With global green awareness currently rising, conservation heroes tend to be very public individuals, whose achievements are well documented in the media. Amongst these is a small cohort of people whose actions go unnoticed, but whose efforts almost subconsciously inspire those around them to care more for our planet: We know them as “unsung heroes”. Namibia's Ou Jan Tsumib is one such person.
Ou Jan, a Hei//om bushman, born in the wilds of Etosha, has spent an entire lifetime looking after the land he was born on. He addresses the wildlife, the plants and the changing seasons of the bush with a father-like voice and speaks of elephants and mopane trees as equals to himself. He worked in conservation all his life for no other reason than to get him closer to the soil that supports the life he so admires ,and in so doing has acquired an unequaled understanding of the web of life in this domain. He has also influenced everyone he has had contact with by generously sharing his knowledge and inspiring them to care more about the natural world.
Winner of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, Ou Jan Tsumib’s quiet voice, dignified manner and wealth of understanding about the world around him make him a true conservation hero.