Most Admired People on the Planet.
In a recent interview I was asked who I admired most on this
planet. These are they.
“I would like to be
Not as a great golfer,
But as a great humanitarian”
When I was lying in hospital after the
tiger attack and then again when I got cancer Gary had this to
say: Don’t fight it, embrace it. Make adversity your friend, not
When I asked Gary when he thought he would
become a great golfer, he replied “when my mother died, I was 5
years old”. I took that adversity and turned it into a positive
Forget about the 9 majors Gary has won and
the fact that he was voted South African Sportsman of the
Gary has raised over $40million for charities
around the world. This is undoubtedly Gary’s greatest legacy.
If I needed two words to describe Gary
Player, it would be “Great Competitor”.
"Wilderness is for
In the 60’s Ian Player was head of capture of
the white rhino for the Natal Parks Board. Ian Player and his
team revolutionized the capture of white rhino and moved them to
However this is not Ian Players greatest
achievement. He was the founder of the Wilderness Leadership
Ian Player was the first to connect the need
of modern urban human beings to wilderness. He enlightened us
that wilderness and wild places are not a luxury, they are
essential for the survival of human beings, especially as our
population races to 10 billion people.
It is accepted today (unless you are a game
guard fighting poachers) that people that live in wild places
close to nature, live longer and healthier lives.
Ian Player’s relationship with James Magqubu,
his lifelong mentor and friend, encouraged me to form a
friendship with Elmon Mhlongo. This was not a popular thing to
do during the days of apartheid. My friendship with Elmon and
the knowledge he gave me, had a profound effect upon my life.
If I were to select two words to describe Dr
Ian Player, it would be “Spiritual Wilderness”.
“Simply the Best
Better than All the Rest”
When I met Tina, she has just separated from
her abusive husband, Ike Turner.
Tina had lost her career, her fame and was
flat broke. So desperate was she, that the only gig she could
get, was in apartheid South Africa. (anti-apartheid protestors
would later demonstrate outside her concerts). I remember one
concert where barely 30 people pitched up to see her perform.
Tina’s response to her situation, was to
embrace Buddhism. (Buddhism is one of the few religions that has
a reverence for the natural world)
At Londolozi she found peace in a beautiful
wild place. Close to nature and using her Buddhist beliefs, she
was able to slowly restore herself.
Tina told me that one day she would once
again perform in front of 60,000 people. (I was dubious) Her
prediction has come to pass. At the age of 70, Tina has once
again gone out onstage in front of 60,000 screaming fans.
Tina has become one of the greatest
inspirations in my life. I saw her when she was down and out and
I see her now in her 70’s strong, beautiful and full of energy.
A force of nature indeed!!
The one word I would use to describe Tina,
would be “Survivor”
“I have listened to
Of Mr. Tambourine Man
Was it a psychedelic journey
That even you don’t understand”
From the song “Tribute to Bob Dylan"
Bob Dylan has embraced folk, rock, pop, R&B,
gospel and any other type of music on this planet. He is
essentially a poet who sings. (Bob Dylan was recently awarded
the Nobel Prize for literature).
When Bob Dylan picked up an electric guitar,
the purists from the folk community booed him off the stage.
Undeterred, Bob Dylan kept writing, recording
and moving, "like a rolling stone". "The times are a changing",
"I’m knocking on heaven’s door", "The answer my friend, is
blowing in the wind”, were all penned by the lyrical genius.
Every time Bob Dylan ran into a dead end
(There were many) he simply reinvented himself and moved on.
He ignored the critics and moved to his on
beat and his own style. When I picked up a guitar in the 60's,
Bob Dylan was my musical hero, today 50 years later Bob Dylan is
still my hero.
I believe the most inspirational thing about
Bob Dylan is that on some occasions he sings brilliantly in key
and other times he is terrible.
For untalented musicians like myself, we say
if Bob can be this bad there is hope for us.
However, no matter how bad the song, the
brilliance of Bob Dylan words shine through. His songs have a
complex array of suggestive plots and sub plots that resonate
with the man in the street. (The pump don’t work because the
vandals look the handle).
It is perhaps the one liners that Dylan has
become most famous.
"Black is the color, none is the number",
"The roar of a wave that could drown the whole world" describes
"The pellets of poison are flooding their waters" ...... water
"I threw it all away".... divorce
"Desolation Row".... inner
"Tangled up in blue"....depression
give you shelter from the storm".... hospitality from people who
"I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests".... acid rain
"I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans"...... man’s
rape of the oceans.
If I were to use two words to describe Bob
Dylan, it would be "Lyrical Genius".
“To me, cruelty is
the worst of human sins. Once we accept that a living creature
has feelings and suffers pain, then by knowingly and
deliberately inflicting suffering on that creature, we are
guilty, whether it be human or animal.”
