Industry News

Industry mourns the loss of Godfrey Mathebula

; It is with great sadness that Newmark Hotels & Reserves announces the untimely death of Godfrey Mathebula, Assistant General Manager of Motswari Private Game Reserve and member of the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa’s (FGASA) Board of Directors.

Mathebula’s story is deeply rooted in the fabric of the Motswari family, stretching back to his days up on Java Camp where his parents were the caretakers of Paul Geiger’s original property in the Greater Kruger.

The Geiger family supported him through school, and he then followed in his father’s footsteps, securing a position in the maintenance workshop at Motswari.

But the bush was calling, and it wasn’t long before he obtained the highest guiding qualifications. He was a mentor to many young guides entering the industry as well as an important member of FGASA management structures.

“Throughout the years, Godfrey has entertained and impressed guests, staff members, and fellow guides with his extensive knowledge of the bush and all its inhabitants. Godfrey will forever be remembered for his great stories, hearty laugh and as the man with a million-dollar smile. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and those who knew and loved him. Rest in peace, Godfrey,” said owner of Motswari Private Game Reserve, Marion Geiger-Orengo.

Godfrey served as a member of the FGASA Board of Directors since 2016. MD of the Association, Michelle du Plessis, commented that Godfrey was more than just an incredible guide and exemplary member of FGASA, saying that he provided expert mentorship, a gentle guiding hand and inspired numerous others to pursue their dreams of working in the safari industry.

“Godfrey’s passion for guiding and wildlife left an indelible mark on all those fortunate enough to work with him or be under his incredible guidance. Throughout his career, Godfrey remained committed to his own development and that of others, having achieved his FGASA Professional Field Guide and FGASA Professional Trails Guide qualifications as well as the FGASA SKS Birding qualification,” said du Plessis.

A true giant of our industry has fallen. We cannot express our devastation at hearing this tragic news. Godfrey’s input and advice at FGASA has helped to shape, build, and develop FGASA to where it is now. We will miss his gentle demeanour, hearing the passion and wisdom in his words and his invaluable contributions to building FGASA’s future and the futures of countless field guides,” she added.

COO of Newmark Hotels & Reserves, Mike Vroom, also mentioned the guidance, mentorship and leadership that Mathebula provided to Motswari and the greater guiding industry.

“Godfrey was an incredible human being, who I had the absolute pleasure of working with over the last 6 years. Recalling the humbleness of his guiding, I remember him stopping for the smallest insects to ensure we understood their importance and tracking the biggest predators with utmost respect shown to the ecosystem that so warmly welcomed him. Phomola Gabotse, Godfrey,” said Vroom.

“Godfrey was such a gentle, genuine person. All the staff at Motswari absolutely adored him. That’s what makes Motswari special – they don’t just act like family, they are family and Godfrey was a big brother to everyone at the lodge,” said Group Head Chef of Newmark Hotels & Reserves, Chris Erasmus.


About Newmark Hotels and Reserves 

Newmark Hotels & Reserves lives by the promise of “Experience authentic”. It creates memorable and unique experiences for guests – authentic to the location, environs, and people of each of its properties. From gracious boutique luxury hotels, vibrant city hotels, inspiring safari lodges run according to sound conservation principles, to blissful island getaways – Newmark is a curator of occasions that excite, serve, sooth and take care of its guests. Occasions that are complemented by sensorial cuisine directed by Newmark’s Group Head Chef and enhanced by the Group Sommelier’s selected wine choices.

Established in 2007, Newmark Hotels & Reserves has its roots in Cape Town, and continues to expand throughout Africa. The hospitality management company’s South African footprint includes Cape Town’s iconic V&A Waterfront, the magnificent Cape Winelands, the open skies of the Karoo, the green hills of the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere and the vast Kruger National Park where lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard roam free. Further afield Newmark’s guests can experience West African golf experiences, the majesty of the Great Migration, and the opulence of Mauritian and Zanzibar beach resorts.

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