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A TRIBUTE TO A TRUE CONSERVATION HERO

Tanya Smith, on behalf of the EWT family

“It is not length of life, but depth of life”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is no truer than for Thabo Madlala, a life too short but a life so deep.

We as the EWT family are incredibly saddened and heartbroken over the passing of Thabo Madlala, our Drakensberg Community Project Officer within the Crane Programme. Thabo joined the African Crane Conservation Programme, under the EWT/ICF Partnership in 2013 as an EcoRanger, bringing with him his unwavering love of nature, passion for people and an understanding that together we can make a difference. Thabo was a humble and thoughtful man, who listened attentively and spoke truthfully – his love of the Drakensberg mountains (his home) fuelled his commitment to ensure the youth of today nurtured a love of nature, the mountains, the flowing rivers, the wild flowers and our cranes.  In 2016 he initiated the Mqatsheni Hiking and Environmental Solutions club, as a way of getting youth excited about the Southern Drakensberg mountains that surrounded their homes in Mqatsheni.  Please see this video shared on Thabo’s Facebook to see the impact that hiking club has had on young men and women.

Thabo was passionate about so much, his wife and his five children being his first, his passion and love for running his second, and a more recent passion being bee-keeping.  Thabo was a wonderfully talented bee-keeper and developed and mentored new bee-keepers in the Southern Drakensberg, establishing the small enterprise “Drakensberg Indigenous Honey”. Thabo touched the lives of so many and has left a legacy of compassion, conservation and conversation.  We share our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and anyone who feels the loss of his life gone too soon.