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Media Release - 10 September 2004

KNP gives tree to traditional healers

The Executive Director of the Kruger National Park (KNP), Dr Bandile Mkhize presented the first10 trees of various species to traditional healers from the surrounding communities at a ceremony held in Skukuza today (Friday, September 10, 2004).
It is intended that the traditional healers go back to their villages and plant these saplings, thus creating a sustainable resource at their front door.

The process is being managed by the KNP’s People and Conservation Department (formerly called Social Ecology) and is yet another way in which the KNP strives to improve relationships with the communities living outside its boundaries. This initiative is based on the concept of sustainable utilization of natural resources as put forward by organizations like the IUCN (World Conservation Union) and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism’s (DEAT) Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM).

In his address at the ceremony, Dr Mkhize said: “We are here today to do a very important task in the interests of conservation. We are here today to firstly strengthen our bonds with our neighbouring communities and, secondly, to help a very special group of people, the traditional healers.

“To quote the DEAT CBNRM guideline document, ‘CBNRM is about local people coming together to protect their land, water, animals and plants, so that they can use natural resources to improve their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren. It is a tool to enable every willing member to the community to play a part in improving the quality of people’s lives – economically, culturally and spiritually,’” Dr Mkhize said. He concluded by pointing out that the Kruger National Park remains the pride and joy of all South Africans and everyone should be able to receive benefits and, with projects of this nature, a win-win situation can be created:

“The traditional healers will be able to harvest indigenous trees – close to their villages too – and the integrity of the wilderness of the Kruger National Park will also be kept.” This first donation of 10 trees should be seen as a gesture of goodwill, and more trees will follow as the project unfolds.

The ceremonial presentation took place at the Skukuza Nursery, where most of the young trees presented were originally cultivated. Visitors to the KNP can buy indigenous tree saplings from the Skukuza Nursery.

… Ends

Giving trees: Representing the Makuya people, Tshililelwa Emmanuel Nephawe received saplings on behalf of the Traditional Healers in the Makuya region from KNP Executive Director Dr Bandile Mkhize.

Issued by:
Raymond Travers
Media Relations Practitioner
Kruger National Park
Tel: 013 735 4116
Cell: 082 908 2677

William Mabasa
HOD: Public Relations and Communications
Kruger National Park
Tel: 013 735 4363
Cell: 082 807 3919