ELEPHANT CARERS

At Jabulani, the elephant carers are an integral part of our operation. Most of them came with the elephants in 2002 and all are experienced and passionate about what they do.

While the carers operate on different levels of responsibility, depending on their experience, knowledge, leadership and diligence, they are all committed to the emotional and physical well-being of the elephants. Besides keeping a close eye on the physical condition of the herd, they monitor what and how much they eat, maintain the stables and, believe it or not, talk to the elephants frequently too, to familiarise them with their voices. They also ensure that the safety rules regarding elephants are adhered to by staff and guests at all times.

The carers accompany the elephants every day as they roam free and forage in the wild on the reserve to ensure that no skirmishes arise between the Jabulani herd and the wild herd.

Our two Elephant Managers oversee and manage the four tiers of Elephant Carers

Isaac Mathole

Elephant Manager

From Acornhoek, South Africa | Start date 2002

Isaac’s career started in the world of finance, as set out to become a qualified financial account. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, he was unable to complete his studies.

Lente Roode heard of Isaac’s great potential, and gave him the opportunity in 2002, to join the team that cared for the original herd that we rescued from Zimbabwe.

Isaac has flourished through his years at Jabulani and holds the proud position of elephant manager through hard work and perseverance.

Isaac is happily married and a father of three beautiful children that he adores.

Isaac Mathole

Elephant Manager

Tigere Matipedza

Elephant Manager

Country of Origin: Zimbabwe | Employed at Jabulani since 2005
Working with elephants since 1996

Tigere started working with elephants from the age of 16, on a farm in Zimbabwe. He had been working with the original herd of Jabulani elephants when the evacuation took place. However, he could not join the team until later, once he had a valid passport.

In 2005, Tigere was reunited with the elephants and his colleagues and met Jabulani for the first time.

Tigere has proven himself as an excellent leader, and always eager to learn. In 2017, he completed his FGASA Level 1 in field guiding.

His wife and three children remain in Zimbabwe, which he visits whenever he is on leave.

Tigere Matipedza

Elephant Manager

Level Four

ELEPHANT CARER LEVEL FOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

This level is achieved with a combination of being in long service to the Jabulani herd as well as being adept at all the requirements and responsibilities of Level one through to three.

In addition to this, they are responsible for the training of the three lower levels.

Israel Shambira

Elephant Carer - Level 4 - Team Supervisor

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2002
Working with elephants since 1996

Israel travelled with the original herd of elephants that we rescued from Zimbabwe in 2002. However, his experience with elephants started in 1996.
During his week Israel also works at HESC, to help raise the orphaned elephants in their care.
Israel and Stavros are extremely close having worked side by side with elephants since 1996 and followed their career paths together ever since.

Israel Shambira

Elephant Carer – Level 4 – Team Supervisor

Joshua Dube

Elephant Carer - Level 4

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2002
Working with elephants since 1987

Joshua’s experience with elephants started in 1987, 15 years before his departure from Zimbabwe with the original Jabulani herd.

He was joined by his son, Emmanuel Dube, in 2009, who decided to walk his dad’s footsteps and work with the Jabulani elephants too.

Part of Joshua’s responsibilities is caring for the orphaned elephants at HESC, and the younger ones at Jabulani too.

Joshua Dube

Elephant Carer – Level 4

Kenneth Shambira

Elephant Carer - Level 4

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2009
Working with elephants since 2009

Kenneth started working at Jabulani in 2009 and had no experience with elephants when he began. Our team took him under their wing as a learner and taught him everything they knew about elephants.

He was a natural and has performed exceptionally well in a short period to become one of our senior elephant carers.

Kenneth Shambira

Elephant Carer – Level 4

Liverson Sande

Elephant Carer - Level 4

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2002
Working with elephants since 1996

Liverson has been working with elephants since 1996, on a farm in Zimbabwe. He too took the journey with the original elephant herd to South Africa.

He is one of a handful of the carers that are also asked to assist with the orphaned elephants at HESC.

Stavros and Liverson have a deep friendship over the years.

Liverson Sande

Elephant Carer – Level 4

Owen Dube

Elephant Carer - Level 4 - Team Supervisor

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2005
Working with elephants since 1999

Owen first started working with elephants in Victoria Falls and had the good fortune of meeting Paul Coetzee, who was Jabulani’s elephant manager at the time. Paul and Owen kept in contact, as Paul recognised Owen’s potential.

When the opportunity arose, Owen applied for a position at Jabulani and has been working with us since then.

Owen Dube

Elephant Carer – Level 4 – Team Supervisor

Simbarashe Urure

Elephant Carer - Level 4

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2002
Working with elephants since 1995

Since a young age, Simbarashe has always loved animals, so when he completed his schooling, 1995, he started working with elephants. He was amongst the men that accompanied the rescued herd from Zimbabwe to South Africa,

Simba assists with the care of the orphaned elephants at HESC, and also tends to the herd each morning, checking for any minor wounds, and treating them. He has learned a lot from Dr. Peter Rogers over the years.

