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The Committee

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Zaitoon Rabaney

Independent Consultant

Zaitoon served the past 23 years (April 1996 to January 2019) in service of the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc), an NGO supporting the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).  She was appointed as Executive Director during February 2011 until January 2019.

Zaitoon studied Social Work at the University of the Western Cape majoring in Social Work and Psychology.

Her diverse career includes working as a social worker in various fields including court work, probation officer, work with the aged community as well as school social work.  Social development and uplifting and developing community members are some of her passions and voluntary work.

Rabaney supports environmental causes, animal welfare, education as well as women and children issues.  As a social scientist with qualifications in NGO management as well as business management, she is passionate about people development and upliftment.  She is a Trustee of the Botanical Education Trust, Durban based; Trustee Livingstone Educational  School Trust as well a supporter/contributor to other community based organisations in the education and children’s issues sector.

Zaitoon Rabaney

Independent Consultant

Zaitoon served the past 23 years (April 1996 to January 2019) in service of the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc), an NGO supporting the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).  She was appointed as Executive Director during February 2011 until January 2019.

Zaitoon studied Social Work at the University of the Western Cape majoring in Social Work and Psychology.

Her diverse career includes working as a social worker in various fields including court work, probation officer, work with the aged community as well as school social work.  Social development and uplifting and developing community members are some of her passions and voluntary work.

Rabaney supports environmental causes, animal welfare, education as well as women and children issues.  As a social scientist with qualifications in NGO management as well as business management, she is passionate about people development and upliftment.  She is a Trustee of the Botanical Education Trust, Durban based; Trustee Livingstone Educational  School Trust as well a supporter/contributor to other community based organisations in the education and children’s issues sector.

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Sarah Alcock

Group Head of Human Resources, Marketing and Communications at WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa)

Sarah is the Group Head of Human Resources, Marketing and Communications at WESSA, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa. She studied at the University of Natal Pietermaritzburg campus, now UKZN, where she obtained a B Social Science Hons degree (Cum Laude). She started her career in the development sector in the early 1990’s. Before joining WESSA, she worked for 15 years at a JSE Listed  company involved in HR and Business Process Outsourcing as a Business Unit Leader. Her experience ranges from HR management, marketing and communications, business management, and environmental skills training. She is deeply passionate about the development of youth and inspiring careers in the green and blue economy.

Sarah Alcock

Group Head of Human Resources, Marketing and Communications at WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa)

Sarah is the Group Head of Human Resources, Marketing and Communications at WESSA, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa. She studied at the University of Natal Pietermaritzburg campus, now UKZN, where she obtained a B Social Science Hons degree (Cum Laude). She started her career in the development sector in the early 1990’s. Before joining WESSA, she worked for 15 years at a JSE Listed  company involved in HR and Business Process Outsourcing as a Business Unit Leader. Her experience ranges from HR management, marketing and communications, business management, and environmental skills training. She is deeply passionate about the development of youth and inspiring careers in the green and blue economy.

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DR JOHN LEDGER

Environmental and Energy Consultant, Visiting Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, Consulting Editor, African Wildlife & Environment magazine

Dr John Ledger has had a varied career in several different fields, first as a Medical Entomologist at the South African Institute for Medical Research (1965-1983), then as Director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (1984-2002), Associate Professor of Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg (2010-2017) and Visiting Associate Professor at Wits (2002 to present). Currently he is an editor, writer and consultant in the environmental and energy fields. Together with Dr Peter Mundy, he was the Founder of the Vulture Study Group in 1973.

He is the author/ co-author of two iconic books (African Insect Life and The Vultures of Africa), many published scientific papes and numerous popular articles on the environment and energy. During his career he has conducted fieldwork in many areas of South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia.

DR JOHN LEDGER

Environmental and Energy Consultant, Visiting Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, Consulting Editor, African Wildlife & Environment magazine

Dr John Ledger has had a varied career in several different fields, first as a Medical Entomologist at the South African Institute for Medical Research (1965-1983), then as Director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (1984-2002), Associate Professor of Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg (2010-2017) and Visiting Associate Professor at Wits (2002 to present). Currently he is an editor, writer and consultant in the environmental and energy fields. Together with Dr Peter Mundy, he was the Founder of the Vulture Study Group in 1973.

He is the author/ co-author of two iconic books (African Insect Life and The Vultures of Africa), many published scientific papes and numerous popular articles on the environment and energy. During his career he has conducted fieldwork in many areas of South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia.

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Gabriel Sithole

Radio Brodcaster and Photographer

Born in a village of Eshane in Greytown, a rural area in Kwazulu-Natal midlands and had a fierce connection with nature. Now based in Durban and a veteran in the Media (Radio) industry, he was drawn to the world of photography by his late, who was a Photography Enthusiast.

The love of nature and Wildlife, was further fuelled by his mother passion for Wildlife, who would spend countless hours watching National Geographic productions on television. With an impression and mark left by his parents on these two different fields, Gabriel succeeded in carving his way into becoming a Wildlife Photographer.

He spent nineteen years as Radio Broadcaster in a number of commercial radio stations, such as East Coast Radio, Kfm 94.5, Gagasi Fm, Vuma Fm and others, in community level. He has evolved from a simple radio broadcaster, to tell Wildlife & Nature Conservation stories. His love for South African snakes, is fascinating and admired by many in a country, where certain pockets are still gripped by certain traditional beliefs and paralysing fear of snakes. Through this attention, he was able to reach curious minds in informally educating people about snakes and busting myths and unfounded beliefs. Some of these beliefs have been and still responsible for the unnecessary loss of snake lives.

