in the local Zulu community.”

“We have come the full circle since we were forcibly evicted from our land,” said Mayibuya Trust chairman Welcome Maphanga. “It has been a long hard road but we are back. Wild animals have always lived in our area and we used to hunt them. If you kill a wild animal it provides food for a week, but by protecting them we create jobs for a lifetime.”

The 5,000ha Mayibuye reserve will be the closest major game reserve to the metropolitan areas of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, placing it in prime position to tap into popular tourist routes. A luxury Lodge and day centre will be complimented by an exclusive housing estate, a raptor sanctuary, and a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

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