Jamming with Hartman

2013-05-23 00:00

JASON Hartman is loving his new project, Rock ’n Ride for Rhino, which has allowed him to combine two of his passions — motorcycles and music — while raising awareness about the scourge of rhino poaching.

“I’ve been riding bikes for quite a few years now,” the 2009 Idols winner said, “and I felt like I wanted to put my guitar on my back and hit the road.”

When he met Damien Mander, a former Australian army special-operations sniper and founding director of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to use his profile to spread the message of rhino conservation.

Hartman, who is also the founding director of Men of the Trees South Africa, is sharing his epic 10 000 km road trip, which is set to end in September 2013, with Dave Estment, a former professional superbike racer, wildlife photographer and videographer, and founding trustee of the Wild Imaging Trust.

Together they are aiming to raise R20 million to help fund the equipment, manpower, resources and communication channels required to combat effectively the poaching scourge that is threatening the country’s wildlife.The money will be used for specific conservation projects, and social upliftment and self-sustainability programmes. These will address the needs that can drive poaching, and will create multimedia platforms to educate, inform and provide exposure for wildlife projects.

At the time of his interview with The Witness, Hartman and Estment had delivered their interactive presentation to some 15 000 pupils.

“We are hoping to reach 100 000 [pupils] during the trip … we want to sow the seeds of conservation to as many people as possible. So if you want us to come to your school, get in touch with us through the website www.rnr4r.org,” the singer said. “We need everyone to get involved. It’s our planet, our rhinos and our trees.”

Hartman, who also sings songs from his albums On the Run and All or Nothing during the school visits, will be bringing his conservation message to Pietermaritzburg.

He and his partners in the campaign will be at the Royal Agricultural Show, at the River Stage, in the Royal Showgrounds, on May 28 at 11.15 am to encourage people to get involved.

The singer-songwriter will also be performing tomorrow evening, alongside maskandi artist Thokozani Langa, at the official opening of the show in the main arena.

Asked what fans could expect from the performance, Hartman, who will be joined by his band, said: “We are going to treat it as quite an acoustic set ... we’re just going to have a jam session and enjoy ourselves with everybody.”

During the opening event, which starts at 5 pm, Pietermaritzburg’s 175th anniversary celebrations will be formally launched, and visitors can look forward to an aerobatic display by Eqstra Flying Lions and celebratory fireworks.

Looking ahead, Hartman, who was born and raised in the Midlands, said his fans could look forward to a new album in the coming months. “It will have all original songs,” he said, “I’ve been playing the songs live for quite a while and the response has been great.”

Entry to the Royal Agricultural Show, which runs from May 24 to June 2, is R50 for adults, and R35 for pensioners and children under 12. A special entry of R35 per person applies on May 29.

• To find out more about the Rock ’n Ride campaign, check out www.rnr4r.org, the Facebook page RocknRide4Rhino or follow the guys on Twitter: @rocknride4rhino

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