Lente Lidia Roode
Lente Roode is well-known in South African wildlife and conservation circles.
In 1950 Lente’s father, Willie Schürmann, bought a 2000-hectare farm in the Hoedspruit district in the Northern Province of South Africa which today forms part of the Kapama Private Game Reserve (situated close to the Kruger National Park in South Africa).
It was during her childhood that she developed her love for animals, the African bushveld, and for the farm, which she visited at every opportunity. This was the beginning of a life-long passion for conservation of the cheetah, and of all animal species.
As a child of six, Lente was given an orphaned cheetah cub after a neighboring farmer shot the mother. They called her “Sebeka” and she soon became part of the Schürmann household. Together, Lente and her mother (a nurse) lovingly cared for the animal. Lente and her cheetah were inseparable.
After completing her studies in education, Lente married Johann Roode in 1970.
In 1985, Johann and Lente bought their first farm on the border of her family’s land in Hoedspruit. Lente then inherited her father’s farm. They acquired more land by buying adjoining properties, and the first venture that they undertook was to ranch with a herd of Bonsmara cattle. Typical of Johann this was done with thorough attention to detail. The battle with the predators continued, and at the same time Lente’s longing to be involved on the farm and her need to work with animals developed. The decision to change to game farming became inevitable. Further land was acquired and Kapama Game Reserve, 12 500 ha in extent, came into being.
As cheetahs were listed as endangered in the Red Data Book of the Mammals of South Africa, at that time the idea to establish a cheetah-breeding project on Kapama developed. This facility would be tasked with breeding the species for possible reintroduction into the wild, as well as providing research opportunities to scientists in zoological and veterinary fields. It would also ultimately serve as an educational centre.
It was at this stage that Lente contacted Des Varaday (a well-known cheetah breeder whose facility was located near Middelburg in Mpumalanga Province) in the hope of acquiring a few cheetah. Lente had known Des from childhood when he used her cheetah Sebeka in his book entitled “Gara Yaka”, and as the subject matter for other detailed illustrations.
Fate is an amazing thing. Des asked Lente if it would be possible for her to take custody of all thirty-five of his cheetahs. His motivation was that he was getting too old to look after them, and that he needed a suitable owner to take responsibility for them.
Lente agreed. The then Department of Nature Conservation of the Transvaal facilitated the transfer of the animals from Varaday, in order for Lente Roode to continue the breeding programme on Kapama Game Reserve.
With the help and guidance of the late Professor David Meltzer of the Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Science (at the University of Pretoria) and Des Varaday himself, they planned and developed the infrastructure of the Centre and built the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project (H.C.P) within a year.
It took another year for the animals to settle properly into their new environment before the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project opened its doors to the public in 1990. Tourism, together with sales from the curio shop, helped to generate some of the income needed to run the Project on a day-to-day basis.
The inclusion of other species into the Centre’s breeding programme necessitated the name change from the H.C.P to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (H.E.S.C).
Adine was born in Pretoria on the 9th October 1973 to Johann and Lente Roode (joining sibling Bernard). She was schooled in Pretoria from 1979 to 1991, and showed a particular interest and talent in sports and photography.
Adine had wildlife in her blood from the start. Her earliest memories of the bush are drawn from the Roode family’s many visits to the Kruger National Park, and to MalaMala Game Reserve (one of South Africa’s conservation pioneers who made the transition from a hunting to a photographic safari). Holidays were spent on her father’s reserve, where this feisty youngster earned her keep by doing jobs which included checking the power supply on the fences, conducting tours at the HESC, and eagerly assisting with veterinary duties.
She completed her tertiary education at The University of Pretoria, achieving a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Honours) in Accountancy.
Adine worked at her father’s side in his business, and inherited his sound business acumen and commendable attitude in resolving challenging situations. It was from him that Adine learned that nothing worthwhile is easy. She would often hear him say, “The lift to success is broken. You will have to take the steps to achieve success.”
Adine moved to Hoedspruit in 2000 and lived on the reserve until 2005. In this very patriarchal Afrikaans community, she learned a lot about vehicles, field management, game counts, moving game, water pumps – and how to let a man think it was his idea (the most difficult task of all for a 26 year old girl). She grew up a lot during these character-building years.
After the tragic and sudden loss of her father and mentor, the family restructured the business. Adine and her mother took over the management of The HESC, and started Camp Jabulani (which opened its doors in 2003).
Adine has been integrally involved in the preservation of cheetahs for now, and for future generations. Over the years there is no doubt that she has proven herself to be a true wild life visionary, and is not scared to get her hands dirty either.
Adine then moved back to Pretoria to educate her children (at the same school she attended as a child). It was at that point that she took over the general marketing of Camp Jabulani. Through her efforts, the operation was able to support the elephants and HESC.
The part that really drives Adine in the world of conservation is the challenge to be part of The Creation, and to keep all living things alive. Says Adine, “If you work in nature, it is so much easier to feel and see a difference in what you produce. And it touches a very special place that I cannot possibly define! It also has ripple effects beyond just me and my immediate environment. It is really rewarding to know that I have been a part of something good and right.”
Adine’s lifelong goal is the preservation of vulnerable species.
Heidi & Allen Roberts
Several years ago, a New York couple visited Camp Jabulani. They fell in love with the herd of elephants, and with the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.
Allen and Heidi Roberts returned home from South Africa determined to help the founder of HESC, Lente Roode, with her work in rescuing endangered and orphaned wild animals. To that end they established ‘U.S. Friends of Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre’, and set about organizing a series of dinner parties with high profile guests in their Park Avenue home to fund it.
Their contribution, both financial and supportive, over the years cannot be overestimated, and it is thanks to them that HESC continues to operate. Their commitment to wildlife conservation in South Africa is proven, and it was only natural that they were approached to sit on WCT’s board of Trustees.
‘U.S. Friends of Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre Inc.’ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife. Charitable contributions are deductible for U.S. Income Tax purposes, to the extent allowed by law. EIN 13-4347275
Gert Cloete Gertzen
Gert Cloete Gertzen, world renowned interior designer and owner of GC Gertzen Interiors, has been in the interior design business for 39 years and recently moved from Pretoria to Franschhoek.
Gert Gertzen was born and raised in Pretoria and studied under the famous artist Walter Batiss. After numerous travels overseas where he gained knowledge and experience, Gert returned to South Africa in 1972 to manage Reney Otto Interiors. Ten years later Gert Gertzen Interiors was born, and today this humble man can proudly boast about his international reputation encompassing projects in Ethosha and the Kalahari; The Pulana Hotel in Maputo; houses in Geneva, London and Switzerland; ‘Tuinhuis’ in Cape Town; offices for FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela; and even the interiors of private jets!
Gert described his philosophy on designing: “Nothing is just decorative – it is very important that there are lots of hidden qualities.”
Some of Gert’s current projects include a penthouse in Clifton; a house in Wentworth in the United Kingdom; a private gym and spa in Bavaria; a lodge in Timbavati; and his ongoing project at La Petite Dauphine in Franschoek (where he is co-owner).
The Wildlife Conservation Trust is Samlam’s CSI project, and Marteen Michau (Head of Fiduciary) sits on WCT’s board of Trustees as their representative.
Her contribution is invaluable, as she is experienced as a fiduciary and tax specialist, having advised on tax and legal issues for the last 20 years at (inter alia) PWC, RMB Private Bank, Gerber Botha and Gowar.
Educational qualification: CA (SA; B Juris, LLB, CTA, Post graduate diploma in Accounting)
Sanlam Private Investments (Pty) Ltd: registration number 2000/023234/07.