MARIS Stella girls were treated to a visit from legendary explorer, Kingsley Holgate recently.
Holgate, who has been named the most travelled man in Africa, visited the school with Sheelagh Antrobus from Project Rhino KZN, to judge an art competition the girls took part in, and to accept a donation of R2 000 from the pupils.
Holgate told the girls of his travels and the sad reality of how 45 rhinos have been murdered and their horns painfully hacked off in KZN this year alone. He said in 2015, 119 rhinos had died, and 1215 had been killed in South Africa. To illustrate this, he told the girls that if the bodies of these rhinos, minus the horns were lined up back to back, they would fill 10 playing fields.
“Overseas the rhino horn is thought to be medicinal, but we need every child in the world to stand up and fight for the rhinos. People are misinformed, rhino horn does not cure any disease. Our youth have to say 'stop killing the rhinos, hands off, we love them'!” he said.
Holgate and Antrobus use the Project Rhino art competition to take the message around the world, and artwork is posted on Facebook and on the Landrover website.
“Poaching is a priority crime in South Africa, and we work with children and on the ground, where we help with ranger training, the Zululand anti-poaching wing, equipment resourcing, informant funding, working with rural communities, and talking to government. This red band of rhino warriorettes at Maris Stella is joining the 250 000 children who have taken part in the competition to speak out against poaching,” said Antrobus.
The R2 000 raised by the girls through the competition will go to supplying art paper and crayons for children in the rural areas.
“Some of these children have never seen a rhino in the wild, although they live next door to reserves. The winners of the competitions in these areas will be taken to see rhinos for the first time. People think they will be able to go to the reserves and see rhinos forever, but this is not true. Like a sticker we had on one of our landrovers said, 'Let us not be a generation that tells their children we did nothing about it',” said Holgate.