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WORCESTER, WESTERN CAPE (Wednesday, 13 July 2011). As anti-rhino poaching activists Paul Jennings and Sboniso (Spoon) Phakati near the end of their 1,700 km walk from Musina to Cape Point to raise conservation awareness, a highlight of their long trek will be a visit to Robben Island on the 18 July, the former President’s birthday.
“In celebration of Madiba’s birthday, which has become synonymous with a call to South Africans to dedicate 67 minutes to a worthy cause, we will be talking to learners who attend the small school on the island,” said an excited Jennings of the culmination of his and Phakati’s efforts to get the ‘Rights for Rhinos’ message across to the South African public.
With the assistance of a Nissan-sponsored NP300 Hardbody back-up vehicle, towing a caravan, carrying camping equipment and food and clothing supplies, the pair have covered over 1, 300 km since leaving Musina on 09 May 2011, walking an average of 44 km a day between the two of them.
Jennings and Phakati have spent the past week crossing the vast, semi-desert Great Karoo, home to the largest ecosystem in South Africa and boasting some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes.
“Renowned for its durability and reliability, the NP300 Hardbody has been designed for rugged terrain like the Karoo,” said Nissan SA’s General Manager of Marketing & Planning Ivan Ollivier.
The walkers punctuated their long trek with a visit to the Karoo National Park, where they spoke to a small group of conservationists during a two-day stopover.
They were also joined in their walk by members of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG), which is campaigning against the proposed fracking of the Karoo (exploratory drilling for shale gas). “I felt a sense of camaraderie; a joining of forces to protect our wildlife and environment, re-enforcing the message that if we stand together we can make a bigger impact,” said Phakati.
The support that Jennings and Phakati have received so far has been overwhelming and is expected to intensify as they reach Cape Point, the final destination of what continues to be a very fruitful journey.