Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize today paid homage to a man dubbed the pioneer of nature conversation in the province, Magqubu Ntombela.
Dr Mkhize and the King were joined by world renowned nature conservationist Dr Ian Player and Tabete Nomadiphu Ntombela, Magqubu’s wife, at the unveiling of a monument to his memory in Emachibini in Mtubatuba. Tabete, a descendent of King Dingiswayo, is estimated to be over 100 years old.
“This is a testament to Ntombela’s dedication to saving the environment, and without his contributions, some of our animals would have been long extinct,” said Isilo.
He said the community should pick up where he left off and fight against the rhino poaching which is threatening to wipe out the rhino population.
“You cannot stand by the side-lines and say you cannot get involved when you know very well who the poachers are because they live among you. It is your responsibility to alert the law enforcement agencies so that we can ensure a sustainable future for our environment,” said Isilo.
Dr Mkhize said Ntombels story is very inspirational because it shows how much can be achieved when individuals dedicate themselves to fighting for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Magqubu was born in 1900 in the Ongeni area in Zululand, married to Tabete, a descendent of King Dingiswayo. He is credited for dedicating his entire life towards the conservation of nature and wild animals from 1914 until 1993.
In one of his books, Dr Player, who shared friendship with Magqubu for 40-years, describes him as his guide and mentor. He notes that the successful and pioneering work carried out in Operation Rhino in the early 1960’s was as a result of Magqubu’s dedication.
“Magqubu knew the ways of animals so well that he could think as they did… his skill was far more than just powers of observation. He was in the animal’s mind – I sensed an understanding between himself and the hunted buffalo that I would never be able to achieve. You cannot measure his practical and philosophical contributions to conservation.
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Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier