Andi Rive (née Ann Margaret Lewer-Allen) (born 23 July 1971) is an animal conservationist who works with the lions of the Glen Garriff Lion Reserve in the Free State, South Africa. She is also the star of the Discovery Channel's "Lion Queen" TV show, which aired in Africa, the Middle East, and some European markets in February 2015.
Early life[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]
Rive was born on 23 July 1971 in the Hillbrow neighbourhood of Johannesburg, South Africa. Her father, Martin Lewer-Allen, is a neurosurgeon and her mother, Pam Laing, was a school teacher. Numerous physicians and a line of neurosurgeons make up Rive's paternal family.
Her parents divorced early. Rive's father remarried, to Philippa Lewer-Allen, when Rive was aged three. Her Zulu nanny, Sibongile Bella Sibisi, is credited by Rive with being her primary caretaker. Sibisi renamed Rive "Thandi" (Zulu for "love"), which school friends would shorten to "Andi". Today, Rive's Zulu staff at Glen Garriff call her "Thandi".
Education[edit | hide | edit source]
Though raised Christian, Rive attended a Jewish nursery school called Temple Emmanuel in Johannesburg where she excelled academically and athletically. She then attended Greenside High School and Johannesburg School of Art. Driven at age 16 by her strong anti-apartheid views, she left South Africa for Harare, Zimbabwe, where she finished her high school education at Chisipite Senior School. She earned three A-levels (Art, History, English), attaining high results.
Her education in the visual arts continued after high school to include the Kim Sacks School of Ceramics and wood carving with Greg Baskes.
Later, she studied midwifery and childhood education through Johnson and Johnson Doula Training.
Professional life[edit | hide | edit source]
Upon graduation from high school, Rive worked at the boatyard in Southhampton, England, where she custom-decorated yachts.
Moving to Knysna, Western Cape Province, to her grandparents' home, she worked in event planning and in the interior design of both private homes and commercial sites. Eventually, Rive took on house design and project managed construction jobs.
Rive pursued training as a doula after traumatic experiences during her first two pregnancies. She began to investigate the antiquated methodologies of provincial hospitals around the performance of Caesarian sections. Seeking to provide a full range of choices for low-income pregnant women, she worked as a doula for more than ten years. Rive delivered or assisted in the delivery of more than one hundred babies.
As a single mother, Rive ran children's adventure camps, survival courses and did event management. She served as Chairperson for Stepping Stones Primary School in Knysna, her children's school.
Currently, she owns a deli in Harrismith, which sells both food and souvenirs.
Glen Garriff Lion Reserve[edit | hide | edit source]
The Glen Garriff Lion Reserve was established to house a population of exceptionally healthy, genetically pure lions established by owner Patrick (Pat) Shannon, at a time when other lion populations in South Africa were subject to high rates of disease and inbreeding. Glen Garriff eventually became heavily indebted and, in 2011, Shannon stepped down from the management of the farm due to illness.
His daughter, Traci Shannon Page Wood, stepped in, and her friend Andi Rive made several trips between her home in Sedgefield, Western Cape Province and Harrismith, Free State to assess the situation. As Rive worked to stave off five attempted auctions by creditors, which would have involved both the lions and the land, she took over operations at Glen Garriff.
Rive developed the "Love Lions Alive" program, which holds that lions are more valuable to the economy and the ecosystem alive than dead. The popularity of canned hunting and other forms of trophy hunting had prompted the creation of the lion reserve in the first place.
The Lion Queen (2015)[edit | hide | edit source]
A New Zealand production company, Top Shelf, approached Rive to make a documentary six episode series for the Discovery Channel. The series was aired throughout Africa, and in parts of the Middle East and Europe. Translated into 43 languages, the show appeared in 114 countries. "The Lion Queen", filmed by Anton Leach, follows the activities of Rive and her staff of five as they fight to save the reserve from creditors.
Personal life[edit | hide | edit source]
At age 26, Rive married Paddy Rive in Knysna, South Africa. They had three children: Taiga Naderie (b.1996), Shanead Hannah (b.2000), Rhoan Terran (b.2002). They divorced in 2005. After Rive's Zulu sister died, Rive raised her orphaned two year-old son, Thuso Terrence Sibisi (b.1988). Sibisi is now a screenwriter.
Rive has a longtime interest in archery and squash. Goju-ryu Karate is a particular passion, and she has attained the rank of Brown Belt.