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Barend was born in 2001 in Trichardt, Mpumalanga. He attended Boerefort Primary School in Pretoria but in 2011 moved to Switzerland with his family where he completed his primary education at La Côte International School Aubonne, Switzerland. Barend completed his high school education at the International School of Geneva, Switzerland, matriculating with the International Baccalaureate Careers Programme (IBCP) qualification.
Having a deep love for nature and interest in conservation Barend decided to pursue a career in Nature Conservation. In 2020 he successfully completed a 23-week Bushwise Field Guides Course in Limpopo, South Africa, as well as a Research course with Bushwise in conjunction with Rhino revolution and Global Vision International (GVI) in the latter part of 2020.
Because of his passion for nature Barend in 2021 enrolled for the in the Diploma in Nature Conservation at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). Barend is currently doing his Work Integrated Learning for the completion of his Nature Conservation diploma. Barend has a deep passion for Entomological studies and ecology.
Priority Species Monitor
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Dave was born and raised in Durban, where he went onto complete his BSc at the University of Natal, Durban and then his BSc (Hons) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. During his undergraduate years, he was privileged to assist various departmental staff with research projects in game reserves across South Africa where he developed his love for wildlife, the outdoors and game reserve living.
He went on to complete his MSc which focussed on millipede, centipede and scorpion diversity in the Greater Makalali Conservancy where he remained on, for a year, as the Head of Research before moving across the road to Karongwe Private Game Reserve where he worked for Global Vision International undertaking priority species monitoring. Thereafter, he undertook his PhD on the habitat suitability of klipspringer and rock hyrax at Augrabies Falls National Park followed by a short period as a post-doctoral researcher in Kruger National Park determining the effect of elephants on large trees.
Following this, Dave again worked for Global Vision International as their Expedition Manager at Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve followed by a stint as a post-doctoral researcher at Addo Elephant National Park, where his work focussed on the effect of lions and spotted hyaena on the buffalo population. Dave then moved to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP), where he held the position of Park Ecologist for a period of 15 years before moving to Welgevonden as the Research Ecologist. While working for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in HiP he also Chaired the KZN Wild Dog Management Group and the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Elephant Management Plan Review Committee and assisted on various national forums.
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Boitumelo grew up in Pretoria and she recently completed her Nature Conservation diploma. She is thoughtful, attentive, intuitive person with a passion for nature, the protection and management of the environment and her family.
She wants to pursue an advanced diploma to further her career in nature conservation. Boitumelo is an avid adventurer and nature enthusiast who has recently discovered a passion for capturing the beauty of wildlife through photography.
Once her Work Integrated Learning year at Welgevonden was complete she was appointed as the Media & Communication Coordinator.
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Kassie was born in 1981 in Pretoria and attended Pretoria Technical High School in Pretoria Gardens. After finishing school in 1999 he joined the Fire Brigade as a reservist. In 2001 he joined a Cash-in-Transit company as a protection officer where he completed various courses in security and protection. In 2006 Kassie qualified in Firearms training and special tactics and became part of an elite training team in 2006.
Kassie joined QUEMIC’s training division in 2008 and moved to Welgevonden in June 2011 later becoming the QUEMIC Security Manager responsible for Welgevonden and all the associated anti-poaching and security. Kassie now manages the company Welgevonden Reaction NPC, responsible for anti-poaching, access/ egress and fence maintenance on the reserve as well as co-managing the Greater Marakele Security Cluster initiative between Welgevonden, Marakele National Park and the surrounding areas.
Kassie manages the company Welgevonden Reaction NPC since 2016 responsible for all security related matters on the reserve, as well as co-managing the Greater Marakele Security Cluster initiative between Welgevonden, Marakele National Park and the surrounding areas. Kassie is a contributing member of various National and Provincial Committees that focus on wildlife crime.
Zweli was born in Mpumalanga, Manyeleti in Dixie village, and is currently completing his practical for the completion of his Nature Conservation diploma. After completing his matric year at Manyangana Secondary School, he enrolled at Nelson Mandela University to study Nature Conservation diploma. Zweli is an intuitive person with the aim to protect and give back to nature.
Kutaza was born and raised in the rural areas of Eastern Cape. Growing up in the villages surrounded by untamed landscapes and coupled with the responsibilities of taking care of livestock and hunting made Kutaza to casually fall in love with nature. Kutaza followed his passion and studied Nature Conservation at Nelson Mandela University.