In 2017, he became the Brand Ambassador for Ford Wildlife Foundation. This gives him the ultimate freedom to pursuit Wildlife & Conservation work across the country and truly living the motto for Ford South Africa..."Go Further." 

Due to his love for Wildlife and Nature which makes him one of the people who have truly experienced South Africa for what it is in terms of Travel. With the assistance of Tourism South Africa, he completed a course, purely focused on selling South Africa to the world in Tourism. He’s a “Certified SA Specialist in Wildlife &Scenic Beauty.”

He’s also a Brand Ambassador for American Tourister SA (A brand of Samsonite). A high end, premium brand Travel Luggage Carrier. 

Gabriel Sithole

Radio Brodcaster and Photographer

Born in a village of Eshane in Greytown, a rural area in Kwazulu-Natal midlands and had a fierce connection with nature. Now based in Durban and a veteran in the Media (Radio) industry, he was drawn to the world of photography by his late, who was a Photography Enthusiast.

The love of nature and Wildlife, was further fuelled by his mother passion for Wildlife, who would spend countless hours watching National Geographic productions on television. With an impression and mark left by his parents on these two different fields, Gabriel succeeded in carving his way into becoming a Wildlife Photographer.

He spent nineteen years as Radio Broadcaster in a number of commercial radio stations, such as East Coast Radio, Kfm 94.5, Gagasi Fm, Vuma Fm and others, in community level. He has evolved from a simple radio broadcaster, to tell Wildlife & Nature Conservation stories. His love for South African snakes, is fascinating and admired by many in a country, where certain pockets are still gripped by certain traditional beliefs and paralysing fear of snakes. Through this attention, he was able to reach curious minds in informally educating people about snakes and busting myths and unfounded beliefs. Some of these beliefs have been and still responsible for the unnecessary loss of snake lives.

In 2017, he became the Brand Ambassador for Ford Wildlife Foundation. This gives him the ultimate freedom to pursuit Wildlife & Conservation work across the country and truly living the motto for Ford South Africa..."Go Further." 

Due to his love for Wildlife and Nature which makes him one of the people who have truly experienced South Africa for what it is in terms of Travel. With the assistance of Tourism South Africa, he completed a course, purely focused on selling South Africa to the world in Tourism. He’s a “Certified SA Specialist in Wildlife &Scenic Beauty.”

He’s also a Brand Ambassador for American Tourister SA (A brand of Samsonite). A high end, premium brand Travel Luggage Carrier. 

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Yolan Friedmann

CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust

Yolan Friedmann is currently the CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT www.ewt.org.za), one of the largest conservation NGOs in southern Africa. The EWT currently employs ~100 staff members working across 70 projects throughout the sub-region.

Yolan has an academic background in Veterinary Nursing (Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty, University of Pretoria), a BA in English and Communications, an MSc in Environmental Studies (WITS) and an MDP from the Gordon Institute for Business Science (University of Pretoria). Yolan is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and is a Certified Director by the Institute of Directors South Africa. Yolan was the first female recipient of the SAB Nick Steele Environmentalist of the Year award, which she won in 2011. She was also the winner of the CEO Most Influential Woman in Business and Environment award in 2012 in the Environmental category; the recipient of the 2012 Green Globe award and a finalist in the 2015 South Africa of the Year Award in the Conservationist of the Year category.

Yolan is involved in many levels of conservation leadership and development and chaired the IUCN South African National Member’s Committee and the Regional Advisory Committee of the IUCN’s Regional Office for Southern Africa for 2 terms. She was the first South African to serve as a Regional Councillor on the Council of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and co-chaired the IUCN’s Constituency Committee for four years. She is an Advisory Board member of the Ford Wildlife Foundation and of the Global Change Institute (Wits University); and served on the Board of the Institute of Directors South Africa (IoDSA) for 2 terms. She is a judge of the Ecologic Awards, having previously judged the Green Trust Awards for several years and was a member of the Committee of Inquiry tasked with investigating the possibility of a legal trade in rhino horn, reporting to the Minister of Environmental Affairs.

Yolan is an avid long distance runner and competes with her dogs and horses in agility and dressage, respectively. 

Yolan Friedmann

CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust

Yolan Friedmann is currently the CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT www.ewt.org.za), one of the largest conservation NGOs in southern Africa. The EWT currently employs ~100 staff members working across 70 projects throughout the sub-region.

Yolan has an academic background in Veterinary Nursing (Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty, University of Pretoria), a BA in English and Communications, an MSc in Environmental Studies (WITS) and an MDP from the Gordon Institute for Business Science (University of Pretoria). Yolan is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and is a Certified Director by the Institute of Directors South Africa. Yolan was the first female recipient of the SAB Nick Steele Environmentalist of the Year award, which she won in 2011. She was also the winner of the CEO Most Influential Woman in Business and Environment award in 2012 in the Environmental category; the recipient of the 2012 Green Globe award and a finalist in the 2015 South Africa of the Year Award in the Conservationist of the Year category.

Yolan is involved in many levels of conservation leadership and development and chaired the IUCN South African National Member’s Committee and the Regional Advisory Committee of the IUCN’s Regional Office for Southern Africa for 2 terms. She was the first South African to serve as a Regional Councillor on the Council of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and co-chaired the IUCN’s Constituency Committee for four years. She is an Advisory Board member of the Ford Wildlife Foundation and of the Global Change Institute (Wits University); and served on the Board of the Institute of Directors South Africa (IoDSA) for 2 terms. She is a judge of the Ecologic Awards, having previously judged the Green Trust Awards for several years and was a member of the Committee of Inquiry tasked with investigating the possibility of a legal trade in rhino horn, reporting to the Minister of Environmental Affairs.

Yolan is an avid long distance runner and competes with her dogs and horses in agility and dressage, respectively.