Name: Michael Schwartz
African Field Experience: Since 2005
Affiliations: BBC Wildlife, East African Wild Life Society, Mongabay, National Geographic Society
Focus: lion, elephant, & rhino conservation, human-wildlife conflict, poverty reduction
Favorite Place: Welgevonden Game Reserve, South Africa
Inspirations: Rachael, the African people
My love of Africa began around 1989 in Schenectady, New York, mostly through National Geographic Magazine and PBS's Nature with George Page. Though a world away, I was thoroughly hooked.
The first journey was in 2005, visiting South Africa's Limpopo Province, then spending time in Johannesburg's Soweto township. From stepping foot in former President Nelson Mandela's home to watching street musicians and passers-by on a warm, sunny South African Sunday morning, Soweto was where I discovered that my passion for Africa's wildlife was matched by compassion for the African people -- their history, cultures, songs, stories, languages, and love of life.
With a BA in journalism and MA in African Studies, I've since journeyed throughout much of the continent, both as a wildlife conservation researcher and journalist. The goal is to see Africa's wildlife and peoples as they really are, and to document (as accurately and objectively as possible) the complexities involved in preserving the continent's natural heritage, mostly by listening to and learning from those living alongside dangerous, truly awesome animals. Such is a continent of innumerable, immeasurable extremes.
Hambani Kahle. Musiibe bulungi.