He did his Work Integrated Learning in various reserves and completed it at Welgevonden Game Reserve whilst monitoring African Wild Dogs for Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
Brilliant Khanyisile Khowa grew up in Mpumalanga in a small town with the love for animals. As such, Nature Conservation was the only field she saw fit for herself.
She is currently doing her practical year and she plans on furthering her studies and finding her niche in conservation.
Welgevonden Environmental Awareness Programme (WEAP) Coordinator
Moji grew up near Brits in the North West province of South Africa where he matriculated in 2001. He has always wanted to be involved with environmental education for community youth. After he matriculated, he worked at a factory and in his spare time he was heavily involved in anti-poaching activism, organising rallies and protests to take a stand against the rhino poaching crisis.
This led to the pursuit of a career in anti-poaching, with Moji taking up a position as an anti-poaching ranger in 2009 based in Naboomspruit, after which he received his qualification. His love and passion for the environment drove him to take up the position as the WEAP coordinator in 2017, where he has since thrived, living out his dream of bringing environmental education to the youth and impacting lives in the surrounding community.
Senior Accounts Assistant
Mariaan was born and educated in Natal where she matriculated from at Greytown High School in 1985. After a stint in the army, she moved into administration working for Nissan and Parmalat for a number of years. In 2007, when her husband moved to Vaalwater, she came to Welgevonden as senior admin and accounts assistant.
Reception & Administration Assistant
Johanna was born and educated in Vaalwater for both primary and high school. She furthered her schooling at Tshwane University of Technology where she obtained a National Diploma in Human Resources and Management with payroll certificates.
Her internship was completed in Kruger National Park based at Skukuza camp after which she was employed at Absa Bank, where she worked from 2015 – 2021. She joined Welgevonden Game Reserve as the Reception and Administration Assistant in April 2021.
Koos was born, grew up and currently lives on the farm Uitval, which is close to the Reserve. He attended Hans Strijdom High School matriculating in 1979 and joined the permanent force with the Airfield Maintenance Unit, building and maintaining airfields throughout South Africa and Namibia. It was here he started his apprenticeship, and qualified in 1986, as both a petrol and diesel mechanic, specialising in earth moving equipment.
Later he worked for Nissan South Africa in their Truck Division in the building and rebuilding of Samil 20, 50 and 100 trucks for the military as well as their Kwêvöel derivatives. He moved to Samancor Eastern Chrome, where he worked on underground drilling rigs, loaders, transport vehicles and pick-ups, primarily working on the electrical and hydraulic aspects.
At the end of 2016 he moved back to the farm Uitval and has assisted the Reserve workshop on a part time basis when required. He was employed as the Workshop Supervisor and Mechanic as of April 2017.
Margerie Aucamp was born on the 19th of March 1990 in Pretoria. Driven by her passion for wildlife, she went on to obtain a Diploma in Nature Management and later kick started her career at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre. Hereafter, she went on to guide at Pilanesberg Game Reserve for three years where she realised her passion for scenic and wildlife photography.
Margerie joined the Welgevonden team in 2019 where she is employed as a volunteer research programme coordinator. She has a great passion for both nature and people, making this the perfect fit.
Mongezi Nene was born and raised in the small town of Nongoma, KwaZulu Natal. After matriculating from Mlokothwa High School, he went on to study Nature Conservation at Tshwane University of Technology.
In 2017, Mongezi was appointed as a WIL student at Welgevonden in 2017, later moving into the security department in 2018 where now manages the Joint Operations Centre (JOC). The JOC serves to ensure that every occurrence, incident, or event of any kind is handled fitly.
Philip was born in 1977 in East London and attended Grens High school in the Eastern Cape province. After matriculated in 1996 he joined a cash-in-transit company as a protection officer where he completed various courses in security and protection and left the company in 2010 as a Chief Protection Officer.
Philip joined QUEMIC in February 2010 as the Security Manager for Sabi Sand Wildtuin where he managed the anti-poaching operations and relocated in 2013 to Hoedspruit as the QUEMIC Area Manager of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga projects. Philip joined Meletse Private Game Reserve situated in the Rooiberg, Limpopo Province in April 2017 as the Security Manager who managed the anti-poaching operation, access, and egress control on the Reserve. Philip joined Welgevonden Reaction team in May 2021 as the Security Manager.
