Kilimanjaro:Help them take the fight for our rhino to a new high

2012-09-20 00:00

SANDILE Masondo is on a mission to save rhinos.

The 27-year-old will be part of the South African team that will climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about rhino poaching next month.

Masondo, an orphan from Howick, said this was an achievement he already rated as being one of the highlights of his life.

“I started participating in an organisation called Buhlebemvelo here in Howick that was focusing on environmental projects. It’s where I developed a love for the environment and wildlife.”

He said he wants the whole world to be aware of the crisis that will be faced if rhinos are not protected.

“I did tourism at school, which has also played a role in my life. If the treasured animals of this country are destroyed we will not have tourists visiting the country which will mean people will lose their jobs. I feel it’s our responsibility as the youth of this country to protect them,” said Masondo, who is very passionate about his Zulu heritage.

Kilimanjaro was chosen because the surrounding area used to have 60 000 rhinos living there, but the number is rapidly decreasing.

“We might find ourselves with no rhinos in our countries because of poachers.”

Among others, Masondo will be joined by Paul Jennings, the Umfolozi game ranger who walked 2 000 km from Musina to Cape Town last year and Roberto Morias from Gauteng, who will be part of the group of men climbing as a voice for the “older generation of SA representing Dr Ian Player handing down the responsibility of saving the rhino to the youth of Rhino SA”, said Masondo.

Masondo said he had spent many strenuous hours walking at Isimangaliso Wetland Park to build up his fitness ahead of the mammoth hike up Kilimanjaro.

Green Wall Of Africa project chairperson, Irene Huysamen, said they are still raising funds for this trip.

“We would welcome any kind of support so that Masondo and Morias can go. We need support in this campaign and anyone can donate to make this trip a success for the youth,” said Huysamen.

She added that the three will be accepting the South African flag on Kilimanjaro from ten men aged between 60 to 72 years old, who are representing “Rugga buggas” another climbing group from SA.

Saturday is World Rhino Day.

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