3 African Scientists Announced As National Geographic Wayfinder Award Recipients

This group of Explorers are pushing the boundaries of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to transform our world

Each year, the National Geographic Society recognizes and elevates people who are leading a new age of exploration through science, education, conservation, technology, and storytelling, via its Wayfinder Award. This year, three of the recipients hail from Africa: Resson Kantai Duff, Zoleka Filander and Gibbs Kuguru. These Explorers have proven themselves as the next generation of influential leaders, communicators, and innovators whose critical work demonstrates the power of science, and inspires us to learn about, care for, and protect our world.

The recipients of the 2022 Wayfinder Award, previously called the Emerging Explorer Award, are engaged in groundbreaking work that challenges the most entrenched stereotypes in the animal kingdom, work that focuses on inclusive and community-based conservation, work that blends social justice with ecological scientific research, and work that promotes racial literacy in education. Furthermore, they are using new technology, research, photography, and impactful storytelling, among other techniques, to advocate for and protect the wonder of our world.

Resson Kantai Duffis the deputy director of Ewaso Lions, an organization dedicated to helping people and lions coexist in northern Kenya. Duff is passionate about decolonizing conservation and works to renew Kenyans’ sense of ownership over their wildlife, culture, and land.

Zoleka Filander is a South African deep-sea researcher who identifies and documents seabed species in South Africa’s uncharted oceans. Her findings have contributed to assessments of South Africa’s biodiversity and ecosystem classification maps and helped lay the groundwork for the establishment of a network of offshore marine protected areas.

Gibbs Kuguru is a Kenyan scientist who studies the DNA of sharks. Kuguru is using his genetic research to better understand the unique DNA elements that shape the populations of sharks in the blue wilds of the world. He is a passionate communicator and has a multidisciplinary approach to shark conservation.

The Wayfinder Award recipients join the National Geographic Society’s global community of National Geographic Explorers and each receives a prize to continue conducting their work.


The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories, and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za Instagram: instagram.com/andrewgerm_za IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/

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