The uBizo Lwemvelo team
Sicelo Cabangani Mbatha, owner and manager of Umkhiwane Ecotours, was born and raised in the deeply rural area of kwaHlabisa. He is a philosopher, a humanist and conservationist, who is passionate about people and the environment, and believes that connecting with wildlife is critical to the cultural and spiritual health of his community, and of humanity in general.
He studied Wildlife Management after matriculating in 1998, then worked as a volunteer for EKZN Wildlife in South Africa, performing various tasks such as black rhino monitoring, lion call-ups, and alien plant control. In 2001 he began training at the Wilderness School to become an official Wilderness Guide. In 2004 he received his qualification in guiding, and began leading his own trails in the Imfolozi Game Reserve, St Lucia, and the Drakensburg. In 2010 he launched Umkhiwane Ecotours with the aim of developing local communities, increasing awareness, and helping to conserve the flora and fauna outside of the protected areas.
Umkhiwane Ecotours is currently working with Menzies Aviation and Maasai Camel to help develop rural communities for the benefit of the local people through voluntary team building activities. This has resulted in the building of a local preschool, with a vegetable garden to provide food for the local children, and water troughs for the livestock. This initiative aims not only to improve the quality of life in these communities, but also to ignite a flame of humanity, respect, compassion, positivity, and caring in the hearts of all involved.
Sicelo will lead the Ubizo Lwemvelo trails with the help of his close associates at Umkhiwane Ecotours.
Intokozo Youth Community Development
Intokozo Youth Community Development is Public Benefit Organisation that was established in 2010 to support community based projects such as Home Based Care, Art and culture, Youth empowerment and skills development. It has been involved in a number of projects in the Imfolozi area, including:
- mentoring young matriculants in the process of job seeking and job creation;
- counselling and providing life skill support to child-headed households;
- facilitating the delivery of skills training in First Aid, home based care and community health;
- building environmental skills such as brush cutting and alien clearing.
It is well placed to provide the logistic support to assist with identifying suitable candidates for the Ubizo Lwemvelo experience, and to support them on sustaining what they have learnt on their return to the community.