On April 8, 2014 our beloved friend and co-worker, Sebastian Chuwa passed away due to complications following a stroke four days previously. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, four children, Margareth, Michael, Flora and Cyril, his 96-year old mother Sabina, brother Paul and sister Anna.
The ABCP has lost its inspirational founder and the world has lost a true champion of the environment. Before many others could envision the impact of human activities and climate change, Sebastian sounded the alarm by noticing the unwanted changes to the environment in which he lived. He dedicated his life to efforts to insure a sustainable future for his children and felt the same dedication to all the children of the planet. He gained international recognition of his accomplishments in environmental conservation, receiving awards and support from several influential organizations. His philosophy of conservation was based on two pillars: youth and public education and active personal involvement in remedial action.
He described himself as a “bushy” man, noting his love of the wilderness of the African bush, and had a long career as a safari guide. In that capacity, he made many friends from around the world, impressing all with his incomparable knowledge about the plants, animals, insects and natural history of northern Tanzania.
He was a masterful story teller, taking delight in mimicking wild animals, able to mouth a lion’s roar when so inspired. He entertained many around the campfires with his stories of life in the bush. He joked about watching “African TV”, as his audience sat around a roaring campfire staring at the flames and embers spiraling up into the night sky, blending into the limitless depths of stars overhead in the consummate darkness of a Serengeti night.
A botanist, Sebastian discovered several new species in early work at Ngorongoro Crater. He was familiar with scientific names for all the flora of Tanzania, as well as local names given by the various tribes who made up the complex mix of people in the country. He was fluent in English, Kiswahili, Chagga (the language of his tribe), Masai, and numerous other local dialects. He established credibility with local people as one who knew intimately how their lives were lived.
As a man who felt so at home in nature, having now shed his earthly bonds, he lives on in the hearts and memories of all who loved him and is now one with that starry African night.
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Last revised 12 Oct 2014.