Assistant Conservation Manager / Compliance
Thuto-Boago Ngongwane was born in Kimberley in the Northern Cape province and raised in Taung Village (home) in the North West province. He grew up under the guidance and care of his grandparents, who taught and moulded him to be the person he is today. The love he has developed for nature started at home, driven the responsibilities of by farm life. This love grew further visiting his mother in various National Parks.
Thuto decided to pursue Nature Conservation chasing the passion and playing his part in conserving wildlife for present and future generations. After completing his WIL year on Welgevonden Game Reserve he stayed on assisting at the biomonitoring camp and thereafter went on to be the assistant conservation manager of the reserve.
Born in 1990 in Nelspruit Mdu completed his schooling years at Khutsalani School where he matriculated in 2009. Mdu developed an interest in conservation through his school years and became passionate about nature conservation with a dream of working in the field. This passion led to Mdu being appointed as the first student by the Southern African Wildlife College in Hoedspruit to do conservation guardianship. He graduated as the top student and was given a bursary to further his studies in Tshwane University of Technology. He chose a Diploma in Nature Conservation and completed his experiential training at Welgevonden Game Reserve.
His goal is to make a difference in the conservation industry with the ultimate goal of potentially specializing in water conservation in South Africa. Due to Mdu’s passion and dedication he was appointed Operations Officer after his practical year taking over the running of operations from the retiring Hennie Roets. Mdu is responsible for all road maintenance and water infrastructure and assists with conservation aspects of the reserve management.
Mdu is responsible for all general operations which includes road maintenance, water infrastructure, fuel provision, management of garden and refuse teams as well as assisting with conservation aspects of the reserve management.
Armstrong was born in 1997 in Elim in Limpopo. He attended Mbokota Primary School in Limpopo and later Maruatona Primary School and Tlhapi Moruwe Middle School in Mooinooi, Northwest matriculating at Rakgatla High School. Armstrong has had a passion for nature and its functions since he was young and decided to study Nature Conservation when he was 16 years old.
In 2016, he enrolled for a National Diploma in Nature Conservation at Tshwane University of Technology. In 2018, Armstrong was selected as one of two students to do his Work Integrated Learning (WIL) at Welgevonden Game Reserve as the final step to completing his diploma. In 2019, He was appointed as a Conservation intern at Welgevonden for two years and he also enrolled for a Baccalaureus Technologiae (BTech) in Nature Conservation at Tshwane University of Technology.
In January 2021 Armstrong was appointed as the Conservation Officer at Welgevonden. He stood in as an Acting Conservation Manager from 1ST May 2021 to 16 August 2021 and from December 2021 to May 2022. In June 2022, Armstrong was appointed the Conservation Manager. Armstrong has a big interest in conservation management as well as the role of animals and birds within the environment.
Chief Executive Officer
Born in Johannesburg and having matriculated from Blairgowrie High School in 1986 André completed a B.Sc degree in Zoology and Botany, as well as a B.Sc. Honours in Wildlife Management at the University of Pretoria. Thereafter he spent 3 years in the Kruger National Park studying the nutritional ecology of bushbuck and nyala at Pafuri while at the same time being involved in and being exposed to all aspects of wildlife management in the Kruger. A move to the Klaserie Private Game Reserve managing a private property and camp, taking out childrens’ educational groups, guiding and hosting the owner’s guests kept him busy for approximately three years.
In June 1997 André joined Welgevonden as the Conservation Officer later becoming the Conservation Manager for the Reserve. He also stood in as Acting General Manager for 6 months in 2012 and in March 2014 was appointed Chief Operating Officer where he became responsible and/or involved directly or indirectly in the majority of aspects relating to the Reserve’s management. After a full 24 years on Welgevonden André took up the role of Chief Executive Officer.
Fredwin was born in Nuwerus and raised in Strandfontein, Western Cape. He Was intrigued by the Knysna forest and fell in love with nature. Fredwin first pursued IT as a career path and realized that IT was not meant for him. He decided after his IT career path that he wanted to gain as much experience as possible in the outside world. With his search, nature found him again.
He started his Nature Conservation studies at Nelson Mandela University George campus. Fredwin completed his Work Integrated Learning Year at Welgevonden Game Reserve. He is currently working as the Conservation Officer at Welgevonden Game Reserve. Fredwin want to leave behind a more sustainable environment that future generations can benefit from.
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