Dr. Andrew Venter Blog
Ambassadors for a great tomorrow
September 5, 2012
Just over a year ago I was drawn into yet another wonderful Wildlands project called ‘Rhino Parade’. Based on the famous ‘Cow Parade’, this initiative seeks to raise funding for the war on rhino poaching by getting South African Ambassadors to each adopt and design a ¾ life size black rhino sculpture which is then auctioned at a high profile Gala Dinner & Auction. The first 4 rhino were adopted by Freshlyground, Oscar Pistorius, Nthathi Moshesh and Lee Swan. There rhino were auctioned at a function in Johannesburg in March, raising over R 600 000 for Rhino Conservation. The 2012 Parade is currently being shaped and has drawn together another group of incredible South Africans.
The first of these Ambassadors is Pat Lambie. Pat heard about the Rhino Parade concept and volunteered to be an Ambassador. He is only 21, yet is already recognised as one of South Africa’s greatest sporting prodigy’s. I met him a few weeks ago and was totally blown away by how humble he is, his “proudly South African” commitment and his determination to be part of the fight against rhino poaching. Pat has been joined by two other great South African’s, namely, Shaun Pollock and Ray Phiri. Shaun is one of South Africa’s all-time greatest cricketers and Ray Phiri is a legendary musician, lauded throughout the world.
Both Shaun and Ray recently spent time with students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), inspiring the designs for their Rhino. DUT had very enthusiastically agreed to support the Rhino Parade by tasking their third year Graphic Design students to turn these blank rhino sculptures into true works of art. This was an experience that these students will never forget. Shaun’s humour captivated the students, as well as his honesty around being in the process of changing his life from being “successful” to becoming “significant,” doing things that really count and making a difference. How ironic that Shaun Pollock is trying to make a significant contribution! He has achieved more than most of us will ever achieve in a lifetime. I have no doubt that he inspired every student to find ways in which they can make a “significant” contribution to South Africa. As with Shaun, Ray’s humble and honest engagement enamoured the students. His commitment to being a “great citizen” and the entertaining way in which he urged the students to get back in touch with their heritage, was truly unforgettable. Here was the great Ray Phiri talking about how important it was to care, love, inspire, nurture and cherish nature, our family, friends and communities. Wow!
Pat, Shaun and Ray are undoubtedly Ambassadors in every sense of the word. Their Rhino Parade commitment is a message to all of us. We all need to stand up and become great South African’s. We need to rediscover the magic and dreams which we embraced in 1994. Perhaps the growing and collective outrage towards the scourge of Rhino poaching will be one of the triggers that helps us do this. I know this sounds incredibly romantic. However, I see and feel it every day. Freshlyground, Oscar, Nthathi, Lee, Pat, Shaun and Ray are simply flag bearers for the hundreds of thousands of South Africans who are rallying together to stop rhino poaching. Perhaps this movement will unlock collective action and effort to deal with the other social and environmental scourges which we have allowed to undermine the rainbow nation. Let me know what you think. andrewventer.wordpress.com.Go back