The Lion Queen Cast Biographies
Just three short years ago Andi was a busy single mother working in design and decor, chairman of the school’s governing body, a karate fanatic and archer.
All of this suddenly veered completely off course when a close friend’s father became ill and his business, a lion reserve called Glen Garriff in South Africa’s Free State was left adrift with no one at the helm.
Andi stepped in and offered to look after the reserve for a few weeks – three years later she’s still there.
Looking after Glen Garriff has changed Andi’s life forever. She has moved her three children; Taiga (18), Shanead (14), Rhoan (12) to the reserve.
Andi struggles to keep the reserve and its animals safe from creditors and members of South Africa’s canned hunting industry, who were lining up to by buy all of the lions.
Fortunately she has help. Her close friend, and CEO of Glen Garriff, Traci provides incredible support and their small team are committed to keep Glen Garriff operating.
Daily stresses aside, Andi loves her new life. She loves the open spaces and skyscape found in the Free State. There is never a dull moment and there’s plenty to do every day; like euthanising old or wounded horses and cows donated as lion meat by local farmers; or picking up dead livestock struck by lightning on neighbouring farms; driving tractors and quad bikes around the 860 hectare reserve; fighting fires; and being hands on with anything from a constipated lion to orphaned lion cubs… Andi’s life has been taken over by passion, a few panic attacks and a pride of lions.
Traci Shannon Page Wood
Traci was born in Harrismith and raised on Glen Garriff which was then a farm. Her parents Patrick (Pat) & Cheryl Shannon moved to the property in 1967.
One of the biggest privileges Pat & Cheryl afforded Traci growing up was the interaction with animals and the valuable experiences and knowledge gained.
Her childhood was surrounded by animals as both her parents had an affinity with wildlife and Glen Garriff was always a sanctuary to a menagerie of species. Cheryl had a hand-reared owl called Simon who lived in and around the home for several years. Pat rescued a number of buck then raised and rehabilitated them into their natural environment. Over time, lions were introduced to Glen Garriff as the farm became a reserve.
Traci studied and lived in Durban before moving to Cape Town where she worked in various areas of the interior design market, this resulted in her owning her own company but she gave up the business to move to the country in order to afford her children Nicholas and Samantha the opportunity to grow up with a similar “lifestyle” to her own.
Traci ensures that the family get to visit the reserve as often as possible. The lions are a very big part of their family life and her children are growing up with the understanding that their mum’s work is working with the lions.
Traci & Andi partner closely on all aspects of Glen Garriff and their Love Lions Alive Project. They are inseparable when it comes to the legal struggle that hangs over their heads and against all odds they will find the means to ensure the safely and sanctuary of Glen Garriff’s beloved lions.
Kathleen Ann Murrell was born in England in 1947 and was raised by foster parents. She lived her entire life in London in a small flat. Driving to work and home again was the extent of her daily life’s horizons.
In her latter years Kathy quite intrepidly took herself off all alone on trips to various countries for her vacations. On one such vacation, she ended up in Sedgefield, South Africa where Andi Rive lived. Having no family of her own she emotionally adopted the Rives, fell in love with South Africa, realised that she could enjoy a vastly superior lifestyle in South Africa on her UK pension, and moved to Sedgefield.
In 2011 she visited the lions at Glen Garriff with Andi and fell in love with them. She returned for a few days every six months until she moved up permanently to a cottage on the farm where she remains today. In a dramatic turn of events Kathy loaned her life’s savings to Andi and Traci for legal fees to thwart an attempted forced sale of Glen Garriff.
At Glen Garriff, Kathy helps with shopping, post and general errands. She has an orphaned horse and a few rabbits on the property.
Thulani was born in 1974 in Bergville, Natal at the foot of the Drakensburg Mountains.
He is the sixth son of eight brothers. Thulani is Zulu and speaks four languages. He worked for a stationery factory before getting a job at Glen Garriff as a general farm labourer.
It soon became apparent to the owner at the time, Pat Shannon, that after lions were introduced to the farm, Thulani had an uncanny ability to work with the animals without showing or even feeling an iota of fear.
Thulani has a true gift with animals and became the lion manager and induna on the farm. He is currently Andi’s right hand man and plays an integral role in the lives of the lions.
Thulani is married to Beauty Zandile and has a son, Siyabonga and daughter, Thando.