A huge white gentle and human loving rhino in the city or danger lurking at the Molapo mall? That’s what the crowd at the Molapo Piazza were wondering about around mid morning on Friday when this unfamiliar animal was spotted being admired by this man in the photo. Wait, it’s a life size sculpture, in fact!
Thanks to Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Trust, on Friday they announced the launch of a nationwide project aimed at increasing awareness around rhino conservation efforts. Batswana can expect to see life sized rhino sculptures pop up in key locations across the country, symbols of a much greater message from the Trust: the need for greater awareness around rhino conservation.
The initiative comes on the back of the BIHL Trust’s recent donation of P100 000 to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust (KRST) towards ear notching and DNA sampling of rhinos in the sanctuary. “Following our donation towards KRST, we wanted to do something that would contribute towards increasing awareness around this conservation effort. Unless we make such topics a central part of the public consciousness and conversation, it becomes all too easy to overlook what a vital matter this is. With this project, we aim to shed greater light on the threats to this beautiful creature, whilst at the same time, working as a collective to protect it,” said Tebogo Keepetsoe, BIHL Trust Administrator.
The Trust has further partnered with local artists to develop and install the sculptures in a bid to spark greater debate and action in the fight for rhino protection. A total of 3 fibreglass sculptures, developed by artist Joseph Moemedi Piet at Thapong Visual Arts in Gaborone, have made their way to their new homes at the Museum in Maun; the Civic Centre gardens in Francistown; and the Molapo Crossing Piazza in Gaborone, respectively.
“This has also provided us with an opportunity to contribute towards the growth and development of local artists, a space which we are truly passionate about. Each of these beautiful sculptures has been created by incredibly talented Batswana. Their talents will be further showcased in their decoration of each unique rhino, a testament to the support we believe we ought to show for our local artists,” Keepetsoe continued.