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Black Lion: Alive In The Wilderness

Sicelo Mbatha and Bridget Pitt

Wilderness guide Sicelo Mbatha shares lessons learnt from a lifetime’s intimate association with Africa’s wildest nature.

Black Lion begins in rural South Africa where a deeply traumatic childhood experience should have turned Sicelo against the surrounding wilderness. Instead, he was irresistibly drawn to it. As a volunteer at Imfolozi Nature Reserve, close encounters with buffalo, lion, elephant and other animals taught him to ‘see’ with his heart and thus began a spiritual awakening.

Drawing from his Zulu culture and his own yearning to better understand human’s relationship to nature, Sicelo has forged a new path, disrupting the conventional approach to nature with an immersive, respectful and transformative way of being in the wilderness. Both memoir and philosophical reflection, Black Lion - co-written with author and environmentalist Bridget Pitt - is his brilliant and profound account of life as a wilderness spiritual guide.

As humanity hurtles into the anthropogenic 21st century, Black Lion is an urgent reminder of just how much we need wilderness for our emotional and spiritual survival.

'A brave account of a natural disaster, and of achieving reconciliation with the predatoriness of life.’ Richard Mabey on Sicelo Mbatha's essay, Letting Go, commended for the Irish Moth Nature Writing Prize.

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers  - available now in bookstores in South Africa and online.

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