One animal, the African Rhinoceros, is struggling to make it into the next decade. For those who don’t know about the double standards employed to conserve this animal, this article will come as a shock!
As China now has a growing middle class, demand for the revered Rhino horn has gone up exponentially. Rhino horn is now more valuable per gram than gold, and the methods used to poach these animals is as high-tech as a military operation conducted by a First World country.
That Rhinos numbers are being decimated in an attempt to secure their horns is an uncontestable fact, but sadly, this creature’s desperate situation is causing much divide between South Africans of different classes.
Let us not forget or be selective in remembering that the colonial element in South Africa has driven three species to extinction:
1. The Bluebuck / Die Bloubok
2. The Cape White Lion
3. The Quagga / Die Kwagga
Three distinct species, moer toe, courtesy of the indiscriminate Dutch, British, and other European settlers who are the forefathers of the vast majority of white South Africa. Other species were damn near driven to extinction as the Voortrekkers assumed the local wildlife were to blame for their livestock getting trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). Of course, trypanosomiasis is spread by the Tsetse fly (something the indigenous people already knew).
The Voortrekkers, however—not being on speaking terms with the locals, and with whom they’ve always had conflict, to this very day—decided to solve the problem with copious quantities of lead and gunpowder, as every gun barrel in the caravan park (another lingering Voortrekker fascination) discharged projectiles into the local wildlife in futile acts of prevention and revenge. Yet their descendants complain about the plight of the Rhino and profess their love and reference for the South African wildlife every opportunity they get.
And this historical barbarity and indiscrimination is still part of mentality of the descendants of the colonialists. This is how much some white South Africans love, respect, and enjoy South African wildlife:
· First, they love owning the land these animals call home (and as far as the eye can see)
· Second, they marvel at these beautiful creatures as they majestically live their lives about the South African landscapes
· Third, they then use their biltong maker (a 303 rifle) to shoot all the wild animals with the bigger horns or bigger proportions to turn them into trophies and local protein treats
Am I the only one who sees the irony in this Rhino love yet historical hostility towards South Africa’s wild animals? It staggers me to think that nobody has ever drawn attention to this obvious discrepancy.
But all this is merely a bit of a history lesson and modern education about the colonial element in South Africa.
The real issue is that the Rhinos’ suffering is now another element in South African society that divides South Africans along racial lines (as if we don’t have enough fault lines breaking up the citizenry already). The general mood from the masses of impoverished black South Africans is that the Rhinos’ suffering gets more attention and calls for intervention than their own economic plight. In general, white South Africans use this ‘black indifference’ to again vocalize and write down a racial stereotype: that blacks are uncivilized and unsympathetic to the imminent demise of one of South Africa’s iconic creatures.
Perhaps black South Africa would also care more about the Rhinos if they got some benefit from their existence; say, like eating tasty Rhino salami, seeing Rhinos wander about as they enjoy an authentic South African game drive, or making R20, 000 profit from an American hunter who wanted to add an African Rhino bull to his trophy collection. It is very easy to love something we personally benefit from or simply enjoy, but to expect people who experience none of those benefits or enjoyment to care equally about what we covet is solipsism, plain and simple.
But the affiliation does not have to be that exquisite, for I assure you, were black people in South Africa living in proper houses, had they one or two luxury cars, had they received a quality education, could they afford to go vacationing in the Kruger Park, then the majority of blacks, too, would be gravely concerned for the Rhinos, as well
The Renaissance man, after all, can only develop his sensitivities and sensibilities (interest in art, philosophy, morality, civility, etc.) if his basic needs have been met as per Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Add in some quality education and humane treatment and most black in South Africa will match the general white population in refinement and intellect. That is the difference separating most of white South Africa (and their mentalities) from most of black South Africa (and their mentalities).
In fact, many desperately poor white South African’s have taken on a similar ‘I don’t care’ attitude for what they consider to be issues that distract the government from acknowledging their suffering and addressing them through legislative intervention. There retrogressive entities of white South Africa are often pretended by the general white masses not to exist, because it shames them to think that it’s usually just a paycheck or two standing between them and ending up like the majority of South Africa.
So, yes, it would seem that human concern for the Rhinos will be a much more prevalent amongst privileged white South Africans than underprivileged black South Africans; the bitterly poor human is a savage human, and race has nothing to do with it! But some can’t have blacks exposed to the finer elements of civilization, because then their ‘justifications’ for their innate racism will vanish, and then they would have to adopt a new, unsettling view of blacks: that they are our (white’s) equals in every conceivable way!
So if the day ever comes where the last Rhino in South Africa is shot dead, let it not be said that it was because of the indifference of the majority South African race that led to that unfortunate outcome, but rather the indifference of one South African race towards another that prevented the South African Rhinos from having millions more outraged fans to ensure their protection!
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