Simbarashe Urure

Elephant Carer – Level 4

Stavros Chakoma

Elephant Carer - Level 4

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2002
Working with elephants since 1994

As he worked with the original herd in Zimbabwe, Stavros, like many of his colleagues, arrived here in 2002.

Stavros has a soft spot for elephant calves and spends a lot of time at HESC looking after the orphans that are in their care.

He has an incredible story of friendship with Israel, who has worked together with Stavros since 1996.

Stavros Chakoma

Elephant Carer – Level 4

Tichnoana Dube

Elephant Carer - Level 4

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2005
Working with elephants since 2005

Tichaona started his career with elephants at Jabulani. Before his arrival in South Africa, he was employed by a game lodge in Zimbabwe. His father, Joshua Dube was employed with us at the time, which opened up an opportunity to work with us.

He was a quick learner, and showed incredible commitment and love for the elephants, and has rightfully earned his position as a senior elephant carer.

Tichaona’s brother is Emmanuel Dube, who also works side by side with him and his father, Joshua at Jabulani.

Tichnoana Dube

Elephant Carer – Level 4

Level Three

ELEPHANT CARER LEVEL THREE RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Observe elephants’ physical conditions to detect illness or unhealthy conditions requiring medical care.
  • Administer medications to elephants.
  • Evaluate elephants to determine their temperaments, abilities, and aptitude.
  • Feed and exercise elephants and provide other general care needed in all areas,
  • Talk to and interact with elephants to familiarise them to human voices and contact.
  • Keep records documenting animal health, diet, and behaviour.
  • Ensuring that level 1 and level 2 carers maintain their standards of elephant care.
  • Ensuring that all the elephant areas and equipment are cleaned daily and maintained.

Colben Mogakane

Elephant Carer - Level 3

Country of origin: South Africa
Employed at Jabulani since 2011
Working with elephants since 2004

Colben first started at Jabulani in 2004 and worked with us for a year before deciding to try a new experience at Knysna Elephant Park. He returned six years later to continue his career with our Jabulani elephant care team.

Colben Mogakane

Elephant Carer – Level 3

Emmanuel Dube

Elephant Carer - Level 3

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2007
Working with elephants since 2007

Having Joshua as his father, Emmanuel grew up around elephants, as he would often be around his dad, or listen to his stories.

He was thrilled to be able to join his father, who he is extremely close with, as well as his brother, Tichaona, in working at Jabulani.

Emmanuel Dube

Elephant Carer – Level 3

Last Scholar

Elephant Carer - Level 3

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2009
Working with elephants since 2005

Last had spent four years training and working with elephants at Elephants for Africa Forever prior to joining us at Jabulani in 2009.

Last Scholar

Elephant Carer – Level 3

Level Two

ELEPHANT CARER LEVEL TWO RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Observe the elephants’ physical conditions to detect illness or unhealthy conditions requiring medical care.
  • Assist in the administration of medications to the elephants as well as assisting management in such situations
  • Assist in the evaluation of elephants to determine their temperaments, abilities, and aptitude.
  • Feed and exercise elephants and provide other general care such as cleaning and maintaining the areas that we use for check-ups.
  • Talk to and interact with elephants to familiarise them to human voices and contact.
  • Keep records documenting animal health, diet, and general behaviour.
  • Ensure that all the elephant areas and equipment are cleaned daily and maintained.
  • Ensuring that all safety rules are adhered to by all staff and guests.
  • Notifying management of any behavioural concerns with any

A level two Elephant Carer needs to have acquired a comprehensive knowledge of both elephant behavior and husbandry, to advance to a level three carer.

Blessmore Gwerere

Elephant Carer - Level 2

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2002 – 2004; 2010 to present day
Working with elephants since 2000

Blessmore traveled with the rescued herd of elephants to South Africa in 2002 but returned to Zimbabwe in 2004 to work with his original employer.

He returned to Jabulani in 2010 and has remained here ever since.

Blessmore Gwerere

Elephant Carer – Level 2

Foster Timba

Elephant Carer - Level 2

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2010
Working with elephants since 1994

Working with elephants since 2006

George joined Jabulani in 2010 but had gained experience working with elephants in both Zimbabwe as well as another lodge in South Africa, before working with us.

Foster Timba

Elephant Carer – Level 2

Godknows Chivero

Elephant Carer - Level 2

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2010
Working with elephants since 2003

In 2003 Godknows accompanied Rory from Zimbabwe to South Africa, to help train the elephant carers. He was with us for two months and returned with Rory, as he did not have the paperwork to stay in South Africa.

He returned to South Africa a bit later working with Elephants for Africa, as well as positions based in Mozambique and Pilanesberg.

It was in 2010 when a position became available at the right time, and he joined his brother, Blessmore at Jabulani.

Godknows Chivero

Elephant Carer – Level 2

Josiya Hando

Elephant Carer - Level 2

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2012
Working with elephants since 2003

Josiya had worked with elephants for nearly ten years before joining the team at Jabulani. His previous experience in South Africa includes the Shambala Game Reserve as well as Knysna Elephant Park. However, his first experience was in Zimbabwe before moving to South Africa.

