Dean Schneider always had an entrepreneurial spirit and had begun a career in finance in Switzerland. In 2017, he gave it all up and moved to South Africa where he established a wildlife sanctuary and animal rehabilitation centre called Hakuna Mipaka. His journey has been the embodiment of Norqain’s motto: your life, your way.
“We are so excited to have Dean Schneider on board as an international Norqain ambassador. His values of freedom and adventure are reflected in our brand, and he has already made a positive impact on our long-term vision”, Norqain CEO Ben Küffer says. “As someone who has taken the road less travelled and invested his time, money and energy into a cause he is passionate about, Dean lives Norqain’s ‘my life, my way’ ethos. The work he does for the animals in South Africa is truly praiseworthy and we are proud to support him”.
“We need to learn to love them exactly the way they are and not the way we wish them to be!”– Dean Schneider
Hakuna Mipaka is Swahili and means ‘’No Limits’’. The Hakuna Mipaka Oasis is located on around 400 hectares (four million square meters) in the wilderness of South Africa. It is home to thousands of different wild animal species. The oasis also serves as a life-long home to a few rescued wild animals, which were born in captivity. Additionally, some animals are rehabilitated at Hakuna Mipaka before being released back into the wild. Hakuna Mipaka is not open to the public or tourists and does not organise any animal activities. No animals are bred or traded. In addition to the lions and hyenas that are featured on Dean Schneider’s social media channels, the oasis is also home to giraffes, zebras, leopards, reptiles, and birds, all of which are part of the property’s diverse ecosystem.
Norqain has always been committed to using alternatives to crocodile leather, such as vegan rubber with a crocodile leather pattern. With the announcement of this partnership with Dean Schneider, the Swiss brand shared that all future products will feature only 100% animal cruelty free straps and bracelets. Currently, Norqain’s selection of straps includes perlon rubber and croco-style rubber straps that are manufactured by BIWI, a Swiss industry leader that has established an international reputation for its innovative, vegan-certified products. Watches that have already been launched will continue to be sold with the option of a calfskin leather strap. This option, however, will be phased out in the next two years as new watches are launched with 100% animal cruelty free straps.
Dean Schneider is already in the process of designing a new Norqain timepiece that will be presented soon. The wildlife ambassador is working closely with Norqain and chemists at our partner BIWI SA to integrate a piece of the African wilderness – and a piece of Dean’s life – into the design of the watch. Ten percent of the earnings from sales of this watch will be donated to the Hakuna Mipaka Oasis.