Mandela Dudiyeka

Mandela is one of the staff of RCP as a Lion Defender working at “Zone A- Kitisi”. He is 24 years old and he started to work since 2012. He is single and never married. Mandela is one among of 10 children of Mzee (elder) Kaseri Dudiyeka and he has 2 brothers and 7 sisters. Him and his siblings never attended school, as per their tradition. His father, like other Barbaig parents believed that to send their children to school is to lose him/her as he will never come back to take care of livestock, hence they will abandon their traditional ways of life when they are educated.

“My father made a very difficult decision to move the whole family from Manyara to Iringa when I wanted to start Standard 1 (primary education) so I had no choice as I did not have anyone to stay with”. Now Mandela can read and write Swahili after he joined RCP. He has been provided literacy lessons conducted by the Lion Defender programme coordinator and other staff.

Like many other LDs, Mandela had participated in many lion hunts and he was elected the head of Dangasi (the traditional youth leader) in 2014. According to Mandela he speared one lion and killed 27 elephants and 4 buffalo before became an LD.

“I love my job and I wish my community would all change their minds toward lions and stop killing them”.