David Moseley

Save the Rhino. Or little Ugandans?

2012-03-13 07:27

David Moseley

In the last fortnight I’ve come to the aid of some lost Americans, helped guide a lost hiker out of the forest and given a security guard (while I was out on a run) outside a rugby stadium the last of my Powerade.

Last week the neighbour’s car wouldn’t start, so I took young Joshua to school (I thought it would be a good chance to explain to him why his mom sends him to Rondebosch, and not a decent school like Wynberg Boys'). Nothing big, but all helpful actions that help the world turn happily, I’m sure you’d agree?

Then along came the internet, asking me to click to "save the rhino", quickly followed by another clicking plea to "stop Kony". I didn’t click. Or forward. Or Like. Or retweet.

I don’t know why, but there’s just something about people who fill their social media hubs with tales of how fabulous they are, what shoes they recently bought or which nightclub they’re at, suddenly turning super activist that riles me. You know the type... “OMG, just had strawberry daiquiri to die for at the Grand. LOL! Also like this link to save Uganda children that have been raped. It’s really horrible. It makes me cry. I hope my dad buys me a new car.”

That craze lasted, as I predicted, about five days. And comfortable people all across the globe started to forget about their current cause and wondered furiously what Kim Kardashian would be wearing this weekend. And back came 2012’s more enduring cause, the under fire rhino.

Man or beast

During the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour I saw quite a few cyclists riding to "save the rhino". A few hippies were banging on about the Chapman’s Peak Drive toll-plaza, and there were the usual charitably-minded characters raising funds for various children’s organisations. All of which are highly commendable and actions which I am most certainly not knocking. But it did get me thinking...

Given the choice of concerns so far in 2012, what would you rather save, the little Ugandans or the rhino?

I ask, not to cause a rumpus below the line or to be divisive on purpose, but because I’m genuinely interested to hear your thoughts. I also find it amusing that people put in so much “effort” (that is, re-linking social media posts) where rhinos and Ugandan children are concerned, yet not once this year have I seen any online outrage regarding South Africa’s “forgotten” children, or unnecessary road deaths, or school children who suffer without basic means to a basic education.

Even the good ol’ POIB brouhaha, so favoured by the online activists (clicktivists, someone has labelled them. Very clever) in SA has slipped from favour. In fact, I’ve seen longer-lasting campaigns to oust Graeme Smith...

Personally, I would save the rhino. But that’s because one saved me from a rampaging elephant once (long story). Also, rhino don’t force their children into war, sell them for drugs or make them work in sweatshops (Don’t get me wrong. I’m no celery-munching bunny-hugging human hater, I just think, on average, animals have better personalities than us and, given the chance, probably wouldn’t destroy the world through nuclear winter).

After that, I’d save the polar bear, because there’s nothing sadder than a polar bear cub standing alone, while it’s mother drifts out to a watery grave on a chunk of ice that’s broken off the mainland.

Then again, I’d also do something closer to home. Like helping a neighbour, or being charitable towards a security guard in the midday heat, or even helping some Yanks find their way. In other words, charity starts at home, not your homepage.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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