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 Post subject: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:16 am 
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Introduction.

This inscription may be read on many cenotaphs commemorating those brave ones who made the ultimate sacrifice during combat.

I thought it applicable to this part of the forum; about those who made what we enjoy today, what many of us regard as our heritage, something very special which we all should treasure and respect, belonging to all SOUTH AFRICANS – the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

Something that was handed over to Mother Nature to take care of by the Great Creator of which we now also are Fellow Custodians.

What I have posted here is done with the kind cooperation of many participants, who have and still are spending many hours of their time, sharing the history of their great passion, with me.

What amazed me was their willingness to participate, for this I thank every one of them.

The Rangers.
The Ladies.
Dr Rocco Knobel.
Decoration for Bravery.
Prof. Dr. FC Eloff.
Ampie Espag
Ben Pretorius.
Fanie Botha
G.L. van Rooyen.
The Orpen Family.
Herbert Lang.
Hennie Carlson.
Ted Whitfield
Lynn Van Rooyen
Douw Swanepoel.
Louis Olivier
Zirk Kruger.
Dr. VALERIUS DE VOS.
Anthrax.
Dr. Freek Venter
Oom Hans Meyer.
A M Brynard.
G.A. Robinson
Tertius Minnie
Ben Lamprecht
Mike English
Man’s Best Friend.
Harold Mockford.
Gus Adendorff
H.S. Caldecott.
Dr. Ian Player
Trix Olivier.
H A Schreiber
Daniël Mabunda.
Irene Grobler
Johan Kloppers
Dr. Eddie Young
Dr. Ian Player Receives Peter H. Capstick Hunting Heritage Award
Herman v/d Veen
Butch Smuts
Stephan Stephansen
J A B Sandenbergh
Johan Sithole.
Corporal Nombolo Mdluli
Dr. Roy Bengis.
The Selati Railway line

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:23 am 
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The Rangers.

This special group of people, wearing the epaulettes displaying the Kudu horns sloganned with “CUSTOS NATURAE” in their Khakis, Greys or Greens proudly displaying “the badge” who are often romanticised, and envied, are indeed custodians of our heritage.

The Rangers have a very close bond; they have absolute trust in one another. Whether white or black did not matter; all were dedicated to their duty; looking after their KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

They are a special breed of man, fit, bright eyed, neat, well organised and with a love for Mother Nature with all her diversity as well as a knowledge unsurpassed. Yet humle.

The Rangers in a Section operate very closely together whether out on patrol, repairing water pumps or wind mills or drinking troughs, or just observing or fighting a veldt fire or culling excess game animals (the task they hated most), or assisting the scientists and veterinarian staff in their duties

Last two mentioned that they could hardly do their duties unless the eyes and ears of the Rangers were not very wide open.

Many poachers are arrested with their snares and often with the poached meat, ivory or Rhino horn, after tracking them in the bush in the hot sun or laying in ambush; all for long periods and sometimes just while out on patrol.

Field Rangers live in posts away from the civilization of rest camps enjoyed by visitors to the Parks, with often just the barest of necessities available.

These people risk their lives for the protection of the wild animals. Very often poachers are arrested and then handed over to the Law. Very clever defence Lawyers are appointed and are then put to often excessive hazardous cross examination in an attempt to free the offenders. Fortunately they are honest and tell the truth and stick to it, lately very few poachers caught are not found guilty, unfortunately fines are very often not deterrent enough and they return.

Many Rangers are threatened and harmed; many of the black Rangers cannot retire at ”home” for the fear of being tracked down by their former adversaries, many of the older staff preferred staying in the Park’s employ until their time came. Vengeance was sworn against the captors who were often ambushed when they ventured outside the confines of the Park. Many Black women caught with venison in their possession also often swore that the meat was given to them by Black Rangers – a more subtle attempt to discredit these brave men.

