At the start of Zimbabwe's land invasions, it seemed to me there was one story that was not being told the story of the animals, environment and the linked development prospects that were being tragically destroyed by President Mugabe?s political ambition.
I decided to go into Zimbabwe and investigate. It was a shocking journey that left me feeling very angry, deeply sad, and monumentally frustrated with a government that could so easily forget how vital it is to protect a country's natural resources, not only for the sake of the wildlife, but also for the welfare of the people.
Following this investigation, I wrote two articles which appeared in The Mail and Guardian in South Africa (Zimbabwe?s Silent Minority and The Parks of Peace), and a further detailed report which helped to encourage lobbyists and conservationists to rally in support of conserving Zimbabwe?s natural resources for future generations. Sadly, I fear there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done.
This was inspired after a 6-week stint filming alongside Afriscreen Films in Botswana for a production they were working on for the BBC Natural World series. I was filming and directing ?the making of? the production, and was completely awestruck by what it actually took to get this film made. Chasing a pack of wild dogs through the African bush requires nerves of steel, a garage full of spare parts for battle-wearied vehicles, specialist camera equipment, and the most wonderful passion and dedication from all the crew.
What is man without beasts? If all the beasts are gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected."
In the past year Zimbabwe has been a country shrouded in tragedy and rarely out of the news. Through President Robert Mugabe's government, the struggles of the landless and the landed have culminated in senseless injustice, debilitating petrol queues, power cuts, diminishing medical supplies, increasing unemployment, torture, intimidation and murder. None of this will be news to anyone, but there is a voiceless minority in Zimbabwe whose plight, as a result of this political upheaval, goes largely unreported.