Ndlopfu Gogos (Elephant Grandmothers) as Matriarchs in their own right
We fully believe that, like the elephants we study, the value of older individuals within societies should be harnessed to great educational value and far-reaching effect. Elephants are known for their so-called ‘senator effect’ where older individuals within their societies are respected as mentors and repositories of knowledge, allowing them to be fully integrated into day-to-day life. Within rural communities, the Grandmothers (Gogos) are not unlike the elephant Matriarchs, which are the leading grandmothers within an elephant herd. Likewise, human Gogos are also the backbone of society. They are the glue that holds it all together while youthful parents have to work far away or orphaned children are left destitute. In addition, these individuals have to work in the fields and are often left on the frontline of potential Human-Elephant-Conflict over limited resources. Gogos are the respected storytellers who carry the oral history of their people forward. They remember the days when we lived close to the land, integrated with wildlife and when Human-Elephant-Coexistence was the order of the day. The Gogos are the key to teaching the second and third-generation children about coexistence whilst huddled around the crackling fire at night. They are the moral fibre of the often poverty-stricken communities surrounding the Protected Areas. Sadly, some of these Gogos have never seen an elephant as fences and development have separated them from their roots.
Please help us to create opportunities for the Elephant Grandmothers to meet Elephant Matriarchs (older cows) and Mentors (older bulls). Their gentle wisdom will warm your heart as we share their experience with you on our Facebook page. Barriers and boundaries are broken down when the wise meet the wise. Fences become irrelevant as minds open and hearts are touched.
We choose Gogos that are linked to the Protected Areas through their employed relatives and we introduce them to elephants we have known for many years. We need your help to pay their taxi fares to reach the Reserves, their lunch, the professional time of Joel Sithole and Ronny Makukule as the elephant expert teachers and Wisani Ngwenya as the professional photographer from Wild Shots Outreach. We envisage printing and exhibiting their portraits to raise further funds for the project and eventually to buy a Ndlopfu Gogo Game Viewer so that we can run programs regularly!
Thank you for your contribution, you will not regret being part of Ndlopfu Gogos!