When human beings continue to lose the fact that they have lost their way, all is in the process of becoming lost. It doesn’t take a bone-throwing sangoma to reveal that South Africa is, and has been, losing the war against rhino poaching. Without sounding eschatological in relation to the tentatively declining rhino population, it is almost safe to take a throat-bleaching shot of whiskey, jump into a lake - moon-walk style - and vomit an intoxicating volley of the following words, “South African rhinos are doomed.”
Undeniably, an environmentally scary number of rhinos have become illicit commercial fodder for the foot chariots chauffeuring “anonymous” masterminds behind the onslaught of rhino slaughter. While nature conservation enthusiasts frown over the latest rhino whose two horns hit the underground in a bloody mess of carefree killing, there is an entire stepladder of criminals who are in jubilant celebration. Yes, they toast to the most pricy bottles of good malt as they muse upon the prospect of moving into a leafy suburb on a plush set of German wheels and scoring their place among the most respected citizens of our materialistic society. No, no, no; don’t act surprised. Our society is completely infatuated with those who are materially ahead of their time; we bow and kiss the feet of those who own equity and hold stakes (steaks) in various private portfolios while owning stretches of land and extravagant dwellings and holiday homes. In other words, although we are not all guilty as charged, we remain unarguably indicted. Our obsession with attaching our heart-concealed respect to people of means translates into crime becoming one of the greatest pillars of wealth-creation. This is because we all want respect, and if wealth is its quota, we shall forever carry the tape measures of fuel needed to arrive at some crumb of respect allocated to those who have reached our recently inhabited level.
It therefore makes common sense that anyone swayed into seeing the profitability of crime will not miss the mis-opportunity of rhino poaching. Others go as far as disguising it as rhino hunting. Duh! Who are they fooling? And who the bloody hell wrote up the law that says, “You can kill a rhino and take its horn – as long as y0u have enough money to be a trophy hunter.”? That means, as long as you are a highly-respected (wealthy) citizen of the society, you can kill any member of the so-called protected species. And they call it trophy hunting, when it is sheer slaughter. It is obvious; this is tantamount to euthanising a healthy human being. This is blatant murder, minus the prosecutor.
To swiftly return to the hang-over – I mean the point – rhinos are facing their weekly brutal deaths simply because we have lost our way. We.Simply.Don’t.Care. That’s all there is to it: We don’t care – about anything, except material gain and earning “respect” among our Epicurio-centric peers? Our lack of care is an intravenous engagement that goes as far as our deepest moral vein. Just take a look around you. Humans surround you. They need your love, care and protection. But you won’t love, care for and protect them; they don’t matter to you. What matters to you is protecting the dying rhino species. Then, like one gifted Oscar Pistorius, you run around the country urging the hungry crop of rural underdevelopment to spy on your behalf and report these merciless rhino killings to the relevant authorities. Little do you care that the people you are requesting to care for the rhino have not experienced care themselves. Instead, they are expected that each day they wake to more hunger they should continue to trace poachers despite the fact that they themselves – as a rural species – are under a barrage of poverty bombs that are dropped on their heads mercilessly. What about the women and children being raped and slaughtered around the country? Their mutilated bodies are splashed on newspaper front pages to convince you of the importance of the issue in circulation, but still you simply fail to care.
As you return to your house after a long day of enforcing your authority as an employer, you switch on TV and in shock see the broadcast of Marikana mineworkers being reduced to a heap of unrespectable corpses. For a few days you simply don’t understand why those breadwinners were shot. A week later, you have forgotten that such a large number of fathers, uncles, brothers, sons and husbands were killed for asking to be paid better wages. The only thing on your mind is the latest rhino poaching statistics, which come out almost every week. Your heart bleeds as you picture those beautiful animals being hacked to death, but not the children in DRC. What about the SA protestors who are being killed so much? Don’t they matter? Don’t you care? What about the innocent suspects who languish behind bars for years simply because they can’t afford a decent lawyer? What about the secretaries, personal assistants and managers who are forced to open their legs in order for them to keep their jobs? What about girls who can’t go to school because they are experiencing their menstrual cycle and can’t afford sanitary pads?
Now that I realise that my whiskey leap into the lake was not as successful as I had anticipated, let me say this in conclusion. As long as you continue to care about an animal more than you do your fellow human being, South African rhinos are doomed.