Earthshot Prize finalist John Kahekwa signs with BSPG for major conservation book

Earthshot Prize finalist John Kahekwa signs with BSPG for major conservation book

The Black Spring Group announces its signing of inspirational, award-winning conservationist JOHN KAHEKWA and his book Slowly, slowly: Conserving Gorillas in a Warzone

 Slowly, slowly: Conserving Gorillas in a Warzone is the life story of John Kahekwa, one of the world’s leading conservationists, and his struggle to protect gorillas in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is John’s life story, from growing up in a small village and walking barefoot to school to starting work with the gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park and helping them get over the incredible suffering they endured in what has been called ‘Africa’s World War’. At its core, this is a tale of exceptional devotion to a cause, a refusal to accept defeat and a determination to continue working, no matter the emotional toll or against seemingly impossible odds. From humble beginnings, John rises to the world stage, meeting British Royalty while continuing to devote himself tirelessly to the people, forests and gorillas of his homeland. While some of the events described are harrowing, the overall message of the book is one of hope and inspiration; that with steely dedication and unwavering hard work, there is a bright future for the gorillas and the people of the Congo. In that way, the book shines a positive light on a country famously described as the ‘Heart of Darkness’.


John is also the founder of the Pole Pole Foundation (POPOF) -a multi-award-winning, community-led conservation organisation working to protect the critically endangered Eastern Lowland Gorillas in the DRC. Pole Pole means ‘slowly’ in Swahili, reflecting the organisation’s ethos that conservation work needs to be enduring. POPOF were one of three finalists in the 2021 Earthshot Prize (the 'Nobel Prize of Conservation') in the Protect and Restore Nature category, and are now working to scale their award-winning work to better protect gorillas and support communities in the Congo.


On signing with BSPG Kahekwa says: ‘I am very happy that this book will be published and can show readers the challenges we have faced but also the hope we have for a brighter future. Protecting gorillas in a sea of poverty and conflict is not easy, it has been my life's struggle, but one I am forever glad I have been involved with.’


Slowly, slowly: Conserving Gorillas in a Warzone is published in April 2024. BSPG has acquired world rights to the title.


For any more information or images please contact Jane Collins on jane.eyewearpublishing @

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1 comment

To a true gentleman of nature and the cause of gorillas in DRC, I have read a small bit of who you are via Grant Fowld. To read recently of your acclaim through your book gives hope to you and your conservation lifetime efforts being recognised and more importantly supported by funding. Which when the ITTO didn’t support funding you back in 2017 gives hope to your personal struggle and the wider enormous struggle for the wild life of Africa. I am about to join the Thula Thula team with a small gesture of being a volunteer there. Sale gahle

Ingrid Meister

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