Many poachers have well trained dogs who never hesitated in attacking the Rangers when confronted or come across their masters. Many a Ranger was beaten up and often left for dead by poachers some paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Others were killed by wild animals.

Four unarmed Rangers were one Saturday on their way along the Gomondwane Road by bicycle. Rounding a corner two Lions blocked the road and immediately charged the cyclists. The four Rangers left their bicycles and made for the bush. James was last of the four and was caught long before he could reach the safety of a tree. The other three had from their trees to sit and watch, their friend being mauled and eaten. The occurrence came to an end after James had been totally devoured. After finishing the Lions sauntered off into the bush. The remaining three Rangers set off to Crocodile Bridge reporting the incident to Ranger Steyn.

The following morning the Ranger and of his assistants set out and soon came across the man eaters who were dispatched of in the reeds.

One day Ranger Mankoti was on patrol near the Phaben creek and the Sabie River As he descended the banks of the creek, a Lion pounced on him, Mankoti who was a good shot managed to get off one shot, wounding the beast before it was on him, attacking with great ferocity. In the struggle that followed Mankoti stabbed the Lion three times in the chest and behind the shoulder blade. The Lion collapsed, the wounded Mankoti crawled to the river to quench his burning thirst . . . . where his lifeless body was found by his father also a Ranger in the Park, who went to investigate the prey of the circling vultures.

Ranger van Reenen van Vuuren mentioned the following instance: the car of visitors broke down near Crocodile Bridge, his staff reported this to him and they went out to assist. Fortunately not much was wrong and the fault was easily repaired. As the grateful visitors left they heard the beating of drums from across the river. The father then said “they are beating the drums sending a message that we are OK and on our way”.

Helfase Nkuna died in the Park at the age of 85 years, still employed in the Park. Thys Mostert Ranger of the Pretoriuskop area often said that he would never employ a Black man without first consulting Helfase. Thys often said Helfase had sound judgement, maybe because he himself was a man of such unusual character.

The fires were kept burning through the wake during the night near to the hut where the body lay in state the night before the funeral, while all the Rangers slept outside according to custom and as a mark of respect . . . .

30 Rangers formed a guard of honour along the way to the tomb that had been cut in the stony ground where Helfase had served for most of his life. Mrs. Hilda Stevenson Hamilton also passed through the guard of honour with the other mourners following the coffin, made of the hide of a freshly slaughtered ox, holding the body of THE GREAT ONE.

Dr. Tol Pienaar paid tribute to The Great One and the many other Black Rangers who had for many years rendered such sterling service to the Park. He said that Helfase was a courageous man, who had made indelible tracks and who cast long shadows in the Park, he was a giant among his colleagues, who helped make the Park what it is today.

As the Warden was speaking the coffin was gently lowered in the soil of AFRICA, the uniform of Helfase with all the buttons removed as well as his cap were placed on the body of the man, who had worn it with pride for so many years, before the grave was finally filled in.

Dr. Pienaar ended by “We are now giving you the Royal Salute, Bayete” to Helfase and all the others.

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:58 pm 
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Another very interesting and informative topic of you gmlsmit :clap: :clap:
I really enjoy eading these stories :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:26 am 
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The Ladies.

Many men joined SANPARKS as bachelors and after a few years, convinced a young lady that being the wife of a Ranger has its rewards.

These special ladies are also people who love nature and also do not mind living away from the hustle and bustle of the conveniences and lights and privileges of the so called civilization, and also not joining the gossip or bridge clubs and also not having a weekly appointment with the hairdresser or the beautician.

Living out in the bush far from most; often caused the lady of the Section to be the nurse of the staff when injured or sick.

She often had to spend days on her own while her husband is out on patrol or in ambush awaiting poachers or repairing fences or windmills or borehole pumps or dams or roadways or fighting a veldt fire or doing a game count or catching game.

Doing shopping was a major pre planned exercise, what you forgot had to wait until next time.

Being the wife of a Ranger also had many benefits; she was part of a close caring community of people who had the love for nature in common.

Soon; the lone bachelor pad would be converted into a home with a neat garden, vegetables and fruit would be grown, flowers and a lawn would soon attract birds, butterflies and grazers and browsers and often something eating the grazers and browsers.

She would bake and prepare and share.

The lady of the Section would often be hostess to visitors, many of them distant relatives who now came to improve the previously neglected family bonds, or some newly acquired friends met a wedding or just somewhere.

She almost always had a hand reared, previously orphaned little animal or two or three maybe four in the house or in the garden or somewhere.

When the visitors arrived she often had to warn them against a butt from the cute little Bushbuck or Impala fawn or a little Warthog or a playful scratch or nibble from a cuddly little Genet or Badger or maybe a little cub.

She also had to accept that these were wild animals and not domestic pets; eventually they would have to be returned to nature where they had to live their wild lives according to the laws of the bush.

She had to take care of the providers of fresh eggs; the chickens, as Pythons Genets and other predators as well as raptors found them easy prey.

Often she and her husband, their children and the staff had to wait for the flooding rivers or creeks to get back to normal, before they could leave the area to go about doing their things.

The mother of the children had the joys of being able to bring up her children as a close knit family; caring and sharing with one another, laughing and playing and doing things together.

They were soon taught to ensure that the gates had to be kept closed, how to fill up the generator and water pump with diesoline and how to start and shut them down.

They read books and drew sketches and played games and just enjoyed being a family.

At dusk they would sit outside and watch the day come to rest, they would listen to the sounds of the dark and find comfort and joy in one another’s presence.

Later when the children had to go to school, she had to help them pack and prepare and take them and say her goodbyes with a lump in her throat and return to an emptier home, she would fetch them for the holidays and again they would be a complete family.

The Rangers must have always made the right choice when proposing to a lady, as none of them were ever let down by their choice.

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:50 pm 
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Dr Rocco Knobel.

I had the privilege of meeting this remarkable man in 1967 and later had a few chats with him at the Old Head Office and also in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

Dr. Rocco Knobel was born in Kimberley on 16 Sept 1914, the son of a missionary in the then Bechuanaland and a school teacher.

His first years of schooling were done under the guidance of his mother.

He matriculated at the Hoër Volkskool Heidelberg.

His first ideal was to become a clergyman and spent his first year at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He then moved to the University of Stellenbosch here shared a room with the later Justice Piet Cilie, while studying he decided to become a Social worker. Majoring in Psychology and Sociology. He attained his Masters Degree in 1937 his thesis being “Youth organization in District 6”.

His first employment was as at the Dept. of Welfare of the Johannesburg City Council, where he was the youngest appointee in the position of First Vice President of the Department.

After leaving the Municipal service he joined the Council for the Needy and the Poor of the N.G.Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church), as an executive member for the Transvaal.

Mr. Rocco Knobel was the first Chairman of the Association of Social and Welfare Workers formed during 1949.

Rocco Knobel and his old school love Yvonne, also from Kimberley, got married in the N.G.Kerk Braamfontein, in 1952.

He spent 15 years being involved in Social Work in South Africa.

The young Knobel always had dreams of one day being involved in the National Parks Board.

The Hoek Commission was appointed in 1951 to investigate and recommend the reorganisation of the National Parks Board and its activities. One of their recommendations was that a Chief Director be appointed.

One evening while making snippets from the news paper Mrs. Yvonne Knobel showed her husband an advert in the newspaper – the advert for the appointment of the Director of National Parks. She also drew his attention to the fact that the closing date for applicants for the position was the following day.

After considering the advert, Rocco decided to submit his application.

Soon a shortlist of 5 was drawn up and he was one.

Rocco Knobel did not regard the possibility of him being appointed too well as he was the only one with no earlier contact with the Board or its members. He went for the final interview and left. Arriving home his wife met him at the door and congratulated him on his appointment as the first Director of the National Parks Board.

