June 4

Why Inclusivity is Important to Our Rhino Africa Crash

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By Xinay De Vries on June 4, 2024

Working at Rhino Africa has a unique perk: it broadens your perspective on people and things in unexpected ways. This experience opens your mind to new possibilities, making writing this blog both a challenging and enlightening endeavour. For me, inclusivity was always an ideal to strive for, not a reality I experienced. However, my time at Rhino Africa has transformed my view, as inclusivity here is a lived reality, not just an aspiration. I spoke with several members of our Rhino Crash to understand their views on inclusivity and what it means to them...

David Ryan, Founder of Rhino Africa, in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve with Silvan Safari

Inclusivity is at the core of who we are, Image Credit: Michael + Matt

Introverts Unite!

The first member of our Crash I spoke with was Laura, a fellow introvert who, like me, never goes anywhere without her headphones. You might expect a conversation between two introverts to be awkward both in the moment and for readers afterwards. Fortunately, that wasn't the case for us, so it won’t be for you.

When I asked Laura what inclusivity meant to her, she lit up.

"Family. Including everyone and their differences, all their backgrounds, and I love that. There's everyone at Rhino from different backgrounds, different families, and different countries and I love that. I think it's beautiful. I feel like we should accept everyone for who they are and it really doesn’t matter, you know, who they like or what they like. I think everyone should be accepted." 
Laura Hall, Rhino Africa employee

Laura on her first day at Rhino Africa!

It was clear that the inclusive environment at Rhino had a profound impact on her.

"I felt very welcome. It brought me out of my shell. Looking back at high school me and me now, I'm so much more talkative, so much more extroverted. Just a lot more comfortable with myself than I was back then." 

When the topic of Pride came up, Laura's eyes sparkled with pride of her own.

"Happiness. Growth. I think it's something to be very proud of. You should be proud of who you are, and I think as a generation, or as a society, we've grown so much and become so much more inclusive, especially Cape Town." 
Two of the Rhino Crash members sitting on a couch at a function

Rhino Africa is a place where every individual is treasured

How Inclusivity Has An Impact on Pride

Next up was Unathi, whose effervescent personality immediately brought out my more extroverted side. When I asked her how inclusivity at Rhino had impacted her personally, she responded with heartfelt conviction.

"I never doubt my self-expression in my work environment. It doesn’t feel like someone else’s space; it feels like a space that is also created not just for me but with me in mind. I don’t have to second-guess what I say. Being a queer person isn’t controversial, it's just being a human being. I never have to guard myself that someone is just going to think I’m too much. I can just be a human within this space full of other humans."
Rhino Africa Year-End Party 2023

Unathi and Xolelwa looking pretty in pink!

Her thoughts on Pride Month were equally inspiring.

"I see Pride Month as an acknowledgement of everyone who has gone before us and had to struggle and pave the way for us to be loud. We can be loud and proud today because others before us were suppressed.
I think the expression of Pride Month is a form of gratitude towards those people. We'll never forget. We'll always celebrate you and we are thankful that we have elders that went through everything that they went through and now we are at a place where we can celebrate ourselves.
It's also a way, as I'm very straight-presenting, to give me an opportunity to express how much the queer community means to me and do it in a way that is outward and can be seen. It makes us a bit more unapologetic so I'm always excited for Pride Month." 
Year end part 2023

Unathi being loud and proud of who she is!

How Inclusivity Impacts Everyone

Unathi's sentiment was echoed by our fellow crash member, Gerhard, one of our amazing Travel Experts. His perspective on Pride was both reflective and forward-looking.

"Pride Month is important to me, being a bit older. For example, when I was at school, I would say that diversity was not celebrated as it is today. So, for me, it's important to reflect on how far we've come, especially in this country and worldwide, and I think Pride is just a celebration of how far we’ve come and just a reminder for generations that have enjoyed inclusivity to realise how much has been done to get where we are today." 
World Rhino Day 2023: Rhino Africa staff wearing rhino costumes

We are Rhinos!

Wanting to know more, I asked him how celebrating Pride binds us as a company.

"We all live normal lives regardless of who we are, so I think it gives us time within the company to celebrate who we are regardless of our orientation. I’ve celebrated Pride Month with friends and colleagues who are not of the same orientation and for them also to see that this is who I am. It puts some humanity to an office in the sense that it highlights what is special about you, and it binds colleagues together who might not even know who they are outside the company." 

Fostering an Inclusive Culture

Inclusivity is essential at Rhino Africa because it fosters an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. When people from diverse backgrounds come together, they bring a wealth of perspectives and ideas that drive innovation and creativity. This melting pot of experiences and viewpoints enables us to better understand and serve our clients, who are just as diverse as our team.

Moreover, an inclusive workplace enhances employee satisfaction and well-being, as individuals feel seen and appreciated for who they truly are. This sense of belonging leads to higher engagement, better collaboration, and, ultimately, a more dynamic and successful organisation.

Our team of eight rhinos celebrating at the finish line

We always love to do things together, Image Credit: Extra Mile Trail Run

Why Inclusivity Is An Essential Ingredient To Rhino Africa's Success

The Rhino Africa Crash is more than just a concept – it's a fundamental part of our culture. The thoughts shared by Laura, Unathi, Gerhard, and others in our Rhino Crash illustrate the profound impact that a truly inclusive environment can have on individuals. It allows us to break down barriers, celebrate our unique identities, and unite in our shared humanity.

At Rhino Africa, inclusivity is not just something we strive for; it's woven into the fabric of who we are, driving us towards a brighter, more compassionate future.

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About the author 

Xinay De Vries

Born and raised in South Africa, Xinay is no stranger to all the amazing possibilities Africa has to offer. She's a self-proclaimed bookworm and coffee addict with a yen for bubbles and rosé, so you'll often find her exploring the streets of Cape Town looking for the best cup of coffee or glass of wine. With a passion for travel and her home country, she's determined to get others to love Africa as much as she does!

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