The Matopos 2015 Calendar was launched yesterday in the CBC Staff room by the Arts in Focus, an organisation which seeks to promote conservation through the arts.
The calendar features stirring poems by renowned writer and CBC English teacher, John Eppel, incredible photography of the Matopos by CBC parent, Doc Andre Van Rooyen, a crop research scientist at ICRISAT with CBC English teacher and CBC Media Club Patron, Mrs Violette Kee Tui overseeing the unique design, production and marketing of both the calendar and the launch.
MC, Mr Paul Hubbard, an anthropologist and specialist tour guide in the Matopos, praised the Arts in Focus for the initiative, calling it especially unique “considering the plethora of calendars being produced locally; it was a bold decision by the Arts in Focus to produce a calendar of such unique quality, for Matopos which is also a unique place.”
He explained to the gathering the progress that has been made so far by the Matobo Rhino Initiative Trust (MRIT), to which part proceeds of the calendar will go.
“Out of a $200 000 target, $150 000 has already been raised and the reconstruction of a fence is at 37km so far, with the roads also being re-done.,” said Paul. “The project has received widespread support and endorsement by the international and local sector as well as National Parks and we are very grateful to the Arts in Focus for, from the proceeds of last year’s calendar, raising over $4000 for the cause: equating to over 3km of fencing.”
After Paul’s introduction, Doc Van Rooyen addressed the gathering, giving details of an exciting new initiative being devised by the Arts in Focus which involves engaging and involving local communities in
“The people on the ground are the solution and must not be looked down upon or sidelined as they are capable of great things in their own way,” said Doc van Rooyen. “They are incredibly artistic and proud of their surroundings, as seen by their beautiful artwork which includes paintings of rhinos and other animals on their houses.”
The new initiative “Our Rhino, Our Photos, Our Journey” will focus on increasing awareness among the local people of Matopos on rhino conservation. Educational material will be produced and disseminated to schools and ultimately a book containing photographs of rhino taken throughout the ages will be produced, providing photographic, journalistic and artistic content.