Remembering Nelson Mandela, founding patron of Peace Parks Foundation

Mandela Day is celebrated every year on 18 July, in celebrations of Tata Mandela’s birthday. The day has become much more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy. It’s now a global movement to honour his life’s work an act to change the world for the better.

Mandela himself had many passions, one of which was the conservation of Africa’s rich natural resources. In actual fact, together with the late HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Dr Anton Rupert, he was one of the three founding patrons of Peace Parks Foundation.

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Mandela’s involvement with Peace Parks Foundation was far more than just that of a figurehead, and he actively supported the foundation’s work. Few occasions showcased this better than October 4, 2001 when he opened the gate between Mozambique and South Africa to allow the truck, transporting the first elephants translocated from South Africa’s Kruger National park to Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park, to cross the border.

“I know of no political movement, no philosophy, and no ideology which does not agree with the peace parks concept as we see it going into fruition today. It is a concept that can be embraced by all,” he said at the occasion. “In a world beset by conflict and division, peace is one of the cornerstones of the future. Peace parks are building blocks in this process, not only in our region, but potentially the entire world.

Today, his message still rings true; perhaps more than ever.

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