MBOMBELA – Penreach, one of the largest educational interventions in Mpumalanga, has joined the fight against rhino poaching. Two life-size rhino sculptures which will be exhibited in the Penreach Shalamuka Science Centre at Penryn College arrived on Wednesday.
The addition of the rhino to the centre’s science exhibition is in line with Penreach’s goal of making science relevant to children, the non-government organisation’s (NGO) new head and CEO, Andile Ncontsa said. He added that with the official number of poached animals standing on 558 for the year, a concerted effort was required to educate communities about their role as environmental custodians.
The NGO has an extensive footprint in the Lowveld, indirectly reaching almost
400 000 learners per year through its educational interventions.
This makes it ideally positioned to link up with concerted environmental-education efforts.
Visitors to the centre will not only be able to marvel at the construction of the animals, but will learn more about rhino conservation and how they can contribute to saving orphaned calves.
“Many of the children who visit the Shalamuka Science Centre are from rural communities surrounding the Kruger National Park, and we want to do our part in educating them about conservation from a science perspective,” explained Heather Stephens of Penreach.
Local schools are invited to visit the Shalamuka Exhibition Hall to meet the new residents and can also take part in a drive to name the baby of the pair.
Enquiries: 013-758- 9038.
It took two weeks for these two rhino to take shape through the hands of two skilled craftsmen.
Starting with 14 steel drums, Paradzai Makoma and Ishmael Mutetwa built their rhino from the feet up. “I don’t follow the direction of a photo, no,” Makoma admitted, saying he rather worked from his own drawings.
“I suppose it is just a talent I have.”
The broken pieces of metal were welded together using a 2,5mm rod with the most difficult sections being the heads,
Mutetwa said. The detail on the sculptures is evident in the folds around the animals’ eyes and the mother rhino’s metre-long horn.
Makoma said they could make life-size metal images of animals like elephants and giraffe too.
“Just not humans,” he smiles. To commission an animal sculpture, contact Mutetwa on 078-813-0874.