The Story Behind Mhondoro

While taking strain today in the extreme heat with blisters open and salty, I thought of Africa, the bush veld, my home.

I would like to share the special story of Mhondoro, the name of our little boat. I do not believe in coincidence and believe that, with great and good intention, fortune favors the brave.

It started with my now good friend, Bradley Schroeder. Bradley is the CEO of the famous and beautiful Welgevonden Game Reserve about 2 hours north of Johannesburg. Bradley is as passionate about protecting our rhinos as I am and, to prove the point, wanted to run the Great Wall Marathon in a 10kg rhino suit! He wanted my advise.

Upon his return after a successful and bold achievement, I had the good fortune to visit Welgevonden and spend some time with Bradley. This is when I had the privilege to attend a get-together on a very exclusive and breath taking beautiful game lodge called Mhondoro!

The name, from the Shona culture, means (loosely interpreted) the ‘young lion’. But this is no ordinary lion! This is a lion coming into his prime; the ‘chief in waiting’ and bringing a special gift to his pride. It is of the young Shona man, with the gift of sensing water, the life blood, and sharing it with his people; just as the lion marks his territory, ensuring their is food and water for his pride.

Enter Frank and Myriam Vogel, proud owners of this magnificent place with views that stretch forever. We chat about conservation and the importance of leaving a legacy for our children. Frank and Myriam have two boys, two ‘young lions’, Steyn and Thomas, both passionate about Africa and the bush. I meet them at Mhondoro.

Weeks later, having dinner with my new friends in Cape Town, Frank asks me “so, who is sponsoring your boat?” I did not have a sponsor at that time. “I’ll sponsor it” Frank says!

This little 6.8m boat, Mhondoro, is now about 2, 000 kms from Rio and will make history upon arrival. This ‘young lion’ is a symbol of trust, tenacity and the ability to change the world.

You see, it is when you have good intention, like Bradley, like Frank and Myriam, like Wayne and me, that the universe weaves its magic and wondrous things unfold.