Black Lion: Alive in the Wilderness by Sicelo Mbatha – both memoir and philosophical reflection
Black Lion: Alive in the Wilderness by Sicelo Mbatha with Bridget Pitt – part memoir, part guide to understanding the importance of wilderness to humanity’s health and spiritual well-being.
‘My name is Sicelo Cabangani Mbatha. My wilderness name is Black Lion. I am the black lion who helps people discover the wild animal within. I am the black lion who roars for peace and harmony on Great Mother Earth. I am the black lion, alive in the wilderness.’
Wilderness guide Sicelo Mbatha shares the wisdom he has gained from a lifetime’s intimate association with Africa’s wildest nature. The story begins with a traumatic childhood experience that should have turned Mbatha against the surrounding wilderness. Instead, he was irresistibly drawn to it. As a volunteer at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, close encounters with buffalo, lion, elephant and other animals taught him to see with his heart and set him on a lifelong journey of spiritual awakening.
Drawing from his Zulu culture and his own yearning to better understand humanity’s relationship with itself and with nature, Mbatha 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 a reminder of how much we need the wilderness for our emotional and spiritual survival.
‘A remarkable story … poetic and beautifully written. It goes to the heart of the meaning of ecological literacy’ – Dr Ian McCallum
About the author
Sicelo Mbatha is a facilitator of spiritual experiences of the wilderness. He has devoted his life to fostering deep connections between humans and nature, and in enabling members of his own community to experience the wilderness. He grew up alongside the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park nature reserve, and nature has always been his medicine, his teacher and his spiritual home.
Bridget Pitt is the author of three novels, and is an environmentalist.