2013 Inyathelo Philanthropy Awardee, Afeefah Patel, met with president Jacob Zuma recently. Ann7 News arranged the meeting, almost two years after the then seven year-old Afeefah wrote to President Zuma asking him to “look after the rhinos”.
The letter prompted a response from the President and was also published in several mainstream newspapers. The ensuing publicity spotlighted the national anti-poaching campaign to protect South Africa’s dwindling population of rhinos. Afeefah has since received numerous awards by environmental and philanthropic organisations, including the Inyathelo Award for Children in Philanthropy in 2013.
During their meeting, Afeefah told the President that she is the “voice of the silent Rhinos who cannot speak for themselves.” A delighted President Zuma replied that he was “very proud of her” and she should "keep up the good work.” Afeefah then pinned a rhino badge on Mr Zuma, who thanked her for her patriotic gesture.
Afeefah requested that the President accompany her to the Kruger National Park to thank the the invitation and requested his staff to make arrangements. “The Rangers will be happy to see you,” Afeefah replied.
The interaction between Afeefah and President Zuma airs on ANN7, Channel 405, 25 August 18:00 and 21:00.