COMMITTED TO CONSERVATION
Derek & Xenja Lewitton and their four daughters split their time between a home in Johannesburg and the rhino reserve they own and operate in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.
Derek holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Highest Honors from the University of Texas, and a Juris Doctorate (Doctorate in Law) from Stanford University. At Texas, Derek was recognized as a National Merit Scholar and a University of Texas Dedman Merit Scholar. At Stanford, Derek was named a Junior Fellow of the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation, and was awarded a United States Fulbright Grant to lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand Law School in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Following his work at Wits, Derek joined McKinsey and Company, serving for seven years in Johannesburg, Milan, and London, and eventually co-founding the Tel Aviv office. Derek has held senior positions in United Airlines, South African Breweries, and ITA Software – which sold to Google in 2010 for $700 million. Derek’s career has focused on the identification and launch of exponential change in established industries and situations. He has advised and served governments, NGOs, and multi-national corporations.
Xenja hails from Tzaneen - a town near where Black Rock Rhino Conservation is located, and was the driving force behind the family's decision to commit their lives to the protection of rhino. Xenja received her degree and Honours in Business at the University of Pretoria before working in the fashion industry, and then in pharmaceuticals.
The family is responsible for hundreds of rhino on thousands of acres of wild African land – and has been driving change within the current conservation arena by helping governments and private reserves separate the true legal frameworks governing the potential trade in rhino horn from the misconceptions that currently block such trade.
Derek is the author of several papers redefining the options for legal trade in rhino horn and has served in a voluntary capacity as the legal advisor and CITES expert for the IWMC Wildlife Conservation Trust – an NGO founded by two former Secretaries General of CITES and dedicated to bringing 21st Century conservation strategies to the fight against biodiversity loss.
Xenja manages media and publicity for the operation, and both older daughters lead key initiatives aimed at education or community engagement, including Rhino Camp and elements of Operation Rhinbow.