Verloren Valei pays tribute to Magaduza Makuwa

Mr Makuwa leaves behind a proud legacy of service to conservation in the Steenkampsberg.

At a function on 26 August 2022, Verloren Valei bade farewell to Magaduza Makuwa, who has retired after 42 years on the reserve, where he served as General Assistant.

Magaduza Makuwa at his farewell party at Verloren Valei, 26 August 2022

He is part of the large local Makuwa family, of which no fewer than five members have served Verloren Valei since its proclamation in 1983. Mr Makuwa is one of those people who can turn his hand to anything, and this quality will be sorely missed by future reserve managers. His long service at Verloren Valei meant that he was a well-known figure in the Dullstroom area, not least because of his willingness to assist in fighting runaway fires on neighbouring farms.

He was involved in a serious accident while burning firebreaks at Loskop Dam Nature Reserve in 1995. A careless driver overturned the vehicle carrying 24 firefighters, and Mr Makuwa was seriously injured. He had to undergo brain surgery but luckily survived.

“I was very thankful for our Saviour that He brought him back,” says Frans Krige who, at the time, was Reserve Manager. During that period, Mr Makuwa’s wife, Martha, joined the reserve and was trained by Lindy Rodwell of the South African Crane Group. She later became the first surrogate mother for the wattled cranes being bred on the reserve. Read more about the crane project on Verloren Valei.

Frans Krige (far left) and Shirley Sibiya (far right), former and (just) current reserve managers, with some of the farewell gifts presented to Mr Makuwa (centre left); Regional ecologist Jannie Coetzee is centre right

“It’s very sad that we are losing somebody of this calibre. I will remember him as a very brave and strong man,” says Mr Krige. “Hamba kahle, madoda!”

Everybody associated with Verloren Valei wishes Mr Makuwa well in his new venture.

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