Ep 48: Marianne De Kock – A life dedicated to training the next generation of rangers.

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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.

Ep 8: Ruben De Kock – A life of training rangers as the frontline of conservation.

Subscribe, Rate, and Listen to The Rhino Man Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Amazon today!

In this episode, I’m talking with my good friend Ruben de Kock. Ruben was first a soldier in the South African Defence Force, where he specialized in training equestrian and motorcycle skills along with weapons handling. When he retired as a Staff Sergeant he began training field rangers for the Bureau of Natural Resources in KwaZulu-Natal. There he met the legendary ranger trainer Martin Mthembu, who soon became Ruben’s best friend and eventually partner in their own business, African Field Ranger Training Services. Together, along with Ruben’s wife Marianne, they trained thousands of rangers across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Later they sold AFRTS to the Southern African Wildlife College, and now Ruben works as the Development Manager at LEAD Ranger. He is also one of the stars of our film RHINO MAN.

In this chat, we take a trip into Ruben’s storied past – plane crashes in the Congo, poacher encounters in the bush. We learn about his time in the military, and when he first trained rangers at Ntinini under conservationist Nick Steele. We dive deep into his relationships with his friend Martin and his wife Marianne, and we explore Ruben’s passion for everything rangers. He has truly dedicated his life to fighting for field rangers, making sure that they get the best skills and support they well deserve. So without further ado, let’s jump into this epic conversation.

LEAD Ranger: leadranger.org
Southern African Wildlife College: wildlifecollege.org.za