Sheila Berry

Sheila Berry has been associated with wilderness and the iMfolozi Wilderness Area for more than 30 years. She facilitated wilderness experiences for youth at risk of pursuing a life of crime. She also accompanied traumatized youth raised in violent townships to the iMfolozi, the eastern shores of Lake St. Lucia and the Drakensberg to experience the peace and healing of these unique wilderness areas. Her M.A. dissertation “The Therapeutic Use of Wilderness” helped pioneer Wilderness Psychology in South Africa. She attended three World Wilderness Congresses including Scotland, in 1983, where the Wilderness Action Group (WAG) was formed. She is currently WAG ’s Deputy Chairperson and is also a trustee of the Ian Player Foundation, the Magqubu Ntombela Memorial Trust, the Global Environmental Trust and the Wilderness Leadership School. She has worked with indigenous people, focusing on hunter-gatherer communities in Africa, and spent four years on Bazaruto island in Mozambique, working with artisanal fishing communities. As a champion of wilderness and an environmental and social activist, she made a submission to the Leon Commission during the Save the St Lucia campaign that drew on her research for her M.A. degree. She was also involved in Save the Vaal Environment, a campaign that successfully opposed the Wonderwater open cast coal mine proposed by SASOL that would have contaminated the Vaal river and destroyed a vital wetland.