We give tribute to a man who embodied the spirit of conservation, combined with respect for culture and spirituality. World renowned for Operation Rhino, which started in the iMfolozi Game Reserve, Dr Ian Player contributed significantly towards saving the White Rhino from extinction. He also achieved wilderness status for both iMfolozi and the St Lucia wilderness reserve and introduced wilderness trails to the Natal Parksboard.
Dr Player counted as one of his greatest friends and mentors wilderness guide Magquba Ntombela, saying “During my 40 years’ involvement with conservation I have met many remarkable people ranging from princes to scientists and political leaders. But my beloved friend, mentor and wilderness guide Magqubu Ntombela was unique. He taught me the real meaning of hlonipha (respect) and ubuntu (compassion).”
An active sportsman, like his brother Gary Player, Ian Player was involved in establishing the Dusi Canoe Marathon and won the first race despite having been bitten by a night adder during the course!
May Dr Player’s values of adventure, conservation and respect live on in us as he rests in peace.