The Monday Media Diet with Beks Ndlovu

On Zimbabwe, conservation, and technology

Beks Ndlovu (BN) is a friend of WITI. He’s a Zimbabwe-based entrepreneur and conservationist with a strong voice for the future of tourism and Africa. We’re pleased to have him on the page. -Colin (CJN) 

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Beks, and I am the CEO of an award-winning safari and conservation company in Southern Africa that I founded 15 years ago. From the moment I started working in travel, I became a believer in the power of authentic experiences.  I find great pleasure in designing and creating impactful travel experiences that positively affect conserving Africa’s landscapes, people, cultures, and wildlife. I have three beautiful children from whom I learn a lot.  In fact, I call them my best friends.  My children inspire me to fight each day to create a legacy for their future and others who have a seemingly lesser voice. Unsurprisingly, I love to travel the world, and one of my favorite pastimes is listening to live jazz.

Describe your media diet.

The Economist and Aljazeera are my first ports of call.  I tend to stay clear of mainstream news and Facebook unless there are specific world events going on. I follow Africa Parks, Wild Aid, and Wildlife Conservation Networks on Instagram – they elevate awareness of conservation work internationally, especially of the African continent.  When searching for news, I avoid media that embellish any drama.  It’s unproductive, and I could use a lot less drama in my life. With Instagram, I have a love-hate relationship and spend a lot of time on WhatsApp as a means to connect with my contacts, especially since I am on the move a lot. YouTube is one of my sources for inspirational talks and podcasts on long drives Amongst my favorites are TED Talks and Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins, and Dr. Shefali Motiversity offer interesting compilations of speeches and talks that I enjoy.

What’s the last great book you read?

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. As the founder of the eponymous outdoor apparel brand, Chouinard speaks beautifully about his journey creating the brand, his leadership style, how he engages with his team, building great partnerships along the way, all the while evolving and innovating his business with an acute consciousness for the environment and caring for the future of the planet.

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication? 

I quickly page skim the publication for imagery. I am a visual person and love design, interiors, and beautiful things, so I have to confess that’s what initially grabs me. I am also drawn to any news that speaks to doing things differently and standing out. Visi, SA Décor, Homify & Habitat Magazine are the usual suspects. I am also constantly trying to get my hands onto Monocle or Harvard Business Review, which is tricky in South Africa.   

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not? 

I loved Quiet by Susan Cain.  A deep dive into what it means to be an introvert and an extrovert.  The book brings about genuine understanding and empathy for other humans while teaching the reader more about himself.

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone?

Blinkist – It’s a quick dive into interesting facts, publications, and books.  

Plane or train? 

Generally, I take planes. I like getting to my intended destination in the shortest possible time. That changes when I am in other beautiful parts of the world, for instance, when I travel in Europe.  Avoiding airports in countries such as France and Switzerland where the landscapes are epic is sometimes a must.

What is one place everyone should visit?  

Zimbabwe, and yes, I am biased. Zimbabwe is awe-inspiring.  The diverse landscapes and richness of cultures and people are simply outstanding.  Zimbabweans are the most amazing hosts. 

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.

The gamification of conservation and the value it can have for our youth, but really anyone, trying to generate awareness for the urgent need to conserve African habitats and wildlife in an easy-access and fun way. I was sensitized to the topic through an investment I’ve made in a fintech start-up in Cape Town. I didn’t know much about blockchain technology and I don’t have any crypto background. As a majority shareholder, I took a deep dive and confess that I still don’t know much about the fintech industry. Still, as much as it’s been a scary ride, it’s been a fun world to be involved in finding innovative ways to solve global economic and conservation challenges.  (BN)

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Beks (BN)

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