04/11/2015 - Press release

Kudu Awards Celebrate Conservation Giants

The South African National Parks (SANParks) supported by Total South Africa and First National Bank (FNB) recognised deserving conservationists at their 11th annual Kudu Awards ceremony held at CSIR Convention Centre in Pretoria this evening (16 October 2015).

According to Fundisile Mketeni SANParks CEO, “The Kudu Awards (and Chief Executive Awards) is cornerstone of an important initiative that recognises external stakeholders for their contribution and internal stakeholders for making South African National Parks the custodian of choice for the national parks system. SANParks also plays a significant role in the conservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage, thus protecting South Africa’s most valuable national assets.”

He said these awards honour people for their meaningful contributions to the protection of the environment through various means which reflects society’s admirable social responsibility. “This gives meaning to the SANParks vision of ‘A National Parks System Connecting Society’.”

“Total South Africa is proud to be partner with SANParks in the Kudu Awards, as these awards acknowledge and celebrate the brave and pioneering people who ensure that conservation remains a priority and they inspire and remind us through their work how important it is that we all care for the natural world. Our mission through this partnership is to highlight the importance of conservation and to instil a culture of pride in our natural heritage and a sense of responsibility for its ongoing preservation,” says Pansy Mekwa, General Manager Strategy, Total South Africa

As part of the awards programme SANParks also recognised long standing employees who have played a significant role in the national parks operations by bestowing a lifetime contribution Award. This award (Chief Executive Officer’s Awards) was granted to James Mokoena from Groenkloof National Park. Mr Mketeni said, “James has given 40 years of service to SANParks and he is totally dedicated to his work.”

Winners of the 2015 Kudu Awards in the respective categories are:

Associated Partners:

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Northern Cape, were recognised for the enormous support to jointly develop and support tourism in the national parks located in Northern Cape.

Business Partner of the Year:

Lukimbi Safari Lodge in the Kruger National Park for the best year-on-year business growth of all the Public Private Partnerships and for their financial contribution to SANParks.

Corporate Contribution (Non-Profit Making Organisation):

The Howard G Buffet Foundation is the one of winner of this year’s Corporate Contribution: Non-Profit Making Institution. This was in recognition of the funding that is assisting in addressing the scourge of rhino poaching in South Africa.

The Wild Dog Advisory Group of South Africa (WDAG-SA) is the other winner of this award for the management and conservation of the endangered African Wild Dogs for over 17 years. Through WDAG-SA there are 300 more wild dogs in South Africa.

Environmental Media: Best Journalist/ Best Online Journalist/ Best Publication, Programme or Website:

This year’s Environmental Media Award, Best Journalist of the Year went to Sheree Bega from Saturday Star. She consistently commitment and dedication to environmental and conservation issues.

Bonne de Bon received the Best Online Journalist in this category in recognition of her passion, balanced reporting on wildlife conservation issues and keeping the public updated and informed about environmental issues in South Africa..  

Bonne de Bon and Susan Scott received the award for best publication/ programme/ website in this category for their body of work which consistently provides in-depth reporting on rhino poaching issues and creates awareness in the local communities about the impact of rhino poaching to conservation and tourism.

Individual Contribution:

The recipient of this award, Lindelani Mjexane, was recognised for establishing and directing Beyond Expectation Environmental Project, a project that educates children on the importance of nature conservation. Mjenxane’s project has educated 7500 children so far in Table Mountain National Park.

Community Contribution:

In this category, Mothopong Community Project won for their efforts to conserve the environment through practising organic farming and removing alien invasive plants. They also play a role in eradicating poverty through donating produce from their gardens to poor households, crèches and schools.

Honorary Ranger Best Region of the Year:

This is the SANParks Honorary Rangers (a volunteer organisation working in national parks) Awards. This year’s winner is the Marakele Region. 

Honorary Ranger Best Project of the Year:

The second winner in the Honorary Rangers Awards is the Sand River bush camp.

Environmental Education/ Capacity Building Award:

Delta Environmental Centre received the Environmental Capacity award for their commitment to impart environmental knowledge to different communities and schools that they come in contact with.

The Awards evening also saw SANParks staff members being rewarded through the Chief Executive Awards. A total of 16 Chief Executive Awards were given out this year.



For previous media statements please go to www.sanparks.org


Issued by: South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications:

                 Tel: 012 426 5170


Enquiries: Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli: Acting Head of Communications. Tel: 012 426 5203 cell: 073 373 4999 or email: rey.thakhuli@sanparks.org

Nonkosi Dyantyi, Corporate Communications Manager, Total South Africa. Tel: Tel: 011 778 2144; Cell: 082 783 0436 or Email: nonkosi.dyantyi@total.co.za

Patty Seetharam, Senior Communications Manager FNB, Tel: 087 312 4639 or email: pseetharam@fnb.co.za

Gabrielle “Gabby” Venter, SANParks Manager: Media and Stakeholder Relations. Tel: 012 426-5065 cell: 083 825 9435 email: gabrielle.venter@sanparks.org