He started his new career on 1 April 1953.

Unfortunately many jealous individuals and other parties believed that this was a political appointment.

Soon after his appointment he was to meet the KRUGER PARK Warden at Pretoriuskop regarding the Drilling of boreholes for water supply to the Camp. The Warden never arrived as it was Easter week end. The Chief Director then went to Satara where he found the employees busy building in the Camp Extension Project. He was annoyed of then being working on a religious holiday and stopped the work. He was also unsure about the availability of sufficient water for the enlarged tourist facility and put the project on hold until convinced that sufficient water was available.

He then arranged for water to be supplied to Pretoriuskop by tanker until sufficient water could be supplied from natural sources.


The following National Parks were proclaimed during his tenure:

Aughrabies National Park.

Golden Gate National Park.

Tsitsikamma National Park.

Groenkloof National Park.

Karoo National Park.



He was always of the opinion. As man being the most selfish creature on earth, would not preserve anything not being for its own benefit or gain, Nature should be not only preserved for Nature but also for mankind. Man was after all reliant on Nature and its resources for its own survival.

At a meeting held in Dec 1957 the Board reviewed its policy on tourist facilities and laid down the following guidelines. “The KRUGER NATIONAL PARK may not be developed into a commercialised recreation resort, and a tranquil bushveld atmosphere conducive to spiritual enrichment must be retained”.

“Rules and regulations must be applied stringently and any tourist who transgresses and disturbs the tranquillity should be apprehended and informed that he is unwelcome in the Park”.

Some of Knobel’s philosophies:

Despite its importance he did consider the economic value of a national park its most important attribute. He said “the most important value of a national park therefore appears to be the recreational value, not in the narrow sense of physical recreation but in the true sense including, spiritual, intellectual and physical renewal”. The challenge for tourism was to find the most acceptable compromise between the maintenance of the pristine attributes of the natural assets of conservation areas and the provision of the most rewarding and beneficial experience for visitors.

To achieve this objective the following had to be considered:
A sound scientific knowledge of the natural and ecological assets of an area was required, as this was a prerequisite for its scientific management and optimal use.

All visitor amenities in conservation areas should be managed directly by the controlling body. This would enhance the development of tourist facilities in a way compatible with the natural features of conservation areas.

The most important purpose of a national park is to afford the visitor the opportunity to commune with nature and become mentally and spiritually recreated. Allowing so many persons into a natural area that the visitor becomes more conscious of the large number of people surrounding him than of nature itself, defeats the whole object of the Park.

As there is no real rule of determining the allowable number of visitors, a questionnaire with well prepared questions be made available to visitors and interested parties periodically and then carefully analysed.

The large gathering of people for whatever reason should be kept to an absolute minimum

Visitor accommodation should never compete with nature, also meaning it should never be the main draw card . . . .

Visitors should be encouraged to prepare their own meals over an open fire. The objective to create urban conditions had to be kept as small as possible. He concede that although the provision of firewood was becoming a problem, the wood could be cut into smaller pieces and the fires could be made in better heat retaining devices. Quote” I just cannot accept coal and gas fires as part of the bushveld or the Park”.

As the supply of firewood was raised as concern during 1958, it was resolved that as from 1959 cut wood would be purchased and made available at Skukuza on an experimental basis.

The Director of National Parks of South Africa was awarded a Doctorate in Mathematics and Physics by the University of Pretoria in 1975 for his contribution to Nature Conservation.

Dr. Knobel was very strongly opposed against the opening of a road between South Africa and Mozambique, despite pressures from the neighbouring country and commerce in his own country.

Dr. Knobel as a Sociologist in the world of Biologists was always very optimistic about the future existence of Nature Conservation in South Africa. South Africa was a world leader in Nature and Wildlife Management. South Africa would find marketing itself without the assistance of its heritage National Parks, very difficult.

