In this episode, I’m talking with Marianne De Kock. Marianne along with her husband, Ruben, and their close friend, Martin Mthembu, founded and ran African Field Ranger Training Services, or AFRTS. Together they developed the coursework and trained tens of thousands of rangers across Africa and beyond. AFRTS continues to operate as a program of the Southern African Wildlife College’s Protected Area Integrity Department. Marianne served in the South African Military Defence Force, where she became a sharp shooter and participated in National Key Point shooting competitions. In 2018, Marianne was recognized as a Rhino Conservation Supporter at the Rhino Conservation Awards. She also plays a major role in our documentary film, RHINO MAN.
In this conversation, we talk about Marianne’s path into the military and how the training she received prepared her for her future work as a ranger trainer. We go into how she and Ruben met, and the leap of faith they took in starting AFRTS. She tells many stories of the early days, of the bonds she had with Martin Mthembu and Anton Mzimba, and the passion she has for the frontline of conservation, our rangers. This was such a lovely episode, and Marianne’s life of dedication to a bigger purpose shines through.