Meet Kabelo Mlambo, fondly known as Shimmy, from our team at Morukuru Family Madikwe

When Shimmy joined our family 7 years ago, he was part of our maintenance crew, making sure everything was kept in tip-top shape. From simple DIY jobs to comprehensive projects, Shimmy was our go-to guy to get things done. At Morukuru Family we have an ethos of continued training and self-development for our staff, and when Shimmy decided that he wanted to upskill and take his career to the next level we supported him all the way. Today he is a qualified Tracker Level 3 with his FGASA 1 Theory Exam successfully under his belt and his Practical assessment now awaits him. The Fields Guides Association sets the standards and the level of professionalism for anyone wanting to get into nature guiding and is a highly respected brand within the tourism industry. We are so proud of Shimmy for seizing this opportunity to advance in the tourism industry and we count ourselves lucky that he is now part of our guiding team. Congratulations Shimmy all your hard work has paid off!  

Where did you grow up? I grew up in a small village called Obakeng in rural North-west province. I am from a family of five and we were all lucky to be raised by two loving, strong parents. Life was not easy but they were always there doing their best to put food on the table and to build a better future for us. I am where I am today because of them.

Explain how you took the decision to train in a totally new field - and commit to getting your FGASA 1 qualification. I made the choice to change my career path because I love challenges and enjoy learning because that is how we humans grow. Most importantly, I want to thank my loving beautiful wife who encouraged and supported me in this industry. Before I started working at Morukuru Family, I had a dream; I wanted to achieve something like becoming a lawyer, but because of financial challenges, I couldn’t fulfil such a dream. However, I did not give up wanting to grow and I committed to getting my FGASA 1.

What were some of the challenges you faced - working full-time and studying? Juggling work and studying is never easy. I had to keep up with my job responsibilities and hit the books. I was determined that neither work nor studies would suffer - so I cut back on my sleep and managed to keep on top of everything.

Did the guiding, ranger and trackers at Morukuru Family Madikwe support your new journey?  I am very grateful and blessed to have such a loving, encouraging team in my corner, it really helped. My managers were especially supportive. What was the favourite part of your studies? I really enjoyed expanding my digital literacy and getting stuck into research as well as learning the tracks of the animals.  

Now that you have the initial training under your belt - what part of your new role do you enjoy the most?  It means a huge amount to me to be a professional - someone who has signed up for a qualification and completed it successfully.

Can you share your favourite guiding moment to date?  It was when we were on game drive with Evan and I was on the tracker seat. An elephant came straight towards us and was so close. I didn’t flinch. It was then that I realised I was born to be a guide!   Do you have a mentor at Morukuru Family Madikwe - and how much have you learnt from the team of wilderness experts?    Yes, I do have mentors. Working with a group of experienced people is a great help when you are building your career. The team here has definitely contributed to my skills and knowledge.

  What’s next for Shimmy - are you planning to continue with other courses?  I have got the studying bug and next on my radar would be qualifications in agriculture and tourism from a leading academic institution.

What do you say to others who want to make a change in their career - and do you have any tips for those hoping to take a new work direction?  Never give up on your future! Take a step and face all your challenges. Just bear in mind that it’s okay to fail nine times and get up the 10th time. Life is a gift so make the best of it.

The sky’s The Limit - is this true for Shimmy?  Yes, there are no limits and everything is possible. You can achieve anything if you really want if you really believe in yourself.

What is your favourite animal and why? The lion. It is much sweeter than it appears and is fiercely loyal. The King of the Jungle marches to the beat of its own drum.

How is your bird-spotting - any tips for those guests who are keen birdwatchers?  My bird spotting is good, I can observe by using my naked eye. Binoculars are brilliant to assist with spotting as well as on-line resources to help with recognising bird sounds and calls.