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Damien Mander

Akashinga - The Brave Ones

Damien Mander: Akashinga - The Brave Ones

Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 4pm

Presented by Irvine Barclay Theatre

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Damien Mander spent his early 20s in the Royal Australian Navy, risking his life to protect others—first as a Naval clearance diver, then as a special operations sniper in an elite hostage recovery unit. By 2009, burned out after three years in Iraq, he bought a one-way ticket to Africa for his next mission: applying military solutions to the fight against poachers.

Instead, he found himself forming the first all-female ranger unit in Zimbabwe: Akashinga (“the brave ones”). The recruits were survivors of domestic violence, single mothers, abandoned wives and AIDS orphans. The instructors were skeptical, but the results spoke for themselves—and along the way, opinions and stereotypes were rapidly altered. Be inspired not only by Mander’s incredible journey from special forces to conservation, but also by the bravery and tenacity of the women he’s training to protect Africa’s ecosystems from poachers for future generations.


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