The South African public and the foreign visitors would never accept the destruction of this heritage.

He was a great advocate for Transfrontier Parks; where animals could migrate over International Borders as their circumstances would require and still be protected.

Dr. Rocco Knobel was very strongly opposed to Mining and Agricultural activities in National Parks as well as to the Commercialization and Privatization of National Parks activities.

Mrs. Yvonne Knobel was instrumental to the formation of the congregation of the Skukuza Dutch Reformed Church. She was also involved in fund raising for the erection of the church building and personally collected R 17000 towards this action where many people staff and visitors attended also interdenominational church services.

Dr. Knobel often said that the assistance and inspiration of his wife made his job very much easier and simpler.

Mrs. Knobel a keen wood carver donated the “Yvonne Knobel Trophy” which is annually awarded and proudly displayed by the winners of the Best Camp Competition.

Dr. Rocco Knobel served for 27 years, retiring in 1979 at the age of 65 years.

After retirement Dr. Knobel served as member of the National Transport Commission for 7 years.

He was also a member of the Bophuthatswana National Parks board.

Dr. Rocco Knobel was a founding member and first Chairman of the South African Nature Foundation.

He was the last of 17 founder members of the World Wildlife Fund.

He served on the SA Tourist Board (SATOUR) of which he became Chairman for 23 years, under his guidance; many offices were opened in other countries.

Dr. Rocco Knobel was awarded the South African Decoration for Meritorious Service Class 1 Gold in 1987.

He was also awarded the Bophuthatswana decoration Grandmaster of the Order of the Leopard in 1980.

Dr. Rocco Knobel was also awarded the decoration Grand Commander of the Golden Ark by Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands.

The Knobel couple enjoyed travelling nationally as well as overseas.

After their retirement they settled in Pretoria, the cycads in their garden still reminding them of the many enjoyable years spent during their association with the South African National Parks.

Dr. Knobel enjoyed playing snooker and bridge; he later very often complained that he was running out of partners.

The time for this great yet humble man came a few days before his 88th birthday in September 2002. Mrs. Yvonne Knobel is still living in Pretoria.

Their daughter Estelle negotiated with Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands to become the first patron of the SA Police Unit for the protection of Endangered Species. This hunter and nature conservator was the inspiration to this Unit of proud and dedicated men who brought many poachers and smugglers to book.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:28 am 
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Gmlsmit, I have only just found this thread.

I would just like to thank you, most sincerely, for your very valuable contributions and research that you have put into many of your threads. Many of our posts will disappear into forgotten memory, these will last for as long as the forum has life. :clap: :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:14 pm 
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Decoration for Bravery.
It was realised that very often deeds of bravery pass unrewarded.

The principle of acknowledging bravery was approved in March 1985.

A committee was formed to investigate to draft a proposal for the Board’s own decoration for bravery.

The Cross being internationally recognised as a symbol for bravery, the Sabie Cross was proposed; the name was later changed to the Kruger Cross.

Three categories were proposed:

GOLD – for death defying deeds of exceptional bravery.

SILVER – for extraordinary deeds of bravery in life threatening circumstances.

BRONZE – for acts of bravery in life threatening circumstances.

The proposed decoration would consist of a Cross bearing the Board’s emblem attached to a ribbon with the Board’s colours. The categories would be distinguished by yellow stripes on a green background.

Three yellow stripes for the GOLD Award.

Two yellow stripes for the SILVER Award.

One yellow stripe for the BRONZE Award.

A set of rules for the Award, Wearing and Recalling of the Awards were also drawn up.

The KRUGER CROSS as an Award for bravery was approved in 1987.

Some Recipients of the Award

Robert Mavimbele, Louis Olivier and Albert Maluleke.

On 19 October 1987, 5 illegal immigrants from Mozambique were apprehended late afternoon at the low – level bridge at Crocodile Bridge.

