Stany Nyandwi’s gift for communicating with chimpanzees is so special that world-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall has called him a “chimpanzee whisperer.” His skills and devotion to these creatures—our closest living relatives, with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA—have earned him international awards and sent him on travels within Africa and around the world. But he began life in poverty, born and raised in a dirt-floor, straw-roofed hut in rural Burundi. The Chimpanzee Whisperer is the story of his astonishing life journey.
It is also an African story. Receiving only an elementary education before he quit school, he suffered injustice and tragic loss because of his ethnic group. He began caring for orphaned and rescued chimps in Burundi. When the country descended into civil war and genocide, he was forced to flee with the chimps and endured long separation from his family. Continuing to work with and learn about chimpanzees in Kenya, Uganda, and later South Africa, he made himself into an incomparable authority.
His memoir has adventure, danger, and many unique and touching stories about chimpanzees that show his bond with and understanding of them. As told to award-winning author David Blissett, it reveals a remarkable man who has refused to let circumstances defeat him. Conditioned by hate, wounded by loss, he has lived for love, faith, and compassion, giving new life, as Dr. Jane Goodall writes in her foreword, “to so many chimpanzees whose families, like his own, were torn apart by violence.”