News24

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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Comments
  • john.bainbridge2 - 2012-03-13 07:46

    Rhino, easy choice..

      James - 2012-03-15 14:36

      Let's see, what are Ugandans contribution to the world? Apart from hunger disease and poverty and environmental destruction and a GDP not fit for a pauper.

  • winston.mullany - 2012-03-13 07:49

    Save the Rhino!!!

  • TheyTookMyNickLaZynEko - 2012-03-13 08:17

    damn straight it starts at home!

  • Carol - 2012-03-13 08:20

    "Big" Ugandans must and can look after "little" Ugandans. We must look after the Rhinos

  • Ant - 2012-03-13 08:26

    its not like the children of Uganda are going extinct. Humans have options, the Rhino's don't. As sad as the Kony issue is, I'm with the Rhino on this one.

  • Sattva - 2012-03-13 08:27

    Save the Rhino, of course ! After all, it is humans who have put the Rhino (and other wildlife) into the predicament they are in today !

  • Yuri.Kup - 2012-03-13 08:57

    I am doing both!

  • Alida - 2012-03-13 09:05

    I Agree with all of you, however there is no difference if you choose the rhino or the children..it's your own choice. The Videos like Kony 2012 is just a reminder of global issues. And yes it should start at home, but these inspirational people remind us that if we stand together we can make a small difference no matter what the cause is.

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-13 13:54

      That's fine - but people need to research what they're promoting. FONY2012 can do more harm than good, and those that do donate have only 31% of the proceeds go to Uganda - how much of that 31% is used to fund the military to "catch" Kony? Besides the fact that the Ugandan army are guilty of atrocities against their own citizens... but no, click away warriors, click away.

  • Tjaart - 2012-03-13 09:43

    Legendary column Dave! Had a similair thing bugging me ever since Kony and you just happened to point me to the root thereof in the very simplest of terms... Bless all those who are able to apply their minds and not run after the masses for the sake of running after the masses! Heck, on that note - bless Malema! Even if it's just for being indifferent!

  • mattjohnbass - 2012-03-13 09:50

    Stop Kony Step 1. Travel to Uganda and join the army... This KONY issue is a farce.

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-13 13:49

      Absolutely... people just don't do research and read up before promoting stuff. Mindless click zombies.

  • Nomfanelo - 2012-03-13 10:00

    This article has really got me thinking about the kind of people that we are. On the one hand you say you want to save the Rhinos yet pushing your own agendas as well such as telling us which shoes you are wearing so said but true.

  • schmetterlinging - 2012-03-13 10:21

    I believe in the 10km rule. To make a real difference - focus on the 10kms around you. That way, you can monitor whether your effort has really made a difference. No rhinos or polar bears within a 10km radius of my house... so i focus on the litter on the beach :)

  • Lourens - 2012-03-13 11:06

    Why does it have to come down to a choice? Being a clicktivist is easy and does not take that much time (seconds in fact) but it raises awareness, which is the important thing. I personally support lots of causes, especially saving the rhino's (because they are amazing!).

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-13 13:52

      It can spread awareness sure - it can also spread lies, misinformation and cause more harm than good. If you support violence and war, sure, support FONY2012, the Ugandan army thanks you for the 31% of donations received by the film makers.

  • elliemei.africa - 2012-03-13 11:06

    AFRICA AND ALL AFRICA AND ALL AFRICANS ARE TOO BLAME....FOR THIS AS ALLOWING CHINA TOO RUTHLESSLY DESTRUCT AFRICA FOR THERE OWN GAIN'S....KILLING'S OF ALL WILDLIFE IS A NORM IN AFRICA AS MONEY IS THE ROUTE OF ALL EVIL...AND NO ONE CARE'S....NO ONE IS BOTHERED OR HAS THE TENACITY TO STAND UP TO ALL CHINA/JAPAN/VIETNAM ASIA/AMERICA ETC AND BAN THIS FOR LIFE TILL IT BLATANTLY EXTINCT..RHINO, ELEPHANT .LION..THIS IS A ALL MANS FAULT FOR ALLOWING OTHER NATION'S CULTURE'S BELIEFS TO RUIN AND DESTROY YOUR GOD GIVEN ASSETS TO AFRICA...SO ALL HE AFRICANS OF AFRICA WAKE UP BEFORE YOU ALL LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND REALISE HOW YOU ERASED YOUR GEM'S OF WILDLIFE..BY LETTING CRUDE ,RUTHLESS KILLING'S.....AS FOR THE CORRUPTION ITS SO STRIFE IN AFRICA , HAS BEEN AND ALWAYS BEEN ......NO FUTURE IN AFRICA FOR HUMANITY AS THE EVIL OF MAN IS THE DEVIL THEM SELF'S..... WHEN YOU REALISE ..ITS TOO LATE..AFRICA ALREADY HAS BARRON LAND UP NORTH....LOOK AT SOMALIA..POOR ,HUNGER.POVERTY..AS FOR THE NIEGHBOURING COUNTRIES ..A FAR CRY FOR HUNGER....AND YET THESE COUNTRIES ARE RECIEVING COMPENSATION..BUT YET..ALL..JUST WALK ON BY..CHINA IS THE CAUSE AS IGNORANCE TO AFRICA...WAKE UP AFRICA***************************************************

      Lauren - 2012-03-13 15:46

      Unclick caps lock. Whoa.

      jason.joao - 2012-03-16 03:24

      I got through like the first line and then all those LOUD caps just got too much - annoying.