They were taken to the Ranger’s quarters and subjected to a body search. One opened fire on Ranger Louis Olivier. Ranger Robert Mavimbele came to his assistance and was shot.

Olivier was grappling with the first illegal immigrant, although wounded Mavimbele came to Olivier’s assistance. The second illegal immigrant opened fire at the Rangers, including Ranger Maluleke who had come to assist Olivier and Mavimbele.

All three Rangers were exposed to gunshots at close range.

The 5 illegal immigrants fled into the night.

Upon arrival at the hospital it was found that Ranger Mavimbele was carrying six gun shot wounds.

It was agreed by the Board at a meeting held in November 1987, that:

“The KRUGER CROSS SILVER be awarded to Ranger Robert Mavimbele for his extraordinary deed of bravery on 19 October 1987, in life threatening circumstances”.

“The KRUGER CROSS SILVER be awarded to Ranger Louis Olivier for his extraordinary deed of bravery on 19 October 1987, in life threatening circumstances”.

“The KRUGER CROSS BRONZE be awarded to Ranger Albert Maluleke for his act of bravery on 19 October 1987, in life threatening situations”.

Michael Nkuna.
Ranger Michael Nkuna on 7 June 1992 while being held poachers and covered by an automatic fire-arm jumped forward to warn his colleagues of the impending danger.

At a Board meeting held November 1992 it was agreed that:

“the KRUGER CROSS SILVER be awarded to Ranger Michael Nkuna for his act of exceptional bravery in the face of danger to his own life on 7 June 1992 , he risked his own life in circumstances of dire personal danger, by jumping forward, while being retained by poachers and covered at close range by an automatic fire-arm in order to warn and protect colleagues, and thereby at the same time exposing himself to their defensive gunfire”.

Phineas Rhilamphu - (posthumously).
While Mr. Phineas Rhilamphu, the water pump attendant at Balule and his wife were fishing in the Olifants River on 10 April 1988, an Elephant arrived.

Mrs. Rhilamphu recalled the circumstances “within a short while we heard an Elephant making a noise very near to us. We ran away but in different directions, the Elephant followed me, charging, when the Elephant was very near to me, my husband saw that my life was in danger. He turned in my direction, and grabbed me by the hand so that we both could run in the same direction. Unfortunately I tripped over a shrub and fell down. He kept on pulling me away from the charging Elephant. I remember seeing my husband also on the ground while holding my hand. We both fell on one place on our backs . . . . . he said to me ‘try to free yourself and run away if you get the chance’ ”

Mr. Phineas Rhilamphu made the ultimate sacrifice when trampled by an Elephant while trying to save his wife.

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:41 am 
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gmlsmit wrote:

Phineas Rhilamphu - (posthumously).
While Mr. Phineas Rhilamphu, the water pump attendant at Balule and his wife were fishing in the Olifants River on 10 April 1988, an Elephant arrived.

Mrs. Rhilamphu recalled the circumstances “within a short while we heard an Elephant making a noise very near to us. We ran away but in different directions, the Elephant followed me, charging, when the Elephant was very near to me, my husband saw that my life was in danger. He turned in my direction, and grabbed me by the hand so that we both could run in the same direction. Unfortunately I tripped over a shrub and fell down. He kept on pulling me away from the charging Elephant. I remember seeing my husband also on the ground while holding my hand. We both fell on one place on our backs . . . . . he said to me ‘try to free yourself and run away if you get the chance’ ”

Mr. Phineas Rhilamphu made the ultimate sacrifice when trampled by an Elephant while trying to save his wife.


Wow, that is so sad :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:12 am 
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michaelpr. I can only agree with you. :(

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:27 am 
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...Thank you GMLSMIT.

Before reading your thread I understood what nature conservation, passion and intergrity meant until now. It has given me a whole new perspective for what it truly is.

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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:28 pm 
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Interesting, stunning, scary and sad stories in all this!

