In 2016 I travelled to South Africa to visit The Black Mambas - the worlds first all female anti-poaching unit operating in the Balule Game Reserve in South Africa. Coming from disadvantaged communities and breaking strong patriarchal tradition, these courageous women focus on eliminating illegal wildlife trade through conservation, education and the protection of wildlife, helping to ensure the long term survival of threatened and endangered species in the area. Each day they patrol up to 20km, unarmed, looking for poachers, wire-snares, and break-ins along the fence line. Their lives are at constant risk from poachers and the dangerous wildlife they protect.
It is their belief that the war on poaching will not be won with guns and bullets, but through education within their local communities.
The Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit www.blackmambas.org
The Black Mambas are Nkateko Letti Mzimba, Cute Grace Mhlongo, Felicia Mogakane, Belinda Mzimba, Qolile Mathebula, Kedibone Malatji, Nomsa Mokgadi Malungane, Lindiwe Labina Pilusa, Remember Dikeledi, Nesti Suzen Mohale, Patience Maphanga, Thato Moroni, Amy Clark, Lukie Mahlake, Winie Nyathi, Collen Mathebula, Proud Mkansi, Dedeya Nkwinika, Happy Nkwinika, Boetie Nkosi, Maseke Tribe, Joshua Nyoni, Christopher Khwakhwa & Given Ndlovu.
Directed & Edited by Dan Sadgrove
Producers: Dan Sadgrove and Nadine Brown
DOP: Jason Hearn
Sound Mixer: Mike Nyembe
Music: Hanan Townshend
Sound Design: Morgan Johnson
Thanks to Gabriele Neukom, Johan Grobler, William Hodgson, Lisa Trueman, Craig Spenser, Peter Sherlock, Skip Margetts, Craig Siney, Maseke Primary School, Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center, The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Rhino Revolution, Kinyonga Reptile Center, Farm Films Productions, Barking Owl Sound and MPC London.
The Black Mamba APU relies heavily on donations. Donations can be made to the Black Mamba APU thru Rhino Mercy at: www.rhinomercy.org.
In Memory of Siphiwe Sithole – died 2nd November 2016
Ulale ngokuthula dadewethu.
Rest in peace, my sister.