Kids speaking for rhinos

2014-02-13 00:00

RENOWNED adventurer Kingsley Holgate has promised to take the message that children are “sick and tired” of what is happening to southern Africa’s rhinos to the world.

Thousands of drawings and messages — created by children in South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland as part of the Rhino Art: Let the Children’s Voices be Heard project — will be handed over to the United Nations and Cites (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).

Speaking at the unveiling of a giant rhino horn installation, covered in the children’s art, at King Shaka International Airport yesterday, Holgate said his decision to hear what the youth had to say was born out of his recent Izintaba Zobombo expedition.

He and his team travelled the length of the Lubombo range of mountains, to the Kruger National Park and nearby private reserves, along the border with Mozambique, to the Parque Nacional do Limpopo and private reserves down to Komatipoort in Mozambique, and visited nature reserves in Swaziland and Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

“This rectangle is the largest area of wild rhinos in the world and it is under attack as never before,” Holgate said.

Using simple A3 pieces of paper with the image of a rhino on it, he and his Rhino Art team have encouraged more than 120 000 children to voice their thoughts and feelings about the scourge of rhino poaching and the effect it is having in their communities.

Messages from young people living near the Kruger Park included: “We want to respect our rhinos like we respect Nelson Mandela” and “We need to ensure that our grandchildren’s grandchildren can enjoy the rhino,” Holgate said.

Dr Bandile Mkhize, of KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife, agreed, adding that KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife would be hosting an International Youth Rhino Summit on World Rhino Day (September 22) at Umfolozi in Zululand.

• If you would like to find out more about the Rhino Art project contact Grant Fowlds, Rhino Art co-ordinator, at 083 264 1978 or e-mail

You can also check out the Facebook page/RhinoartAfrica.


Some of the Rhino Art project messages:

• Nomvelo, grade 5A: ‘In five to ten years’ time there will be NO RHINO – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Then in small print in a shape of a heart she adds: ‘People please stop chopping down Rhino Horn – PLEASE.’

• Nicholas Mondlane from a school near Punda Maria close to the Kruger National Park writes: ‘Let the Rhino – God’s animal – survive: Let us be together. President Nelson Mandela said: Freedom for All – Not this killing of the animals.’

• A little Shangaan child, living in a Mozambique village close to the Kruger National Park border asks: ‘God stop the killing of Rhino. It’s a bad thing, ‘already I have lost two brothers.’ She is referring to them having been shot by anti-poaching unites in Kruger, and her mother fetching them back in body bags from the Giriyondo border.

• Machawe Dlamini from Swaziland: ‘Say NO to poaching. Rhinos are highly endangered. Some believe that Rhino Horn cures illnesses, some use it as a status symbol – a horn can be worth ½ a million US dollars. STOP! Our Rhinos are the PRIDE OF SWAZILAND and the government can and should enforce conservation laws.’

• Jessica Jiyane, age 11: ‘Rhinos are vulnerable species that needs every South African citizen to value and respect them… If government is not assisting enough to take care of the Rhinos, our future generation will be deprived. I call upon all South Africans to stand against Rhino poaching.’ She gives the toll free police number 0860 12 13 14 and draws a poacher shooting a Rhino and a little girl with a sad face, trying to protect its horn.

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