THE youth are our future and it is their duty to inform other young people of the continuing struggle against rhino poaching.
Youngsters from the Hope Warriors Children Centre in Soshanguve, Rhino SA Champions and little Afeefah Patel - the youngest recipient of the Inyathelo Philanthropy Award - took to the streets of Soshanguve at the weekend, brandishing placards and calling on residents to join forces to save the rhino.
The idea to take the rhino fight to the townships was planned when Patrick Mashanda - another recipient of the Inyathelo award was so moved by Afeefah's speech on the rhino's struggle that he decided to join in and do his part by informing the children in his centre as well as their community
The march took place on Saturday. Mashanda said: "This march was for the children to find out more about the rhinos. "Also, for them to get involved because it is they who will not get the opportunity to see a rhino in a few years if they are all killed now "During the march it was shocking that even parents were ignorant of what is going on around them. I'm glad the march helped to inform them," said Mashanda.
Ten-year-old Jadin Jordaan, one of the Rhino SA Champions members who was there to talk to the children from the centre, said: "I want to put my foot down so that people know that South Africa is blessed with white and black rhino. Without them we will all lose out if they're gone."
Afeefah was accompanied by her mother, Saaj ida Patel, who said she was proud of both her daughters' passion for animals and wildlife conservation. It was great that her daughter had become an activist at a young age because the problem was getting worse.
Patel said: "The most important thing we need is the youth to join in and save their heritage because it is them and their children who'll miss out if they don't start doing something to effect change now" SHOCKING STATISTICS South Africa loses three rhinos a day to poaching. A total of 954 rhinos were killed last year and 14 have been killed since the start of this year.
About 90 percent of the world's rhino are found in South Africa. Statistics from a survey among primary and high school pupils by Rhino SA showed only 20 percent of pupils had seen a rhino in the wild. Less than 30 percent of pupils had been to a zoo. Only nine percent know why poachers kill rhinos.
Three percent know where the rhino horn is being exported to and what rhino horn is used for. The myths surrounding the healing properties of rhino horn and the lack of education are critical to the survival of the species. Children from Hope Warriors Children's Centre take to the streets of Soshanguve to raise awareness about rhino poaching.