On Friday 30th March we received the very sad news that our head game guard, Siboniso “Michael” Mabaso sadly passed away. Michael had been sick for some time after developing an infection and had taken an extended period of leave to recover. His commitment to his work during this time however never faltered and he fought very hard with his illness so that he could return to UmPhafa but unfortunately it finally got the better of him.

Michael was as an exceptionally dedicated man whose commitment to conservation knew no bounds. He was integral to the running of the reserve, having being there since the very beginning, and he was very respected by the game guards under his charge. He did not have an easy life growing yet there was not an ounce of bitterness in him. Instead he turned every spare minute of his free time into helping others in the community, providing extra tuition sessions at the local school and drastically improving the exam pass rate for his students.

Michael remains an inspiration to others and touched many people’s lives. He was incredibly charismatic and his enthusiasm and friendliness never failed to bring a smile to the face of anybody that ever met him. As a member of the UmPhafa team he will be sorely missed, as a friend he is irreplaceable.

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