By Sarah Britten
That’s me in the screaming pink Hello Kitty cap. Next to me is my friend Mbekezeli Khumalo. The guy in the shorts at the end is Mark Boucher. The story about how the two of us came to be standing together next to that rhino cow in the Pilanesberg is a reminder of the power of social media and the wonderful possibilities of pure chance.
Mbekezeli and I have been friends for around 18 months now. He’s a Wits graduate, a young entrepreneur and the kind of guy who manages to be both nice and driven, and who reminds you what’s great about South Africans. He has worked with the Branson Centre and SAB Kickstart. On Tuesday last week, I got this message from him: “Hi Sarah, crazy story: my team and I came up with a solution to rhino poaching then my partner submitted the proposal to some competition … ”
Then he added:
“Now, we’ve been shortlisted to one of the top 25 most innovative concepts IN THE WORLD!! Invited to Canada with the other finalists!!!!”
Oh wow, I thought. What are the chances? “What are you doing on Friday?” I asked casually, hoping.
As it happens, I work on the South African Breweries account as a freelancer at Quirk, which runs their corporate social media. SAB Boucher Conservation is one of the projects I’ve worked on. This is a trust formed by Mark Boucher and SAB to raise funds for the rhino DNA profiling project. The board boasts some pretty impressive members, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Vincent Maphai and “Mr Fix-it” Mavuso Msimang, who has taken a particular interest in the rhino poaching problem. More....