Buffalo Thorn

The Lead with Humanity ethos is reflected in the nodes, hooks, spikes and leaves of Africa’s buffalo thorn (Ziziphus mucronata).

The leaves and their three strong veins represent our relationship with ourselves; other people; and our creator (however that is personally interpreted).

The nodes are the moments in time when we make tough decisions and move through challenges. 

At each node is two thorns. We believe that, in life, there are ‘hooks’ which challenge us to unhook from that which holds us back, or to hold dear what we value and what we must take with us into our future.  The longer spiked thorn represents that future course.

The branch of this tree is a significant representation of the journey of life and our roles as leaders in being our authentic selves.  It is totally dependent on the depth of the roots we sink, that determine how we will lead through a constantly changing landscape.

Other wonderfully interesting facts about Africa’s Buffalo Thorn:

In Zulu culture, a twig from the Ziziphus Mucronata tree (called UmPhafa) is used to collect the spirit of a deceased person from their place of death, and taken to their final resting place.

The Afrikaans name for this bush is ‘ Blinkbaar wag-‘n-bietjie’.  Their small thorns are vicious and if you have encountered one, you will know that you must ‘wait-a-bit’ in order to free yourself from them.

The leaves are enjoyed by antelope and giraffe, their fruits by many bird species and their unassuming flowers produce abundant nectar for insects.

Humans, too, have many uses for the Buffalo Thorn.  The roots, leaves and bark can be used for medicinal purposes and a bath infused with the bark is believed to purify and improve skin complexion.

Pic Credit: Sheila Gregory © RBG Kew

Credit: Hannelie Van As’s, Getaway