Unveiling of memorial plaque and Sivananda Peace Pillar… His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuZulu will unveil a memorial plaque and Sivananda Peace Pillar at Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park on 14 December 2011 at 10am.

The plaques have been put up in honour of Ezemvelo staff members who have fallen in the line of duty, marking the contributions and sacrifices they have made to the organisation in the service of nature conservation. Two memorial plaques have been erected. One will bear the names of the 43 deceased heroes and heroines from all Ezemvelo protected areas. The second plaque will depict the quotations from prominent environmentalists.

The Memorial Plaque seeks to acknowledge the contribution made by these fallen heroes to conservation. It will also serve as a place of remembrance for all families who lost their loved ones in defence of conservation. It should remind us of the critical role that is being played by all officials involved in protecting our environment and also remind us of the dangers associated with their work.

The Sivananda Peace Pillar is erected alongside the memorial wall. The Sivananda Peace Pillar weighs four tons and is 3,5m high. It is inscribed with prayers and erected in honour of two religious leaders, Swami Sivananda and the late Swami Sahajananda, who have contributed extensively towards community upliftment in South Africa.

Commenting on this ground-breaking initiative, Dr Mkhize, CEO of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, said, “All of our achievements have been, and continue to be, as a result of the commitment and dedication shown by our staff. This dedication and commitment is no better demonstrated than by those who have actually given their lives to this cause, and the plaque also serves as a reminder to present and future generations of the sacrifices they have made.”

According to Ramlutchman, Honourary Patron of Divine Life Society, India, the peace pillars are a source of inspiration. This observation was also made by former South African president Nelson Mandela who was presented with a replica peace pillar in Gauteng for his 92nd birthday. Madiba remarked that the pillars would go a long way in promoting peace in our country. International religious leaders Swami Vimalananda and His Holiness Dalai Lama of Tibet praised Ramlutchman for this fantastic initiative and have given their unconditional support to the project. The unveiling of the four-ton granite pillar will be an historic event for the country.

The nine pillars that have been erected in the country and the proposed six which will be erected in other parts of the country, pay tribute to Swami Sivananda, founder of the Divine Life Society Worldwide, and his disciple Swami Sahajananda for their contribution towards uplifting KwaZulu-Natal. “It is time we honoured the people who have fought for preserving and protecting our environment This, we hope, will remind our future generations of the contribution made by these fallen heroes and heroines and convince them to be passionate about nature conservation,” said Ramlutchman.