German adventurer, activist, Ruediger Nehberg dies at 84

Ruediger Nehberg
Ruediger Nehberg

German survival pioneer and human rights activist Ruediger Nehberg died on Wednesday at the age of 84, his wife told dpa on Thursday.

A message of “We mourn” was written on the website of Nehberg’s association Target. Famously referred to as “Sir Vival,” Nehberg made headlines for 25 years with high-risk exploits including a controversial one-man bamboo raft crossing of the Atlantic.

He used the attention he gained from this and other survival acts in the jungle and desert to engage with disadvantaged people and raise awareness for their causes.

Since the early 1980s, he was committed to helping the plight of the indigenous Yanomami people in the Brazilian rainforest, whose habitat had been severely endangered by gold prospectors.

Later Nehberg and his wife campaigned against the custom of genital mutilation of young girls and women in parts of Africa and Asia.

With his association Target, the couple, who lived in Rausdorf near Hamburg, organized in 2006 a conference of high-ranking Islamic scholars in Cairo, which had genital mutilation declared forbidden under Islamic law in a fatwa or a formal ruling given by a qualified legal scholar.

A baker and confectioner by trade, Nehberg, who was from Bielefeld in western Germany, had a chain of bakery shops in Hamburg before and during his time as an adventurer. (NAN)

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