Brad and Angie made headlines early this month when they donated $2 million to the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary after spending Christmas with Marlice and Rudie van Vuuren, owners of the 10,000-hectare Namibian sanctuary.
It wasn’t the first time Angelina has come to the aid of Marlice who she met in 2002 while filming “Beyond Borders.” Marlice, a staunch wildlife conservationist, provided the vultures for the 2003 thriller co-starring Clive Owens.
Marlice, a beauty just like Angelina, has supplied animals for more than 30 films and ads. After becoming fast friends with Marlice and Goeters, Marlice’s domesticated cheetah, Angelina asked to help in her wildlife rehabilitation.
The Harnas Wildlife Foundation where Marlice grew up (it was started on her parents’ farm in 1978 after a maltreated vervet monkey took up refuge, the first of a long line of orphaned and abused animals) needed $200,000 for fencing that would help turn the cattle ranch into a nature preserve.
At that time, the Pitt-Jolie’s spent several days on the sanctuary, falling in love with the stark landscape, the wide open spaces and the noble work the Vuurens were doing. They even decided to give birth to Shiloh in Swakopmund, Namibia, a move scoffed by some critics.
Christmas 2010 was chosen as the perfect time for a return visit, not only so Shiloh could stay in touch with her birthplace, but so the family could enjoy some down time at the sanctuary’s beautifully-designed lodge with floor to ceiling plate glass windows.
The kids spent several days hanging out with a three-legged cheetah named Lucky (Lucky rides in Marlice’s VW Golf and starred in ad for the German car manufacturer in 2009), and a menagerie of big cats, baboons and wild dogs. They helped Marlice and five-year-old son, Zacheo, feed orphaned baby baboons and foxes, watched Rudie stitch up a wild dog, visited the San school on the farm and even watched a leopard released back into the wild.
Marlice and Rudie, a rugby star turned doctor, started N/a’an ku sê, which means “God Will Protect Us” both to preserve African wildlife and to provide a “safe home” and livelihood for the San people, Namibia’s original inhabitants. Marlice grew up with the local Bush people (she’s fluent in their language) and, together with Rudie, maintains a school and free health clinic. Lifeline Clinic at Epukiro provide healthcare to more than 3500 patients.
To find out more on N/a’an ku sê, click here.