Josiya Hando

Elephant Carer – Level 2

Kevin Mwanje

Elephant Carer - Level 2

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2013
Working with elephants since 2007

Kevin’s career started in the printing industry in Zimbabwe but sadly lost his job through the tough economic times of the country. He came to South Africa to seek a printing job and was unable to find work.

His uncle was working with elephants at another organization, which he joined and fell in love with working with elephants and started studying elephants. Unfortunately, there was not enough work, and Kevin took up a job at a game lodge, waiting for another opportunity with elephants, which eventually came about in 2013.

Kevin Mwanje and Kevin Sinjani are best of friends and are fondly referred to as “Kevin 1” and “Kevin 2”, respectively, as Kevin 1 started work first at Jabulani.

Kevin Mwanja

Elephant Carer – Level 2

Samson Hwato

Elephant Carer - Level 2

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2012
Working with elephants since 2004

Samson had experience at two different elephant operations before starting to work with our team in 2012.

Samson Hwato

Elephant Carer – Level 2

Shepherd Nkomazana

Elephant Carer - Level 2

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2017
Working with elephants since 2000

Shepherd recently joined our elephant care team, in 2017. Before that, he had worked for close to ten years with elephants in the Pilanesberg National Park.

Shepherd Nkomazana

Elephant Carer – Level 2

Level One

ELEPHANT CARER LEVEL ONE RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Assist in observation of elephant’s physical conditions, to detect illness or unhealthy conditions that may require medical care, as well as keeping records of elephant’s medical history and updating current conditions where necessary.
  • Assist with supplying food for the elephants, as well the general maintenance of the elephant stables. They will continually talk or speak to the elephants to familiarise the elephants to their voice.
  • Familiarise themselves with all the safety rules.
  • Notifying management immediately of any occurrence or incident that may lead may present dangerous situations.

A level one Elephant carer will have to have a good general knowledge of elephant behavior and elephant husbandry to advance to a level two carer.

Forbes Sampanya

Elephant Carer - Level 1

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2017
Working with elephants since 2008

Forbes has worked with us for a short while but has had over eight years of experience with elephants. He previously worked in an organization that works with elephants in South Africa.

We look forward to many more years to come with Forbes at Jabulani.

Forbes Sampanya

Elephant Carer – Level 1

George Zulu

Elephant Carer - Level 1

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2014
Working with elephants since 2006

George joined Jabulani in 2014 but had gained experience working with elephants in another lodge in South Africa, before working with us.

He has an excellent track record of experience working with elephants.

George Zulu

Elephant Carer – Level 1

Kevin Sinjani

Elephant Carer - Level 1

Country of origin: Zimbabwe
Employed at Jabulani since 2014
Working with elephants since 2008

In 2008, Kevin left Zimbabwe seeking opportunity in South Africa. He joined friends that were working with elephants in Knysna at the time and then had a chance to work with elephants in the Pilanesberg.

He had a formed a strong friendship with Kevin Mwanje from their time in Knysna together, who informed him of a position that had become available at Jabulani, which he applied for, and has been with us ever since.

Kevin Sinjani

Elephant Carer – Level 1

Cedric

Elephant Carer - Level 1

Country of origin: South Africa
Employed at Jabulani since 2015
Working with elephants since 2006

Cedric started his career working with Elephants for Africa forever in 2006 and worked there for nearly ten years before applying at Jabulani.

Cedric Mabota

Elephant Carer – Level 1

jabulani-elephant -carers-Cedric-1

Clever

Elephant Carer - Level 1

Country of origin: South Africa
Employed at Jabulani since 2014
Working with elephants since 2004

Clever joined Jabulani in 2013, having gained experience working with elephants at a lodge in Zimbabwe, where he started in 2004. He moved to South Africa in 2006 and gained further experience working with elephants in the Eastern Cape as well as in Hazyview, Mpumalanga before he started his journey with elephants at Jabulani.

Clever Magiriva

Elephant Carer – Level 1

Elephant_Carer_Godfrey

Godfrey

Elephant Carer - Level 1

Country of origin: South Africa
Employed at Jabulani since 2012
Working with elephants since 2004

Godfrey (also known as Matome) has been employed at Jabulani since 2012, but his experience with elephants started in 2004 with Elephants for Africa Forever.

Godfrey Leshabane

Elephant Carer – Level 1

Apprentice

Herman

Elephant Manager - Apprentice

Country of origin: South Africa
Employed at Jabulani since 2017
Working with elephants since 2018

Herman joined Jabulani as part of the maintenance team in December 2017.
During his time in maintenance, he started a worm farm and cared for it with great responsibility and pride.

Adine Roode noticed the way he exhibited such patience and pride in caring for these worms and saw potential in him to work with elephants, and so gave him the opportunity to learn.

Herman has flourished at the opportunity, working particularly well with the younger orphaned elephants, who seem to trust him easily. His time is spent between Jabulani and at HESC, caring for the orphaned elephants in their care.

His wife Gloria works in housekeeping at Jabulani, and they have one young child together.

Herman

Elephant Manager – Apprentice