  • Damien - 2012-03-13 12:07

    Touché! Where's the "like" button.

  • micahvs - 2012-03-13 13:21

    Hi David Thank you for writing that article - I too am sick to death of armchair activists or as you called them clicktivists! I work for a non-profit that is running a rhino conservation fundraising campaign so naturally it feels good to hear that you would save the rhino. However, you raised some very important points. Yes, people are swamped daily with Save this Save that...rhino today, polar bear tomorrow and forgotten children in between. But maybe the reality is that we live in a world that is in SO much need..need of help, of funding, of good people who are willing to put their time and energy into doing good. But again, you're right, charity starts at home. We push our causes through social media and drive the message home because it's a crucial one but our campaign is only successful because we've been able to find those special people willing to help. Armchair activists are of little use to us. We only hope our message eventually gets to the people who care... Maybe the world would be a better place, in need of less help so to speak if everybody did just start at home...

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-13 13:46

      Well said :-) Quick question - do you know about the Save the Rhinos CD and how the proceeds are being spent, what percentage etc? I'll still research it myself but I'm too busy peeing on all my friends parades about FONY2012.

  • oupatheo - 2012-03-13 13:42

    Very, very well said David. An insightful peek into the mindset of the (mis?)information age. And for the roll: the rhino. But I'd rather start at home first (used to live close to the rhinos in any case [long story too]).

  • arthurbrigg - 2012-03-13 13:43

    Excellent article. Rather help the Rhino's - FONY2012 is full of holes, for instance only 31% goes to "projects" in Uganda, and how much of that actually goes to funding military efforts there I'm not sure (they don't say). Sheepil just click, forward, repost without thought - they don't care, it's just another "Hey look at me on top of the trends" lot of social media rubbish. I'm still going to go check out where, what and who as far as funding goes for this "Save the Rhino's" CD goes. If I find out it's as badly managed as FONY2012 I'll be giving them a piece of my mind too. Just for the record - I've been working with underprivileged kids since 1996, raising funds etc - so yah, I know a "thing or two" about it.

      Dewald - 2012-03-13 17:56

      Go to www.rhinofund.org/ ziwa rhino sanctuary in Uganda and see what is really done by private initiative. Was there last week. Run by Angie and Johan Genade

  • Sean - 2012-03-13 14:58

    Very true. To all those people who think you are saving the rhino by sharing a link or signing on online petition. YOU SUCK! If you want to save the rhino, do something practical and constructive. Donate directly to people who are making a real difference. Giving money to some online collector may not be helping if only a small percentage ends up where it needs to be. Make the effort to find out who is doing the real work and find out what they need. Then donate in a way that helps them get it. Giving money to some celeb or buying their album etc. may not be helping much. Signing a stupid online petition does not help at all. The poachers do not give a stuff what you think and nobody is going to get off their backsides because a bunch of armchair conservationists are all teary eyed about what they just saw on TV. make a real effort and make a real difference.

  • Jessica Wright - 2012-03-13 18:23

    I find this article very small minded. If you don't think that social media and the internet are changing the way the world works, then maybe you should get your head out of the sand. Firstly, why can't you support both causes? And secondly,yes, clicking on a repost link seems futile, but maybe, just maybe, one out of every fifty people that see that link will feel inspired enough by something like the kony video to take real action. Maybe just seeing a rhino link on facebook will take your mind off of your next pair of shoes, and remind you to buy a rhino force bracelet? The only bad I can see coming out of attempts like these is the irritation it might cause cynics like you who'd prefer to sit in their neighbourhood where they can feel that dropping their neighbour's kid off at school gives them the right to be a self-righteous columnist. if the only thing that the kony video achieves is to make people realise that they can empathise with each other, and that there is a spirit of good circulating, then so be it.

  • Marion - 2012-03-14 17:40

    Well said. I think that these people that "share" sick children etc can be saved or an operation will be paid for if you just click and share on facebook are crazy. Do they really think that will happen????

  • Linda - 2012-03-15 12:16

    My 10 year old daughter wanted to buy the Kony pack, volunteering to spend her birthday money to pay for it. An argument ensued between her and me - about spending money on a cause we are uncertain whether the proceeds would end up where they are supposed to be ... or sort through the piles of clothing that she claims "don't fit me any more Mum" and donate to the very destitute in Vrygrond just down the road. We settled the argument quite easily .... I am the Mum after all!

  • Trevor - 2012-03-15 13:02

    Rhino agree easy choice!!

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