Blog: Staff News
The Kunevalela Project – a Story of Dedicated Staff
As many of you will know, we have a number of community projects of our own at Tanda Tula Safari Camp, and we also support various community and regional activities. However, what some of you may not know is that some of our staff have taken this spirit of giving to the next level by setting up their own NGO in their own community, for the benefit of that community.
Harry and Smiling, our well-known barmen have, for the last 5 years, been running an NGO of their own creation known as “Kunevalela”. Kunavelela means “To encourage Hope” in the local Shangaan language, and this is precisely what Harry and Smiling are trying to do in their community that is battling with the ravages of AIDS, AIDS orphans, endemic tuberculosis, malaria and a dire lack of proper sewerage and clean drinking water.
They started with two main projects – the first was the establishment of a boys soccer team, the Kunavelela Blackbirds, which provides a safe and constructive environment for young boys to interact and to “keep children off the streets”, as Smiling puts it.
The second project has been to create a communal vegetable garden for the grandmothers in the village to grow their own vegetables and to provide food to their families and to the broader local community.
What is particularly unique about Kunavelela is that it was born within the community that it aims to benefit, and it is the dream of two of those very community members, Harry and Smiling. This makes the projects under Kunavelela more relevant, as there is a deep understanding of the needs of their community and also an implicit knowledge of the most effective approach to implementing these projects within that community.
Tanda Tula is focused on empowering our staff, and we are extremely proud of what Harry and Smiling have been able to achieve using their own skills and passion and we continue to support and follow the progress of their projects with great interest.
Well done Harry and Smiling!! For more information about the Kunavelela Projects, please visit kunavelela.wordpress.com/.
Tracking Success at Tanda Tula Safari Camp
A senior tracking assessment was recently held in the Timbavati, the first of its kind in the area. These assessments are incredibly difficult and only the best of the best pass. Trackers cannot simply apply, but are invited to participate by previously showing their skills.
There are two parts to the senior tracker assessment: ‘track & sign’ and trailing.
Members of the Tanda Tula Safari Camp team were invited to participate and put their amazing tracking skills to the test. Jack, one of our most experienced trackers, was invited to attend the spoor identification segment of the assessment as he has already achieved his senior tracker status for trailing.
Scotch, a ranger and qualified tracker, would be doing the trailing segment and would have to track down any number of big 5 animals to prove their worth – nothing short of 100% would do. The top trackers in the country are involved in the grading system so this is no easy task.
To give you an idea of just how challenging this senior tracker assessment can be, some top trackers have taken up to five times to achieve their senior tracker status.
Scotch triumphed in his trailing segment and achieved full marks in his ability to track and follow dangerous game. This is a fantastic achievement considering that this is Scotch’s first attempt at senior tracker level. With his larger than life personality and hunger to learn, I am sure that he will go on to achieve his spoor identification in the very near future, and acquire his full senior tracker status.
This means that Tanda Tula Safari Camp now has TWO senior trailing specialists! This is not only good news for Tanda Tula Safari Camp, but for the Timbavati as a whole, as such specialists are very rare.
Going on a bush walk with any of our experienced guides and discussing tracks and spoor, is a wonderful learning experience and a must when you stay with us at our Safari Camp.
Text by Dale Jackson
We are fortunate to have an amazing staff compliment at Tanda Tula who are loyal and always willing to go the extra mile. Ephriam Mathibela is one of these people. Ephriam is a quietly spoken man who lets his work ethic speak for itself. The first to start any job, the last to leave and always willing to lend a hand, he has been a stalwart in the Tanda Tula maintenance and garden team for close on fifteen years.
Last year Ephriam embarked on a quest to become a traditional healer. This is not a chosen profession but rather a calling bestowed on you by your ancestors, a calling which may present itself in dreams or life experiences. If you do not follow the calling you’ll be blessed with bad luck as you would have offended your ancestors.
The process starts by approaching a senior traditional healer who acts as your mentor/teacher. The process can be lengthy, depending how the student takes on the necessary training. This involves learning to use medicinal plants and herbs and administering them to cure various ailments. Ephriam (pictured above) is nearing the end of his training and is dressed in his traditional colours. It is believed that red, black and white garments invoke the power of the ancestors. We have no doubt Ephriam will succeed and would like to wish him luck with the remainder of his training. We will keep you up to date on his progress in the coming months.
|Staff Christmas PartyThe end of the year is always celebrated by our annual Staff Christmas Party; an event looked forward to with much excitement and anticipation by our staff.|
|Some of Our Team Members|