Thanks Gmlsmit!

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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:51 pm 
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Prof. Dr. FC Eloff.

Frederick Christoffel Eloff was born on 18 May 1920 in the Pietersburg district in the than Northern Transvaal. After matriculating at the Pietersburg High School in 1936 at the age of 16 years, he joined the Pretoria University in 1937 as a first year student with Zoology and Botany as major subjects. He successfully completed his Bsc. studies in 1939 when he was awarded his degree at the age of 19 years.
After graduating he was appointed a technical assistant at the Pretoria Zoological Gardens on 1 December 1939, where he worked for three years. He had close contact with Dr. R. Bigalke and Dr. TG Nel. Fritz Eloff was awarded his M.Sc. degree with honours in 1942 by the Pretoria University.

Fritz Eloff applied for a position as lecturer in Zoology at his alma mater and was appointed in 1943- then 23 years of age.

Two of his seniors, being Proff. B Engelbrecht HOD Botany and DE Malan HOD Zoology both assessed the lecturer in Zoology as “a calm, pleasant, steady good natured and likable young man, who can get on well with people”, a characteristic that he displayed right through his life, wherever and whenever.

Frits Eloff become Doctor FC Eloff when he was awarded a D.Sc. with distinction at the age of 26 years in 1946.

He also lectured at the Pretoria Technical College, teaching Zoology to pharmacy students.

Dr. FC Eloff was awarded the prestigious British Council Travel Bursary in 1951 – allowing him a full year of overseas study. He worked in close collaboration with Professor A D’Bellairs for six month extending his interest in comparative anatomy. While in London he lectured the Fauna Society on “Wildlife Preservation in South Africa”. He also lectured to the Zoological Society of London. He then moved to the Hubert Laboratory in Utrecht the Netherlands where he studied Experimental Embryology.
Dr. FC Eloff became Prof. FC Eloff at the age of 34 when he became the HOD Zoology of the Pretoria University on 1 July 1954, succeeding the earlier mentioned Prof. DE Malan who had retired.

Prof. Fritz Eloff kept very busy by running the Department Administratively and lecturing and by looking after his post graduate students by being their promoter. He was elected Chairman of the Board of Control of the Transvaal Museum in 1964. He was elected as a Member of the Advisory Committee for Nature Conservation of the Transvaal in 1965. He was member of the Scientific Advisory Council for National Parks and Nature Reserves and the National Committee for Fauna Research in 1964.

As HOD he created opportunities which allowed him to develop his interest in nature conservation in general and mammalian fauna in particular allowing him to make a major contribution in these fields.
The decision in principle was made in 1962 a one year of study, honours degree in Wildlife Management be established at the University of Pretoria. Such a degree would attract a limited number of students, the course was launched in 1965, and Professor George Petrides of the Michigan State University was the first visiting lecturer.

Dr. Anton Rupert the President of the South African Nature Foundation came forward and offered a grant sufficient to establish a permanent Chair of Wildlife Management at the University of Pretoria. Professor J. du P. Bothma an ex student of Prof. Eloff became the first permanent occupant of the Eugene Marais Chair of Wildlife Management at the Pretoria University in 1970, with Prof. Fritz Eloff as a member of the Board of Control.

The course was a great success; it has done great deal for Wildlife Management in South Africa and gave Prof. Eloff much satisfaction.
Prof. Eloff realised that the great diversity and wealth of southern African mammals opened a large field of study for post graduate students, even from other countries. He wrote a letter to the University authorities envisaging a research section within his department where students could be taught the methodology of research and resultant techniques. The request was granted provided again that funding be acquired. Dr. JAJ Meester was appointed the first Director of Mammal Research Institute which became reality on 1 April 1966. The Transvaal Department of Nature Conservation provided the initial funding; assistance was given by the Washington Smithsonian Institute. Professor Skinner succeeded Professor Meester in 1972.. Prof. Fritz Eloff not only brought forward his brainchild, he also carefully guided it through to adulthood.

