Each endurance event will be undertaken by one of the founding members of W4L.
Nick shares his office with three chickens, and the occasional goat. He was born and brought up in Zimbabwe, where he chaired the local Farmers’ Association and the community’s National Environment Committee, and sat on the boards of several organisations, including an agricultural training institute and a local hospital. He served as Editor of The Farmer magazine was appointed first Regional Executive for the Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe (CFU). On one of the farm roads, Nick used to watch a python sunning itself, and on one occasion discovered twenty-one babies nose to tail behind their mother. Now living in the UK, his company is more domesticated, although his rooster still interrupts Skype calls.
Nick is CEO of Consolidated Africa Services (CAS) UK, which is dedicated to promoting investment into Zimbabwe and the greater SADC region. He loves being in the bush and watching what is going on around him, from the ants beavering away, to the elephants browsing, to all the birds going about their daily chores. He is wondering how we can get people to care enough to make the changes necessary to ensure the survival of the planet and improve our own mental well being.
Ed’s workmates suggested his totem should be an eagle, because of his foresight and ability to see the big picture.
“He definitely goes into the sky and needs me to pull him down,” his wife said. His signet ring emblem is the griffin - half eagle, half lion, and Ed likes how these identities meet. He was born in Zimbabwe and educated at two bush schools, then his parents sent him to do A levels in the UK. He served in the British army for 10 years, mostly in the UK and Middle East, and retired as a Major in the UK Special Forces. Despite what he’s seen Ed is optimistic about the nature of people. He joined the security sector, and worked in Iraq, only later freeing himself up through security consulting to travel the world with his young family. They finally returned to a distressed Zimbabwe on the 1st of January, 2010.
Learning through many trials and tribulations, Ed has built up a platform of small businesses in a tough business environment. The first company he set up was called Scarab, after the dung beetle, because “someone’s got to clean up all the dung of the world.” While his wife says the eagle is fitting, she thinks he’s more of a honey badger: “intelligent, amazing, grumpy creatures. Cantankerous aren’t they?”
Munya was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, and started his career as an auditor for an accounting firm in Zimbabwe in 1992. At the time, his clientele encompassed NGO’s, insurance companies, financiers, manufactures, service industrialists, retailers, real estate agencies, legal practitioners, pension funds, medical practitioners and rural district councils.
As a Master of Business Administration graduate, he continues to take on new frontiers in business. His passion for business and creating new start-up projects has seen him progress to other sectors, whilst continuing to develop a multi-sector strategy that will see him taking proofs of concept and Zimbabwean successes into an emerging regional reality over the coming decades.
Security and Logistics
Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, James did a stint in the British military and has since provided management, security and logistics services in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.He worked for a large company with operations on both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides of Lake Kariba and spent two years as the Operations Manager for the Matusadona Anti-Poaching Project (MAPP), on the Zimbabwean side of the lake.
Since the inception of MAPP in 2013, the project has been responsible for over a thousand arrests and convictions of poachers, including ivory and pangolin crimes. MAPP is not just about arresting poachers though and works closely with local communities to combat illegal wildlife trade. Its work has won awards from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority for environmental awareness and action.
Even in his free time, James seems to get himself into dangerous situations, and once travelled between Tanzania and Zanzibar in a dhow. His experience of Lake Kariba and its environment has made him the ideal go to person for the rest of the W4L team when it comes to understanding some of the potential problems and hazards to be faced during the walk.
James and his team will provide, on a rotational basis, all the security and support that Nick and his guest walkers will need, from wild animals, such as lion, buffalo, elephant, and hippo, to armed poachers.
Jacob founded and chairs the Young Entrepreneurs Business Forum (YEBF), an organisation that seeks to help young people access economic opportunities. With YEBF he has organised a number of conferences and concerts to raise awareness on the challenges youth face in business and how these can be overcome. He has also managed affairs for the band Victor Kunonga and Peace.
In 2017, Jacob was selected among the top 1,000 entrepreneurs on the African continent by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. He is part of an investment group with a global presence, and held the biggest Zimbabwe-focused investment conference in London during the first quarter of 2018. Jacob serves as the Chairman for the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) steering committee on youth and gender and is the Zimbabwe SDG representative for Youth for Africa. In his free time he hosts gatherings for friends and listens to jazz and contemporary African music.
Jenna van de Ruit
Jenna lives in a treehouse and spends her days writing, meditating and juggling absurd projects. Her background is in Sociology, Animal Behaviour and Creative Writing. At Dartmouth College she won the 2015 Grimes English Prize, was a Presidential Scholar, a Women in Science Scholar, and has received Dickey and Lombard Fellowships. Her work has been featured in The Sunday Times and 40 Towns, and her book, Collecting Wings, is forthcoming.
Jenna has studied food webs in the Ethiopian highlands, filmed a documentary about female ex-inmates in Chile, and created virtual reality scenes of natural environments to reduce astronauts’ stress during long duration space flight. At W4L, she is combining her interests in adventure, biology and mental health, and working out how to grow a conversation.