The Chipembere Rhino Foundation is a privately run, registered non-profit organization IT/95/2011 committed to assisting in the protection and conservation of Africa’s rhino. This once highly endangered species, whose total population in the early 1950’s amounted to fewer than 500 animals as a result of the pressure of poaching had clawed its way back, thanks to a small yet dedicated team of conservationists.
These conservationist’s efforts resulted in one of Africa’s most amazing conservation success stories, that success is today evident in Africa’s approximate 18,500 White Rhino and 3000 Black Rhino. But in recent years the poaching threat has escalated to a current rate exceeding 1 rhino poached per day!
Africa’s rhino are again under pressure and is now facing a threat that could take them back to the brink of extinction. For an animal that has been in existence for around 50 million years, the world would be at a great and tragic loss without this species.
“On Saturday, 28 January 2012, Cape Town based singer, songwriter, author and motivational speaker Rozanne Visagie, composed a song dedicated to the rhino poaching cause. The process and recording of the song, aptly named “I’ll be your voice” (link to YouTube video will be added onto website soon) was further inspired by Rozanne’s encounter with Dr Will Fowlds, wildlife vet and trustee of the Chipembere Rhino Foundation and a realisation that the tragedy of poaching is not purely about the effects on the animals themselves, but also on the eco-systems that the people of Africa depend on.
After months of logistical research and finally finding an empathy with South African and overseas event planners/project managers, the “I will be your voice” campaign was born.
The initiative aims to organise a number of rhino related fundraising events, and in future will support various conservation focused beneficiaries. The events will combine a dinner, a short auction and a concert showcasing local artists who want to be involved in supporting the chosen cause.
The first part of the campaign will raise awareness about the rhino issue, and will be supporting the incredible work being done on anti-poaching initiatives by the ‘Chipembere Rhino Foundation’, which is based in the Eastern Cape. Helen Turnbull of Serendipity Africa is the local representative for the foundation.
In future the aim is to create awareness and raise funds for other endangered species, and to support projects where local communities can be assisted so that they can understand the benefits of partnering with conservation. Education is an important legacy of the project, essentially to ensure that people understand how their decisions and interactions with nature, as well as by valuing biodiversity, can create sustainable futures.
“By using music as a “voice” for the voiceless we truly hope that we can open up new horizons for the people of Africa, and that we can facilitate a platform for communication that will raise awareness of the plight of animals that cannot speak for themselves. Please support us in our endeavours by booking to attend the events, donating to the “I will be your voice” project, and by bidding on the exciting items that will be available for auction”, said Rozanne Visagie. “There is not a moment to waste”. (17 July 2012)