Confessions of a turtle butcher


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Five years for Turtle ButcherOn the day this story, Five years for turtle butcher, was published, Roving Reporters presented  it to a class of final year journalism students at the Durban University of Technology. The discussions gave rise to an investigation sponsored by the Taco Kupier Trust Fund for investigative journalism.

Four students,  Joel Burton, Sandile Guemede, Sabelo Nsele, Nosipho Mngoma conducted the fieldwork for this investigation.

The following stories,  published as double-page special report in the Daily News, exposed a host of complex social, environmental and development issues that have led to strained relations between conservation authorities and the people battling to survive in the Kosi Bay area of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Stunned silence meets historic turtle butcher verdict

Meeting Makotikoti in prison

Wedded to poverty

Inside Makotikoti’s home

To view the pdfs of the Daily News package, click on the links below.

The Turtle Butcher_DN01

The turtle butcher_Part I



The Turtle Butcher_DN02The turtle butcher_Part II



Makotikoti Zikhali was released on early parole in March 2012 on the eve of his mother’s funeral. The next day he declared to mourners: “I am not a criminal” and vowed to tell the world his story. Read A graveside promise


A graveside promise

Click here  to read pdf of story published by the Daily News.



Now read about how an intervention by the Phemba Kahle Trust  gave rise to the award-winning Makotikoti Arts Project (The MAP) supported by the Human Elephant Foundation

Poacher turns sculptor with help from Roving Reporters

From turtle butcher to saviour

Accolade for Roving Reporters at the 2012 Taco Kuiper Trust awards ceremony

From chickens to turtles – Taco Kuiper highlights great work