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News Release: SANParks announces winners for Conservation Awards

Date: 2011-12-06

Now in its seventh (7th) year the Kudu Awards strive to recognize external stakeholders for their efforts towards conservation.

This according to SANParks Chief Executive Officer, Dr David Mabunda, who said this a scheme that acknowledges those who have given financial and other resources to the cause of conservation, and made it possible for conservation agencies in general to operate in a conducive and enabling environment.

According to Dr Mabunda the awards programme has grown in size since inception and this year it was particularly stiff with entries from both small and large entities. “What is of great importance is to notice that a number of the winners are not only from affluent projects with lots of cash injection but are grassroot interventions with very little or no resources.

“These are the projects that I am personally most proud of and hope that the exposure and recognition they get in this prestigious platform will assist them in attracting sponsors who may help to grow the interventions and the impact in our communities.”

He also made mention of the fact that through these awards people are being honored for their meaningful contribution to the protection of the environment through various means which reflect societies admirable social responsibilities.

Dr Mabunda said being a finalist or a winner in a specific category definitely gives the entrants an enviable position amongst their peers… “and this assists in making the Kudu Awards one of the most prestigious and sort after conservation accolades in the country.”

Among the winners of these awards for contributing to local conservation are:

  • Corporate Contribution to Conservation Award (Group): Diamond Route

  • Business Partner of the Year: Rhino Walking Safaris

  • Environmental Media Contribution to Conservation Award (Individual)/Reporter: Dimpho Gopane of Motsweding FM (SABC)

  • Environmental Media Contribution to Conservation Award (TV Programme): Mike Vincent of 50/50

  • Community Contribution to Conservation: (Joint winners) Makuleke Community Property Association and the Mayibuye Ndlhovu Development Trust

  • Community contribution to conservation award - Honorary Ranger Region of the Year: West Rand Region

  • Community contribution to conservation - Project of the Year: Own the Night - anti rhino poaching

  • Environmental Education/Capacity Building (Individual): Nomonde Ntsundwana an educator from Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

  • Environmental Education/Capacity Building (Group): Piet N Aphane High School in Zebedial, Limpopo

A Lifetime Contribution Award was presented to Mayedwa Kilani who spent 49 years as a Mountain Zebra National Park employee before retiring in 2005.

Internal staff members were also bestowed with "top achievers" awards, known as the Chief Executive Awards. This national award recognizes their dedication and selfless efforts towards achieving the goals of the organization from across 22 National Parks under SANParks management.

The Chief Executive Awards are meant to encourage staff to do their work with 'pride and joy' and to always view this organization as their personal business. “It is for this reason that we need to celebrate these achievements by paying tribute to those who worked effortlessly in putting our parks on the forefront of conservation.”

Issued by:         
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli, General Manager: Media, Events and Stakeholder Relations, Tel: (012) 426 5203 /073 373 4999, e-mail:

For media enquiries:                     
wanda mkutshulwa, Head of Communications, tel: (012) 426 5170 / 082 908 2692, e-mail:

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