OH MY GOD! Meet The Daring Humanitarian Kingsley Holgate Who Brought Change In Africa
Sept. 18, 2020
Explorer and Humanitarian, South Africa
Holgate is easily Africa’s most colourful modern-day explorer. He uses his travels to support rural communities by distributing tens of thousands of mosquito nets to pregnant mothers and children under the age of five, or spectacles to those who can’t access optical services. You’ve probably seen him on National Geographic crossing rivers in dugout canoes, traversing deserts on foot or probing some remote corner of Africa in a mud-caked Land Rover. His most successful adventure was called The Outside Edge – a 448-day, 33-country expedition tracking the outline of Africa and promoting malaria prevention. If you don’t remember Holgate for his grisly, larger-than-life white mane, you will remember him for the lives he has changed in Africa.
Holgate has founded the 'Kingsley Holgate Foundation' which aims to "save and improve lives through adventure" through "humanitarian expeditions that make a difference". This has been the focus of his more recent expeditions such as the 'Africa Rainbow Expedition' and 'The Outside Edge Expedition'. This aim has been implemented through programmes such as the 'One Net, One Life' campaign which aims to give out thousands of mosquito nets to help prevent malaria simply and cheaply. The 'Right to Sight' campaign provides glasses to assist the hard of sight, allowing them to resume simple tasks such as sewing, reading and beadwork to help them contribute to their community. The third campaign 'Teaching on the Edge', a scheme supported by Centurus Colleges and Rotary International, aims to provide teaching resources and mobile libraries to remote communities to provide education and improve literacy.
Known as the bearded explorer, Holgate has been described by international magazines as the most travelled man in Africa. Born in 1946 in Natal, South Africa, Holgate explains that as a young boy, he would sit on his father’s knee, listening to stories about explorers such as David Livingstone and Sir Henry Morton Stanley. Inspired and intrigued by their fulfilling journeys, Holgate followed suit and has dedicated his life to tripping around this beautiful continent, extending a helping hand towards those who need it most.
Whether it’s boating from Cape Town to Cairo, using only Africa’s rivers and bodies of water to transverse the continent, or circumnavigating the world following the Tropic of Capricorn, Holgate definitely knows how to keep people on their toes. He has followed original routes explored by H.M. Stanley, Livingstone himself and Frederick Courtenay Selous, touching the lives of locals along the way.
Holgate has led several National Geographic expeditions and written countless books about his experiences. Holgate explains that a constant thirst for adventure and the people he meets along the way has inspired him to continue his work.
His foundation, Kingsley Holgate Foundation, is strongly linked to wildlife, nature and community conservation across Africa. He has dedicated his time campaigning against the poaching of Africa’s endangered rhinos as well as elephants. For instance, one of his campaigns known as “Rhino Art - Let our Children's Voices be Heard,” is undoubtedly Africa's most comprehensive children's conservation project ever. This campaign has also become one of the most successful projects, extending to other African countries affected by rhino poaching and drawing global attention to this ongoing problem.
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