Lincoln Meyer joined Wilderness Foundation Africa 10 years ago as an Umzi Wethu student and is currently Projects Facilitator for the Youth Development Programme. Today we say farewell to Lincoln, as he relocates to Gauteng to continue his journey in a new position.
We caught up with Lincoln before his farewell for a quick interview.
“My life before Umzi Wethu was tough. I came from one of the poorest parts of the country – Pearston. It was isolated there and many people went to work on the farms. I didn’t want that for myself. I had nowhere to go after matric due to constraints of money. I was looking for an opportunity and Umzi Wethu gave me one. Umzi Wethu made me into the man I am today. It taught me to be less destructive and to have a more meaningful life. I was changed through nature and I want to teach other youth who are in the same situation as me to learn through nature, because I believe that will change their mind set.”
What has stood out for you during your time at Umzi Wethu and working for Wilderness Foundation Africa?
Umzi Wethu taught me everything - from guiding careers to learning people skills.
“I learnt to use your life as a tool to enhance other people’s lives.”
I was also very privileged to be exposed to incredible mentors such as Dr Ian Player and Andrew Muir.
Dr Ian Player was a very well read person. The biggest lesson I learnt from him is that he was always humble enough to know that in any situation someone can know more than him even though he had such a vast amount of knowledge. Everything he said was of significance to me because of this vast amount of knowledge he carried with him.
Dr Andrew Muir was someone I always looked up to. I viewed him as my idol and he was my mentor. It was because of Andrew that I stayed true to the Foundation and programme because I knew he was always looking out for me.
What was your biggest challenge at Umzi Wethu?
My biggest challenge was dealing with my own demons. I came from a government school and I always doubted where I was with my professional abilities. I needed to learn not to doubt myself and only through tough situations I managed to overcome my self-doubt. Umzi Wethu helped me to learn a lot about myself and allowed me to mature.
What are your dreams for the future?
One day when our paths meet again, I would like to come back to Wilderness Foundation Africa and continue this incredible journey. I would like to use everything I have learnt from Andrew Muir and lead the foundation as the CEO.
“Andrew inspired me to be a world leader and that woke something within me.”
What do you love about your job now?
“There is no greater Return on Investment than to see people living meaningful lives and becoming economically free.”
Seeing the impact I make on people’s lives is an amazing experience. My favourite moments are in class when students quote back to me in an argument what I had previously taught them. It makes me very happy to know that people are listening and to see the impact I can have on youth. I believe teachers should have a passion to teach and I definitely have that passion.
“Wilderness Foundation Africa should reflect on the good they do because thanks to them, 10 years of my life already has been changed. I went from the transition of coming from one of the poorest and isolated places to living and working in one of the richest places on the planet.” Lincoln Meyer