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Friday, April 22, 2016


Only after the last tree has been cut down.

Only after the last river has been poisoned.

Only after the last fish has been caught.

Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

Cree Indian Prophecy

21st April 2016

“Braveheart” – oil painting done by Cheryl


15th December 1956 ~ 29th March 2016

Cheryl was born on the 15th December 1956 in sunny Rhodesia. She comes from a family of avid motorcycle enthusiasts and rode a motorcycle herself in her youth. As a young girl, she was labelled as “quite a tough cookie” and some what a bit of a tom boy. She was only 5ft tall but nothing stopped her fiery, witty and determined spirit from achieving anything that she set her mind to. As well as riding motorbikes, and racing her cousin’s go kart around the farm roads, affectionately named “the race track”. She also did a spot of ballet, which she hated. I think her parents were trying to encourage her to be more like a girl. She made all the clothes she wore too. Cheryl was a stunning woman with brownish black hair and beautiful brown eyes which would captivate your soul if you ever did have the pleasure of meeting her.

She was a very intelligent lady who excelled at school and wanted to go onto university. Her command of the English language was exemplary as well as her artistic skills and she could play the piano and piano accordion by ear fluently. Cheryl painted some of the most beautiful works of art, which people would ask if they were in fact paintings or photographs. Her attention to detail was impeccable.

Cheryl met my Dad, Johnny Rodrigues in 1974. She was crossing the road in front of his car which was parked at the robots…..he had never seen such a beautiful woman in all his life. He told her that he would be coming to visit that afternoon, to which she aptly replied…”well, I won’t be there”. On arriving at her house in the morning, as promised, she had gone off on her motorbike to the swimming pool. On her return, later that afternoon, Johnny then told her that he was going to marry her; her response was “sure buck”. Needless to say, they fell madly in love and were married in the Roman Catholic Cathedral on 4th Street in Rhodesia. A year later, Lorraine came along followed by Brigitte and later on Shane.

During Cheryl’s 42 years of married life to her love, Johnny, she played soft ball and was selected to play on an all girls football team in the Curry Cup in South Africa which she received her Provincial colours for. After relocating back to Zimbabwe she was selected to fish for Zimbabwe under the National Bank Angling Team and fished the Tri- Nations International in Namibia and did very well. She received her National colours as a result of her efforts.

Cheryl also started writing a book about the ZCTF and Johnny, which she only completed 12 chapters, which we hope to complete and make it available to the public so everyone can hear her story.

She supported her husband Johnny, her children, grand-children and son in-law Gavin, wholeheartedly in everything they did. She was Johnny’s fishing partner attended all the car races that he and their children competed in as well as supported her children in their karate at the World Championships in 2014 where her daughter Lorraine and grand-daughter Kylie both won silver medals. Her son Shane has also made a name for himself with his life like pencil drawings of animals too.

Cheryl always loved animals. In 1998, Johnny and Cheryl formed The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. Cheryl would do oil paintings of the animal’s native to Zimbabwe to try and raise awareness and funds to help the ZCTF grow. The funds raised were used to help send anti poaching units run by Johnny in the Kariba area to stop the netting of tiger fish. They also raised funds towards saving Hwange when it was hit by the severe drought in 2005. The ZCTF bought fuel, spares for pumps, uniforms and boots and assisted towards the National Park’s ranger’s wages during that time. Cheryl accompanied Johnny on one of the trips to Hwange to deliver the first batch of 10 000 litres of fuel, from a total of 65 000 litres actually delivered. After installing the pumps and the water began to pump into the pan, they witnessed the thirsty animals coming out of the bushes to drink the much needed water. Many different species came down to the watering hole that day. Cheryl was awe struck by the euphoric atmosphere in the air whilst the animals drank water at the same time…… they did not sleep that night, they sat at the watering hole savouring the moment before them.

There are so many instances whereby the efforts of Johnny and Cheryl resulted in animals being relocated to safer areas, M99 being purchased for the local vets too. Only a few of their accomplishments have been spoken about as there are too many to mention. This was all made possible from the proceeds of Cheryl’s paintings and the many donations that came in from animal lovers all over the world.

Cheryl sat tirelessly for days and nights sending out the ZCTF reports and helped Johnny expose the truth about the famous Lion, Cecil who was killed by the infamous Walter Palmer. This led to the Cecil Act being passed by the US government preventing all imports of trophy hunts from Zimbabwe into America as well as many air lines coming on board to stop the transportation of any trophies in the future. The United Nations have tabled a wildlife act to protect all endangered wildlife and aquatic life around the world. We still await the outcome of their decision. There will be a Cecil rally in Washington DC, USA on the 30th July 2016 in honour of Cecil and the growing continuous efforts to save the endangered lion. This has all come about because of the Cecil Act, the King of the Jungle, Cecil, never died in vain. To date this has to be one of the greatest achievements accomplished by the ZCTF and for conservation world wide.

Today, the world has lost a great conservationist; a lover of all things created by God and has left us empty, full of despair and sorrow. Although she has taken a leave of absence to go and help God care for Cecil the Lion and Tusker the Elephant and the animals she so dearly loved and tried to save, she did leave us with one thing………..her legacy. A legacy that will live on in our hearts forever and that we will continue to fight for the animals until our last breath and we meet her again because she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“Take nothing but pictures,

Kill nothing but time,

Leave nothing but footprints”

John Kay

The quote above written by John Kay, pretty much sums up everything my Mom, Cheryl Rodrigues believed in and lived by……..

Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline:        263 4 339065
Mobile:           263 712 603 213

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force relies soley on public donations. Your donation can help to preserve the wildlife in Zimbabwe. If you would like to assist, please contact us.


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