News of the passing of Anne Player.
Wife of our founder Ian Player

Friends… Ann Player passed away a few days ago. Many of you knew Ann from meeting her at one of the 4 or 5 World Wilderness Congresses she attended with Ian, or from visits to the farm, Phuzamoya  (“To Drink the Wind”), where she and Ian lived for many many decades. She fell last week, broke her hip, and did not survive the surgery.  I have little other details, just that (at her request and very much like her), the service is for immediate family only.

Ann would have been 90, I think,  just a couple of years younger than Ian.  She was a remarkable and quiet woman, the definition of an introvert, with a quiet passion for art, gardening , and reading. She could recite pages and pages of verse from memory, of her favourite poems and the classics. Her wit was as sharp and dry as it was funny. She could wield it with the stealth of a Ninja.  Her deep and lovely sense of the bush –a love of nature of all types –allowed her to raise her three children as a game ranger’s wife, completely in the bush, as Ian built his early career in the Natal Parks Board in the iMfolozi Game Reserve.

I spent many memorable months of my life in her company, especially when I used to retreat to Phuzamoya for days at a time, around the log stove in their kitchen or the coal fire in the sitting room.  I remember with delight when she would speak about the boomslang (tree snake, 2.5 meters and venomous) that lived in the thatch of the roof over the verandah. She quietly mentioned how the “lovely snake” would occasionally drape itself down from the thatch while visitors were having tea on the verandah, “often causing a little stir.”  She just smiled.

She disliked the city intensely, and could only bear it either to visit her sister in Pietermaritzburg or visit the occasional art gallery. In all the years Ian and I traveled the world, besides several WWC’s she attended, she only once accompanied Ian on a business trip… to London when we were raising money for and planning the 3rd WWC. She far preferred the quiet, the flowers, the trees, the barking baboons, and the boomslang of Phuzamoya.

Go well, Ann

Vance Martin,
Co founder of Wilderness Foundation Global,
President of The Wild Foundation and board member of WF UK