The Imbewu project is run as a joint partnership between the Wilderness Foundation and the People & Conservation Department of the South African National Parks. Imbewu (meaning ‘seed’ in isiXhosa), is one of the main projects that fall under the Wilderness Foundation’s Leadership and Education Programme.
Imbewu aims to introduce disadvantaged senior scholars to their natural and cultural heritage through a four day wilderness excursion in selected South African national parks including: the Kruger National Park, the Tsitsikamma National Park, the Addo Elephant National Park, the Namaqua National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Imbewu is a catalyst (seed) project designed to develop young black leaders in an environment which stirs healing and the planting of new skills by:
- Introducing youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to experience the wilderness environment in our National Parks.
- Providing youth with an opportunity to rediscover the relationship between their cultures and nature through the teachings of elders in a wilderness setting.
- Delivering a youth empowerment initiative that offers a quality experience which restores self-identity and natural heritage links, developing an environmental consciousness.
The Imbewu trails operate by the minimum impact rule and trails are therefore limited to eight learners at a time. Learners are led by an elder (a retired Parks Field Ranger) and one SANPARKS Field Ranger (currently employed by the Parks) on each trail. The “wise people” or “elders” share their accumulated wisdom from lifelong work in the parks and from traditions learnt from their forefathers.
Imbewu trails form an integral part of the selection process for the Wilderness Foundation’s Umzi Wethu social intervention project. Learners from Umzi Wethu are also exposed to the Imbewu trails for experiential education and personal growth during their time at the Umzi Wethu academies.
Imbewu targets approximately 200 disadvantaged senior scholars annually and has reached approximately 10 000 children since it was first launched in the Kruger National Park in 1996.
“The Wilderness Trail was great and I am looking forward to go on another trail because I’ve learnt many things about nature, that I’ve got to look after it as much as I can because its good for our lives and I learn more about nature.”
“I learn a lot because each and every time I go on trails I learn how to appreciate nature and how to communicate with all living things, because all living things are connected.”
Role of the Wilderness Foundation in the Imbewu project:
People & Conservation Department of the South African National Parks
Expected Duration of project: