With South Africa in the midst of economic and political upheaval, we’re all grasping for some good news – something to uplift our spirits and make us hopeful for the future. And we’ve found this silver lining in the form of honorary ranger, motivational speaker, extreme conservationist, TV presenter, youth developer, author and extreme adventurer, Braam Malherbe.
Doing good, no matter your age
At the tender age of 17, Braam set off on foot from Plettenberg Bay, running 532 kilometres in 11 days in order to raise R18 000 for a crucial environmental impact assessment (EIA) on a concrete jetty being built in Langebaan Lagoon at Saldanha Bay. Had the jetty been constructed as proposed, it will have had a dire environmental impact, but the EIA had changed plans to a relatively unobtrusive construction which saved numerous species from extinction.
What makes this feat so commendable is the fact that Braam had not yet run a 10 km stretch in a single run at the time of undertaking this fundraiser.
4 218 kilometres of desolation for South Africa
Running the equivalent of a whole marathon per day, 6 days a week, through temperatures in the high 30s and in the minus 20s, Braam and long-time friend David Grier set off one morning in 2006 to tackle the world’s first and last trek on foot across the Great Wall of China. The expedition funded the inaugural mission for Operation Smile in South Africa – a charity aimed at providing corrective surgery for children born with cleft lip and cleft palate disfigurements. It was a feat said to be impossible, yet the two athletes persisted, raising in excess of R2.5 million for South Africans in need.
Braam has since participated in numerous extreme adventures to raise awareness for his campaigns, including the world’s first ‘Smile around South Africa’ run, following the 3 278 km coastline from Namibia to Mozambique and the 768 km race to the South Pole in 2011/12.
But one of Braam’s greatest passions is undoubtedly conservation, which led to the founding of his #DOT (Do One Thing for the planet) campaign. In collaboration with Woolworths’ MySchool, MyVillage, MyPlanet initiative, Braam will be setting off on his toughest adventure in 2016 – a 15-month non-motorised circumnavigation of the globe along the Tropic of Capricorn.
The #DOT challenge aims to rally individuals, corporates and governments behind a single cause – preventing the destruction of earth’s natural resources. The message is simple: Do One Thing for the environment, and do it now.
Helping everyone, everywhere
In addition to Braam’s international #DOT campaign, he is also involved in numerous non-profit initiatives, including:
- Co-founding the Volunteer Wildfire Services in 2000.
- Training Cape Nature staff in both theoretical and practical firefighting techniques.
- Launching the MyPlanet Rhino Fund, and supporting the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
- Educating children and school principals about the environmental future of the planet.
- Serving as ambassador for the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) – a South African environmental organisation with a mission to implement high-impact environmental and conservation projects which promote public participation in caring for the Earth.
- Serving in the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA) which supports, provides networks and represents game rangers across Africa.
- Serving as director of Accountability Now – a non-political, non-profit organisation devoted to upholding constitutionalism in Southern Africa.
Do your one thing!
It is impossible to witness Braam’s dedication and efforts for our planet and communities worldwide without being prompted into action. While we tend to focus on our personal losses and circumstances, Braam has shown that each of us need to look, and act, outside ourselves and serve others if we wish to provide for future generations.
If you wish to participate in Braam’s conservation efforts, you can follow him on Facebook and post your #DOT effort to your own, or his following. In his own words:
“Your DOT might just inspire someone else to do one thing.”