We all met on a field on Keizersgracht Street in the City of Cape Town adding a splash of red, white and black to the forefront of Table Mountain. Everybody was in high spirits and there was no end to the banter and laughter as David Muller (South African actor) warmed us up for the event. We were madly waving our arms like a trunk, and raising our banners for the cameras and onlookers. After a rundown of the event’s proceedings, we heard the rumble of Harley Davidson’s as they pulled up in front of us to escort us to Parliament. They too had made an effort with banners and ‘horned helmets’. The Traffic department were there to ensure our safety and the Police kept an eye on the peaceful proceedings. It was quite an adrenalin rush with the revving of the Harley’s engines, sounding of sirens and hooting of passing cars.
Soon we were off, like one large herd, trumpeting our slogans and raising our banners. “Say no to ivory”, “Save our elephants”, “What do we want? To save our elephants! When? NOW!” And so it went all the way to Parliament, bringing traffic to a halt and onlookers cheering us on!
When we reached the gates of parliament we all gathered outside and continued our chanting until Sarah Borchert from Africa Geographic magazine addressed us with a moving and powerful speech. “When I was young, she said, it was not illegal to drink and drive, baby seats were not installed and no one re-cycled, but that has all changed. People can change their attitudes over time!” Then Josie Borain South Africa’s first supermodel gave a short, but sweet speech about saving these beautiful animals.
We were all a little bit uncertain as to whether we were going to be able to hand over a letter written by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to one of the ministers of Parliament, but after a few more chants and shouting from the crowd the gates were opened and two representatives were allowed in. After 20 minutes or so, the gates were opened again and the representatives were received with great cheering and excitement from the patient crowd.
It was time to make our way back to our starting point, so with all the energy we could muster we proudly chanted our slogans and fought the wind that had picked up back to the meeting place. Once everyone was gathered together a big thank you was extended to Nikki Elliot for organising such a successful event.
It was great to be a part of such a worthy cause, we can only hope and pray that the government will take action and put an end to the trading of ivory. We hope this march educated many people about the fact that an elephant dies every 15 minutes for its tusks, and that this could mean possible extinction in 2025.
If you would like to help out in any way please visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust that is dedicated to the protection and preservation of Africa’s endangered species, especially the Elephants and Black Rhino.
Photographs by Bronwyn Paxton