Mandela Day is more than a celebration of Madiba's life and legacy; it is a global movement to honour his life's work and to change the world for the better. There is no better month to celebrate the work of Alex van den Heever and Renias Mhlongo than a month that includes Mandela Day as a pinnacle day.
In Changing a Leopard’s spots
, Alex van den Heever and wildlife tracker Renias Mhlongo share their experience of following elusive leopards through the dusty African bush, trailing grizzly bears in North America, pursuing jaguars in the Amazon, finding rare pumas in Patagonia and even tracking animals through the stark Australian outback.
While tracking represents a core theme of the book, the development of what is now Van den Heever and Mhlongo’s unshakeable relationship, is central to the story. The reader gets a real-life working model for how to create a thriving multicultural relationship in today’s polarised world. They demonstrate that shared experiences are the key to unlocking the immense potential of human diversity. Power that lies in the variability of thoughts, experiences, ideas and skills.
These two men have broken through the barriers of their backgrounds and formed a bond that has changed both their lives forever. This is a relationship that is seen by many as a model of cultural cohesion in a democratic South Africa.
“The Power of Relationships”, a motivational presentation and talk by Van den Heever and Mhlongo, highlights Van den Heever’s strong feelings on the strength of relationships not only in one's personal life, but in the corporate environment too. It delves into cultural diversity and their true story of an authentic South African relationship created against the backdrop of the African bushveld.
Van den Heever and Mhlongo’s keynote presentation does not only have a major impact on the corporates that they have delivered it too, but also translates into meeting with transformation committees to delve deeper into the issue of diversity. Groups are introduced to Van den Heever and Mhlongo’s “5 Steps to Reconciliation” model – which initiated a rich and robust conversation. The discussion includes the importance of acknowledging privilege and how to be vulnerable in difficult conversations. Testimonials: “Your experience and expertise is quite phenomenal and to have had you and Renias share thoughts on the power of relationships as embodied in your experience is wonderful. Most certainly we will see them in a whole new light hereafter.” – Mark Perrett, Hilton College, KZN“Compelling and unputdownable! This book goes beyond wildlife to life, love, trust and community.” – Sello Hatang, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation