The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
This year a record number of students graduated from the Southern African Wildlife College which is making great strides towards becoming the most sought after Centre of Excellence in Conservation Education and Wildlife Management training in the southern African sub-region.
According to Mr Allan Losaba, CEO North West Parks and Tourism Board and the key note speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony which took place on 2 December 2010, graduation does not mark an end but a beginning. “I prefer the American version of a graduation ceremony. It is called a commencement exercise – the beginning of new things for the students that are graduating. As such, this graduation ceremony does not represent the beginning of work in biodiversity conservation but rather the beginning of a new way of approaching things.”
In his address Losaba highlighted a commencement address at the University of Portland, where Paul Hawken, renowned entrepreneur, visionary environmental activist and author, warned that we are stealing from the future and selling it in the present to create gross domestic profit. “We can just as easily have an economy based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration the other is called exploitation.” Hawken then called on everyone to work for the earth, “for the earth is not the way to get rich; it is a way to be rich,” he said.
Three groups of students from seven different countries across the SADC region will go back to their protected wildlife areas inspired to do just that. These graduates included two full Certificate groups as well as 12 students who undertook a six-month Environmental Education programme.
The five students, who completed their studies after receiving a scholarship from the Southern African Wildlife College Education Trust (SACET) to further their studies in 2010, were in high spirits after receiving their certificates. They are (from left to right): Trevor Silwamba (Zambian Wildlife Authority), Kufandada Zhou (Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management), Lameck Mumba (Zambiamn Wildlife Authority), James Mwanza (Great North Safaris, Zambia) and Richard Menyatswe (North West Parks & Tourism Board, South Africa).
There is no doubt that this graduation, which was attended by donor organisations, dignitaries from various conservation organizations, course leaders, student guests and College staff, will herald a new era in conservation for these students. In the words of James Mwanza, one of the Zambian students sponsored by the Southern African Wildlife College Conservation and Education Trust (SACET), “Challenges such as budgetary constraints, competition for resources, increasing pressure on natural areas due to growing human populations, climate change and the destruction of natural habitat can now be faced with greater expertise and confidence.”
“Through joint initiatives, collaboration, sharing of experiences, expertise imparted and through life-long bonds forged with both trainers and fellow students, we are now able to go back to our places of work better equipped and motivated to manage our protected areas more effectively,” Mwanza said.
The Southern African Wildlife College was established in 1997 by the World Wide Fund for Nature, South Africa (WWF-SA). The College is a registered non-profit public benefit organization which is proudly supported by WWF-SA, Peace Parks Foundation and the Southern African Wildlife College Education Trust.