Every now and again someone comes into your life who changes the way you think about yourself and the world around you. They set an example by the way they live their lives and make you believe that anything is possible.
For me this was a South African conservationist called Lawrence Anthony.
In 2009 when I went back to South Africa for Christmas, my mom raved about a book called, ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ by a man called Lawrence Anthony.
My mom said that the book was about a herd of ‘rogue’ elephants that Anthony had taken on in his Thula Thula game reserve in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa.
I love elephants so I was very excited when she bought me the book for Christmas that year.
I only got the chance to read it when I arrived back in London but from the first page, I couldn’t put the book down.
In the prologue, Anthony says,
‘In 1999, I was asked to accept a herd of troubled wild elephants on my game reserve. I had no inkling of the escapades and adventures I was about to embark upon. I had no idea how challenging it would be or how much my life would be enriched.’
He also says,
‘Make no mistake, the title of this book is not about me for I make no claim to any special abilities. It is about the elephants – it was they who whispered to me and taught me how to listen.’
It is a truly inspirational story about the bond created between one man and a herd of elephants and it is a testament to one man’s ability and courage to make a difference and create a better world.
I would highly recommend the book to anyone.
I have to say that after reading the book, I put it down and life took me on my own journey.
It was only when I spoke to my mom on Saturday, when she told me that Anthony had died last week at 61, that I realised just how much his book had touched me and that I wanted to dedicate this blog to Anthony, someone who as far as I am concerned is a bit of a legend.
I am not going to concentrate on all of the other things Anthony has done, and there are many, one being the incredible wartime rescue of the Baghdad Zoo (He writes about it in his book called ‘Babylon’s Ark’).
I want to tell you what his son Jason has said about him,
“I can’t remember a situation that was too serious for my dad. He injected humour into everything and saw the world as having unlimited possibilities, opportunities, challenges and adventures.”
“My father never believed that just because other people assume something is impossible, that it is impossible. He believed anything was possible.”
What really gave me goosebumps was when my mom told me that two herds of elephants travelled for twelve hours to reach Anthony’s home hours after he died.
“They had not visited the house for a year-and-a-half and it must have taken them about 12 hours to make the journey,” said his other son, Dylan.
Here’s to a legend!