Dumi is a bonafide &Beyond legend with a story that’s as heart-warming as his smile. He was born and raised in the rural community of KwaNgwenya, which is approximately one hour from &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa.
When Phinda was established, back in 1991, Dumi was employed as part of the game capture team that was responsible for helping to restock what was then derelict farmland with the wildlife that had once roamed freely in the area.
In 1994, Dumi worked with the maintenance and anti-poaching teams to erect, monitor and repair Phinda’s fencelines. Although Dumi could barely speak English back then, Kevin Pretorius (now &Beyond Regional Director for South Africa) saw something in Dumi and encouraged him to become a tracker.
Dumi joined Phinda’s tracking team in 1996, and during that time, he also managed to teach himself to speak English, simply by watching television and practicing with as many people as he could. He was a respected member of the tracking team for eight years, and during that time he was a tracker for Simon Naylor (now Phinda Conservation Manager) and Seth Vorster (now &Beyond Regional Ranger Trainer for South Africa).
In 2003, it was time for another challenge and Dumi decided to enroll at &Beyond’s Inkwazi Ranger Training School. Of course, he passed with flying colours and has been guiding on Phinda ever since.
Dumi is also an accomplished musician with a recently released album of traditional Maskandi music. As a young boy, Dumi was always passionate about music and renowned Zulu musician Zero Khumalo actually taught him how to play the guitar in 2002.
During his off-time, Dumi travels back to KwaNgwenya to be with his wife and six children and dedicates a lot of his time to educating the community children on the importance of wildlife and conservation.