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  • Writer's pictureMike Sutherland

Mandela Day 2019: "The Next Chapter"

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

“The world remains beset by so much human suffering, poverty and deprivation. It is in your hands, to make of our world, a better one for all.” Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela International Day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly.

It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now”.

It is more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy; it is a global movement to honour his life’s work and to change the world for the better. This year the Nelson Mandela Fund has launched a new Mandela day strategy, titled: Mandela Day: The Next Chapter, to mark the tenth anniversary of the initiative.

At Escape Safari Co. we have found it to be of utmost importance for us to take the opportunity to play our role in being part of this “next chapter.” From the inception of our business, a huge focus of ours has been to ensure that we are always in a position to give back to those who need it most. Having worked in the safari industry as guides and photographers for the past decade, there have been so many people who have influenced our journey in such a positive way, from trackers, staff in camps and local communities surrounding these stunning wilderness areas.

This community of people are the life and soul of every safari destination and without them, there would be no foreseeable future for the land and in turn, the wildlife. With all of these influences that have moulded and shaped us as people, it is our greatest goal and privilege to give back to them.

For Mandela Day 2019, Escape Safari Co. has decided to partner with The Tracker Academy and we have set a goal of funding a student for their full yearlong training and tuition fees. For every successful safari we book, a portion of our profits will be donated to the Academy and toward this students tracker course.

Guests travelling with Escape Safari Co. are therefore directly contributing to the continuity and success of, not only the programme and the dying art of tracking, but also directly assisting impoverished people from local communities to be educated, up-skilled and employed and in so doing they are then able to build bright futures for themselves and for their families.

The Tracker Academy is a training division of the SA College for Tourism based in Graaff-Reinet, which is chaired by Mrs Gaynor Rupert. Tracker Academy trains unemployed rural people in traditional skills of wildlife tracking for employment in the ecotourism, anti-poaching and wildlife monitoring sectors of the conservation industry.

The Academy trains 24 tracker students per annum at its three training sites: Samara Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape Karoo, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in the Northern Cape and Londolozi Game Reserve in the Sabi Sands, Mpumalanga. Tracker Academy is the only formally accredited tracker training school in South Africa, enjoying both accreditation by the SETA (Sector Education Training Authority) as well as endorsement by FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa). Since 2010, Tracker Academy has trained 150 professional trackers of which 94% are currently employed in the conservation industry - an exceptional deployment success rate!

The Academy has also assisted ecotourism projects internationally, in Brazil, Malawi, Botswana and Rwanda, with its tracker graduates habituating leopards and jaguars in those countries.

We will continue to find unique ways of giving back to those in need as we build our business into the future, without forgetting our roots. We are forever indebted to every person who has guided us through our path in this industry and we feel it is only right to take our opportunity in giving back to them in any small way.

Positive change was the gift left to all of us by Nelson Mandela, but it can only become a living legacy if we take up his challenge.

In the spirit of Madiba and his vision to spread social justice and freedom for all, this is your chance to become part of a continuous global movement for good. Come Escape with us.

Take Action. Inspire Change.

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