Animal manager: Penguins Eastern Cape

Xolani Lawo

Xolani Lawo saves lives. Penguin lives. He takes them from the verge of death to the point where he can release them back into their natural habitat. Lawo wanted to be a policeman, but while training as a guide at the Seal Point Lighthouse in Cape St Francis, he got to play with the penguins at the rehabilitation facility next door. His affection for the birds was instant and he quickly landed a job there.

As animal manager, Lawo is responsible for the daily management of all birds, staff and volunteers at the centre and is on 24-hour standbyfor any marine animals in trouble along his stretch of coast. Focusing on the bigger picture, Lawo hopes to extend the facility to create a land-based colony for penguins. For now, he’s happy to be on standby for the penguins and his local rugby team, who select him “when they get scared of the opposition”.

— Sipho Kings McDermott