Biography – STANY NYANDWI

Stany Nyandwi was born into the straw and dust poverty of rural Burundi in 1968. At the age of ten, Stany attended a mission school, learning to read and write in the Kirundi language. After only three years in school, Stany would leave and he came of age in the middle of a truly horrifying civil war that would subsume Burundi. The war would take the lives of his parents, his younger brother, as well as hundreds of thousands of other Burundians. At the age of fifteen, Stany left his home village to work as a houseboy in the Burundian capital city, Bujumbura. After four years working in slavelike conditions, Stany would escape and begin working for the Jane Goodall Institute in Bujumbura. This new job would change Stany’s life, as well as the lives of countless others. Stany discovered an unexpected and unique gift: the ability to develop bonds and communicate with mankind’s closest biological relatives –\ chimpanzees. Such was Stany’s talent as a chimpanzee linguist, that world-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall began referring to him as ‘The Chimpanzee Whisperer.’ Working with chimps gave Stany new meaning and purpose. He would overcome battles with addiction as well as the threat of imprisonment and death. In 1995, he would flee Burundi and continue his work with orphaned chimps in Kenya, and then, most notably at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda. On Ngamba aIsland, Stany would befriend chimps who had suffered terrible cruelty and loss, just as he had. He would develop and perfect chimpanzee care and husbandry techniques that would be acknowledged and celebrated around the world. And he would win multiple global conservation awards for his pioneering chimpanzee work. Today, more than three decades later, Stany continues his work with chimps, at JGI’s Chimp Eden sanctuary in South Africa. Though he has faced much discrimination, injustice and hardship, Stany continues to rise above adversity, living a life of commitment, dedication and sacrifice. He is a man with a heart as large as Africa; a man who understands the redemptive power of forgiveness

3109906885