“The mammals of the southern African sub-region” by Dr. RHN Smithers published in 1983 was indeed one of the many good results bearing its roots in the MRI of the University of Pretoria.

Prof. Fritz Eloff was awarded the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Bursary in 1967, he took leave and made first hand study at American Universities and Nature Conservation agencies. He visited the American Society of Mammologists in North Carolina and the Biological Sciences in Texas, delivering a paper titled: “ Observation on the behaviour of the gemsbok”.

His real interest was shared in 1971 at the international symposium “The Ecology, Behaviour, And Conservation of the World’s Cats”, at Laguna Hills, California – his contribution- a paper titled “ Ecology and behaviour of the Kalahari lion ( Panthera leo vernayi)”.

Dr. Fritz Eloff was appointed to the National Parks Board of Trustees in 1971 and Chairman of the Board in 1979, indeed a well earned acknowledgement of his contribution to the Wildlife and its Preservation in South Africa.

Professor Fritz Eloff retired HOD of Zoology at the end of June 1985 after 44 years service. He is an honorary member of the Endangered Wildlife Trust since 1973, he has been a member of the South African nature Foundation since 1968, he was Chairman of a Committee formulating the plan for the conservation, management and utilization of nature reserves in the Namibian areas of Damaraland and Kaokoland during 1975-1977.

Fritz Eloff was a keen sportsman he was the TUKS heavyweight champion in the early 1940s, he captained the 1st Under 19 Rugby teams during 1938 and 1939, he also Captained the 1st Rugby team of TUKS 1941 to 1948. He represented the Northern Transvaal Rugby Union in nine matches, playing in every forward position except that of hooker.

After being the Secretary of the NTRU for two years he became the President of the NTRU in 1965 a position he held with dignity and distinction. Prof. Fritz Eloff was elected vice President of the South African Rugby Board in 1977; he was also a member of the International Rugby Board, just another example of his leadership capabilities.
Fritz Eloff married Valerie Schraader on 20 December 1947; they are blessed by their two daughters Elize and Marita and today also are loving and caring grand parents.

His happiest times were spent in the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, where he spent his time with his Kalahari Lions, the Kalahari Bushman and his friends the le Riche Family. The area Loffiesdraai is named after – Professor Fritz Eloff, who else.

I can still clearly remember when Frans, a Bushman tracker told me around a camp fire in the Nossob Rest Camp during November 1973 about the exploitations in the veldt with Lions with Professor Fritz and baas Elias and Vetpiet, quite humorous and very very interesting. His smile and shining eyes while telling me about their next adventure scheduled for December of that year,still today, clearly jump to mind.

Listening to Professor Eloff talking in his quiet knowledgeable way always left a lasting imprint on the minds and the memories of his listeners, whether they were laymen, students or well learned. I remember listening to him talking about the Lions of the Kalahari or those roaming the Serengeti plains or the Ngorongoro crater floor or the Etosha bush or those of the Lebombo plains.

I will always remember his kind and respectful ways in which he spoke about, so well informed and yet so humble.

To me he created such a craving to visit these places and also experience what this man who always was prepared to also listen, was talking about . . . not only once.

It is evident that Prof. Fritz Eloff has done much for conservation in southern Africa and at the same time still is “a calm, pleasant, steady and likable good natured peron, who can get on well with people”.

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:11 pm 
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:D :o :D Thank you for this thread :thumbs_up:

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Bev

DONT WORRY.... BE HAPPY!

back to Kruger for new year 2011.
then again HR Indaba May 2011.
Christmas 2011 - Agulhas Nat Park!


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:41 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
Gmlsmit, once again this is goosebumps stuff.
Thank you for all the time you are putting into bringing us the stories of these extraordinarily people.
You truly are a great ambassador for the Kruger Park and conservation.

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"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:02 pm 
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Thank you!!


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