What started out as a planned ‘Year in the Wild’, generating publicity for 31 special nature reserves, has stretched to a potentially unlimited project for photojournalist and conservationist Scott Ramsay, as more parks and reserves in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa request his attention and documentary skills.
Ramsay visited the Goodyear plant in Uitenhage last week, to thank his proud co-sponsor and share his travel stories with some of the tyre manufacturer’s employees. Two of Goodyear’s finest 4×4 tyre builders – Lonwabo Manuyube and Mcedi Gxavu – enjoyed a lunch with Ramsay, along with members of the marketing team, as encouragement and reward for their excellent service.
After hearing about the rocky, sandy, slippery wilderness terrains Ramsay had travelled, the men were thrilled to check out the (slightly worn) Wrangler AT/SA tyres on his Ford Everest and to realise that they had played an important role in their proven quality.
“I’m so chuffed to see that the tyres on Scott’s vehicle are the ones that we actually handled,” said Manuyube. “It’s been great to hear all about the places he’s travelled in the tyres and to get direct, positive feedback on his experience of our Wranglers. It makes us proud!”
The men shared a chuckle with Ramsay about the different dangers each faced in their daily jobs: one, building tyres with heavy machinery and the other facing potentially deadly wildlife to get his photograph. Both men joined Goodyear shortly after completing their matric, nine years ago. Aside from strength, they listed good team communication and empathy as among the skills required for success in the physically demanding tyre room.
As a conservationist, Ramsay was particularly impressed to learn more about Goodyear’s award-winning environmental policies, like ‘zero waste to landfill’ in manufacture and office facilities, and about the other conservation-related projects the company supports, such as the Rhino Project and the Toyota Enviro Outreach.
“The true cost of any product is not just financial; we also need to consider its cost to nature, like landfill or water pollution. My project focuses on wild places but I’ve been struck by the often stark contrast of highly developed areas just minutes from pristine countryside. Everyone needs to conserve these days, not just conservationists.
“I certainly feel good knowing that my Wranglers are not only totally trustworthy, they are also light on the planet. I didn’t know that much about tyres when I set off. I certainly respect them more after my journey, now that I’ve seen for myself their capabilities. I make sure to adjust the tyre pressure correctly as I move to different terrain, which I now realise is not only more comfortable but also helps them last longer.
“My car has been my home for well over a year now, and I often think of my tyres as my shoes.”
Lize Hayward, Group Brand Communications Manager, said Goodyear was proud to support Ramsay and the long-term contribution he was making to the country’s natural heritage.