Andrew Muir

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Andrew Muir "has a Masters Degree in Environment and Development from the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg and has dedicated the past 18 years of his life to conservation and social change in South Africa. In 1989, Andrew was appointed the National Director of the Wilderness Leadership School (WILD’s close associate, and a registered educational environmental trust) and during this period he founded and initiated three national training and community based developmental programs. In 2000, Andrew joined the Wilderness Foundation as the Executive Director in South Africa and since then the WFSA has expanded to become a force nationally in the field of environmental advocacy; wild area and wilderness project management and experiential education projects. During 2001, he successfully directed the 7th World Wilderness Congress in Port Elizabeth, which brought together more than 700 delegates from 42 countries. Andrew is a Co-Founder and Trustee of Usiko Rites of Passage, Chairman of the Wilderness Leadership School Trust, Board Member of the WILD Foundation (USA), Associate of the Gaia Foundation (UK), Director of the Board of Open Africa Initiative and Member and Deputy Chairperson of the Eastern Cape Provincial Parks Board." [1]

"Andrew Muir, CEO of The Wilderness Foundation (WILD’s sister organization in South Africa), has been named the Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur for 2012. Andrew, a globally recognized leader in the urban social aspects of nature conservation, is also a Rolex Award Laureate (2008) for his visionary work to assist AIDs-affected and other disadvantaged orphans by providing care and training to facilitate jobs for them in the nature conservation sector." [1]

Military Background

"Conscripted into the South African Defence Force (SADF) in 1985 [when just 2o years old], he was deployed into the townships to help quell the uprisings. “This marked a turning point in my life,” recalls Muir. “I witnessed some horrific things, and saw absolute anger and hatred in the eyes of the majority of our country’s citizens. I knew then that I had to try, in some way, to heal those wounds.”

"In fact Muir’s experience in the army showed him not only the worst side of the country, but also its best. Having conscientiously objected to his duties, he was, after a period of incarceration, assigned a desk job. It was here that he conceived the idea of a 780-kilometre walk along the beach from Nature’s Valley, near Plettenberg Bay, to Cape Town to raise awareness about tuberculosis. Under the auspices of the SADF, Muir was joined by 13 of the country’s premier athletes on a walk that took 28 days. He says the experience transformed him, inspiring him to develop his philosophy of using nature for both social and environmental reform.

"His deep commitment has won wide respect, as Dr Mamphela Ramphele, a leading intellectual and political figure, acknowledges: “Andrew is a man fired by the passion to be the best he can be in order to make the world he lives in a better place. He is a leader, teacher, mentor and bridge between young people and the world of adults; between black and white South Africans; and between urban development and the relatively unspoiled wilderness areas. He is able to move people beyond the limits they set themselves.”" [5]

"Today, Muir is executive director of the Wilderness Foundation Africa and founder and driving force behind the Umzi Wethu Training Academy, a programme that provides vocational training – and eventual jobs in South Africa’s growing ecotourism – for Aids orphans and other vulnerable youths. " [6]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Wilderness Foundation director Andrew Muir wins prestigious award!,, accessed December 15, 2011.
  2. Trustees, Wilderness Foundation (South Africa), accessed June 16, 2010.
  3. Directors, Oliver Foundation, accessed June 16, 2010.
  4. Advisors, The Bateleurs, accessed December 15, 2011.
  5. A new Life, rolexawards, accessed December 15, 2011.
  6. Bio, rolexawards, accessed December 15, 2011.

External links