By Jordan du Toit
Renowned explorer Kinglsey Holgate opened his talk at Rhodes University on 9 September by echoing the words of his idol Dr David Livingstone as he spoke about his recent efforts to help stop the rhino poaching which is fast eradicating one of South Africa’s most beloved Big 5.
Just as Livingstone fought to stop slavery which he felt was the “urban sore of the world” so Holgate has taken up the plight of the rhino in rather a unique way: through art. Holgate has visited every African country in his travels to help the two causes close to his heart: fighting malaria and providing glasses to rural populations.
Now Holgate has joined Project Rhino KZN to combat poaching and they’ve taken this fight right to the heart of the battle grounds – the children who live around the rhino war zone.
The project is called Rhino Art and it aims to “let the children’s voices be heard,” said Holgate. The findings so far have been astonishing. “Everything [the chidlren wrote was\ related to talk, talk, talk about rhinos,” Holgate said to the packed venue which had turned out to hear the imposing man speak. Holgate told chilling tales of the kraals of poachers kitted out with pool tables and their children who run around in gold jewellery.
Apart from the many messages the children have written urging poachers to leave the rhinos alone for the sake of South African wildlife, the more distressing messages were those like a young girl from Mozambique (where most of the poachers come from) who wrote, “God stop the killing of Rhino. It’s a bad thing, already I have lost two brothers.” More....