Jane Goodall asks all the awkward questions
to us addicted meat eaters. Questions that we simply can’t
answer, and actions that we can’t justify.
Until I am a vegetarian, (I’ve tried 3 times
and failed) I have no right to speak out against the ghastly
cruelty in the feedlots of the cattle industry or the cramped
inhumane conditions in mechanized pig farming or chickens
shitting on another’s head as it sits trapped in a tiny cage
Perhaps like drug addicts we should create
rehabilitation centers where meat addicts can be weaned off a
meat diet. This would move us forward considerably towards
saving our planet.
This is not about health, this is about
cruelty to fellow species. Jane Goodall is a visionary of
If I were to choose two words to describe Jane it would be
“Empathy” and “Vision”
“Dead Poachers Can’t
While Zimbabwe is trashing its wildlife and
South Africa has lost 5,000 rhino in the last 5 years, Botswana
has moved to the African country with the most elephants.
At the same time Botswana is quietly buying
rhino from South Africa and releasing them into their parks. If
you would like to poach a Botswanan elephant or a rhino, you do
so at your own peril.
Ian Khama before he was president was
Minister of Defense. He understands exactly what works when it
comes to poaching. His message is clear “Dead poachers can't
It is no coincidence that he was recently
voted the best President in the World. Ian Khama is my hero.
If I were to use two word to describe Ian
Khama, it would be "Strategy and Discipline"
"As for myself,
I do not believe in loggers, I believe in trees. I do not
believe in fishermen, I believe in fish. I do not believe in
miners, I believe in the rocks beneath my feet. I do not
believe in pie in the sky spirituality, I believe in
rainbows, rivers, mountains, and moss. I do not believe in
environmentalists, I believe in the environment. I am a
proud traitor to my species in alliance with my mother the
Earth in opposition to those who would destroy her, those
parasites who believe the Earth is here to serve human
Paul Watson is a founder of Green Peace and
now Captain of the Sea Shepherd.
Watson puts his actions where his mouth is.
He doesn’t hang around, he goes into battle with the Japanese
whaling ships illegally killing whales.
He confronts the shark fin industry head on.
(73 million sharks killed every year for the fins to make soup
for Japanese and Chinese people.)
Paul Watson has been abused, threatened,
arrested more times than I have had breakfast. He is answerable
to no one, he is my kind of guy.
If I would to use two words to describe Paul
Watson, it would be "Brave and Action"
controlling the environment for the benefit of the population,
perhaps we should control the population to ensure the survival
of our environment"
Sadly I have never met David Attenborough,
but I have worked with many of the crew who have worked with him
over many years. I have never ever heard a bad word about David
Indeed well into his 70’s he was still
carrying tripods for the BBC Natural History crew.
Complete with pace maker and into his 90’s,
Sir David is prepared to climb into the canopy of the rainforest
to present a piece of natural history for television. His voice
is one of the most recognized around the world.
Sir David Attenborough regards himself as a
member of a team that quite simply have made the finest wildlife
films in the history of Planet Earth i.e. BBC Natural History
If I would use 2 words to describe David
Attenborough they would be “Longevity and Eloquence”.
Sir David Attenborough is my hero.
society depends on non-renewable resources. It requires
relentless probing into vast reaches of pristine land,
sacrificing vital bioregions, and irreplaceable cultures.
The possibility of catastrophic climate change is
substantially increased by the 40 million barrels of oil
burned every day by vehicles. We must all move shoulder to
shoulder in a unified front to show this administration that
the true majority of people are willing to vote for a
cleaner environment and won't back down".
Many Hollywood film stars lend their name
to any charity that is fashionable and that’s the last one
hears of it.
Leonardo is not only passionate about
climate change but he is well informed.
One day he is showing the very worst of
human behavior in the “Wolf of Wall Street” the next he is
addressing the United Nations on climate change. I call this
diversity of life.
I once sat alone in a cinema which was
showing DiCaprio’s “The Eleventh Hour” movie. The cinema
next door where the gangster movies were showing, was
packed. DiCaprio’s movie had an audience of one, me! This
shows clearly where as a species our priorities lie!
Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation has given
$56 million to environmental causes around the world. I know
of no other individual who has given this generously to the
If I were to use two words to describe
Leonardo DiCaprio it would be “Vision and Tenacity”
Therefore the ideal human being would be
a person who possesses the vision of Leonardo DiCaprio, the
competitiveness of Gary Player, the bravery of Paul Watson,
the empathy of Jane Goodall, the spirituality of Ian Player,
the energy of Tina Turner, the discipline of Ian Khama, the
poetry of Bob Dylan and the eloquence of David Attenborough.
This indeed would be a unique individual!
Tread lightly on the Earth