04 Apr 2013 Tigere Matipedza – Elephant Manager
Age: Born in 1978
Origin: Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
Family and background: I’m a married father of two, a boy and a girl. I started working in 1996 at the age of 18 as an elephant stable cleaner in Zimbabwe, and my job was to ensure that the elephants were well taken care of. By the time I was 22, I was fully involved in the running of the elephant stables.
Favourite part of the job: I enjoy every moment spent with the elephants, especially Jabulani – because of his brilliance. I liken elephants to good people because they listen, and I feel as though they lead me into a peaceful world of my own.
Favourite Elephant and why: Jabulani is my favourite elephant. His intelligence is admirable. I am mostly drawn to him because we share a similar background. His story reminds me of my own experiences, like losing both parents at a very young age, and needing someone to give me the love that my parents would have.
I never thought or dreamed that I would be an elephant handler some day. The first time I saw the elephants I felt a connection to them and that’s when I knew that this was my destiny.
My love for elephants grows deeper every day, as I wake up and find myself surrounded by these magnificent creatures. This makes me so grateful for the life that God has given me. I truly feel that I was destined for this.
I appreciate how the elephants have accepted me in to their world. I thank Mrs Roode for her love of the elephants and providing them with a home. I’m also grateful to Camp Jabulani officials for the love they show to the elephants.