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Dancing For Rhinos
21 Nov 2015
Author: Helen Duigan
DANCING WITH RHINOS
Phelisa Matyolo, one of the dancers at Lesedi Cultural Village bordering the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, was selected as one of five Youth Rhino Ambassadors to represent South Africa on a visit to Vietnam in October.
The five carried an urgent appeal to Vietnamese citizens and Asian government leaders to bring an end to the rhino poaching crisis in Africa."Vietnam is a key consumer of and hub for the sale of rhino horn," says Phelisa. "The aim of our visit was to present the World Youth Wildlife Declaration to Asian government leaders. This opportunity, as a young African woman representing South Africa, gave me the opportunity to make my dream of speaking to the world against the destruction of our African wildlife heritage become a reality."
The Lesedi rhino dance group has given a rhino conservation message to thousands of visitors at Lesedi. Phelisa was chosen from a large group of candidates because of her exceptional passion and interest in rhino conservation and youth education. "I was in the dark regarding rhino horn poaching but my eyes were opened when I was invited to the 2014 World Youth Rhino Summit. From that day, my heart was bleeding and I was ready to be the voice of our wildlife. I felt strongly that I must speak out for them. "
The five were the guests of Operation Game Change, a joint Vietnam/US government initiative aimed at ending wildlife crime in Vietnam, especially rhino horn trafficking. Go to:projectrhinokzn.org
Photo: Phelisa and Gwendo Zakwe at Lesedi